This week's post is a guest post by the wonderful Celeste Coffman! She gives a new perspective on anxiety in business and I thought this is the perfect piece to help you deal with anything that comes up as you are planning out 2017 and finishing up 2016:
Ever spent a sleepless night agonizing over a snag in your business? I know I have! Sales pages, lead magnets, return on investment, taxes… with all of these tasks bouncing around our brains, it’s no wonder entrepreneurs struggle with incredible stress!
Statistically speaking, that’s actually not a surprise. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect nearly 20% of the American population in a given year. In fact, I find that there are 4 sneaky ways anxiety can sabotage even the savviest business owners:
1 - Overthinking missteps. “I can’t believe I put my foot in my mouth like that. Now everyone thinks I’m an idiot.”
Harsh internal dialogue like this can be a sign of anxiety, and it destroys your self-esteem as an entrepreneur. Think about it: in business you’re essentially selling YOU, and if you constantly overthink your skills, abilities, and actions, you can’t effectively close the deal.
2 - Analysis paralysis. Which headline should I use? Should this graphic be sepia or gray scale? What brand of copier paper is best?
Business owners deal with seemingly endless decisions, and the need to act decisively is critical. If you find that analyzing options has become taxing on your psyche or is affecting your bottom line, anxiety could be at play.
3 - Anxiety symptoms disguised as physical illness. WebMD suggests that up to 90% of doctor visits are actually due to stress disguised as physical ailments, including headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and difficulty sleeping. For most entrepreneurs, there are no paid sick days; time off for illness means money lost on top of copays that could have been avoided.
4- Relationship strain. Think of all the great movies based on this plot line: Main character is wildly successful at work, main character becomes so engrossed in career that he nearly loses his family, main character realizes that work is not nearly as important as relationships.
Being passionate about your business sometimes renders you unable to turn work off, leaving loved ones neglected. What’s more, irritability is an often missed sign of clinical anxiety. If you find that irritability and an inability to relax are affecting your relationships, anxiety may be the culprit. Relationship problems can pull serious focus from the tasks you need to complete as a business owner.
What’s an Entrepreneur To Do?
Now that you’ve identified one or more ways that anxiety may be affecting your business, here are some suggestions:
Don’t allow perfect to be the enemy of good. If you’re paralyzed by decisions, try to remember that moving forward is almost always more effective than waiting until you have all the information to make a “perfect” choice. (By the way, I use quotes here because there is rarely a truly perfect choice.)
Consider the imaginary audience phenomenon. Psychology tells us that adolescents tend to imagine the whole world is watching them. (Remember being certain that your whole junior class noticed that zit on your nose?) It’s important for you, as a busines owner, to realize that most people don’t actually notice you and your perceived flaws as much as you may believe.
Practice good self-care routines, not one-offs. Entrepreneurs may procrastinate on self-care until a major problem develops, and then schedule one big event. I believe we do ourselves a disservice in this way. For example, a glorious two-hour massage once a year is not going to be as effective at reducing stress as taking five minutes daily for a deep breathing routine.
Maximize results by enlisting a professional. After a year of frustration trying to set up my own website, I reluctantly hired a web designer. What a huge difference this made! I can’t believe how many billable hours I was able to gain by enlisting a pro. Often a professional can help you “10x” your goals: achieve ten times more, ten times faster. In the case of anxiety, this might mean setting aside time to work with a professional therapist who can help you formulate a stress management plan.
Don’t let the cumulative effects of stress and anxiety hinder your business growth any longer. Taking the time to address these challenges early will save you massive amounts of time and money in the long run, helping you thrive in business at your fullest potential.
Celeste Coffman is a Licensed Professional Counselor passionately teaching clients research-proven strategies for managing anxiety and stress. Her private practice, Thoughtful Journey Counseling, thrives with in-person clients while her membership site, QuietMindCollective.com provides practical weekly lessons. Celeste's hobbies include podcast binging, listening to 90s music, and collecting mountains of craft supplies with no hope of ever completing the intended projects. You can also find her at:
Try her free 5-Day Anxiety Challenge: http://quiet-mind-collective.thinkific.com/courses/5-day-anxiety-challenge