Is anxiety sapping your business energy? Your income, your client engagement or mailing list has flatlined. Work feels stale and routine. Why aren’t you growing?
You may have all of the external reasons figured out: ineffective marketing, outdated processes or lack of referrals. Maybe you already know some internal reasons: you’re a perfectionist, you feel like an impostor or you’re drained from life circumstances.
But let’s dig a bit deeper into your instincts and thoughts. And I’ll show you how having a mental illness like anxiety can eat away at your business (and your life).
How often do you feel slighted, even in the tiniest way? Do these questions sound familiar?
- “Well, how come no one liked this post?”
- “That person had the same idea as me, and he got a response and I didn’t.”
- “Why is my question being ignored in this group?”
- “Why wasn’t I invited to that event?”
These are normal thoughts, but here’s the problem. When you have anxiety or I’ll just call a “wild imagination” (better?) your brain instantly answers the question with every miserable answer there is.
- No one liked the post because you’re dumb and uninteresting.
- Your idea wasn’t the same. It was clearly worse and that’s why his got chosen over yours.
- No one answered your questions because you sound like an idiot.
- You weren’t invited to that event because no one likes you or remember that time you sighed heavily in front of your friend because you were extra tired that day? Maybe she’s mad at you, because she thinks you’re bored with her.
All of the above could be true. Or irrational bull.
When I feel stupid, uninteresting or unlikable, the path I’ve outlined for myself often focuses on self-hatred and not solutions.
Time truly is money when you own a business. The time you’ve spent ruminating would have been better spent on a business-building activity or self-care.
So now what? First, try not to beat yourself up too much. Even if you have been diagnosed anxiety you’re still not alone, you’re not less of a person because you succumbed to negative thinking. In fact, your thoughts confirm you are human. (Congratulations! You’ve proven you’re not a cyborg! Celebrate!)
Go ahead – allow the depressing answers to come through. Your brain is powerful. You can’t stop them from popping up. And have you ever noticed the more you try not to think of something you think of it anyway?
When you can, start writing down both the imagined and real answers to those questions. This is a legit technique that works in and outside your business. I wish I could say I made it up, but it’s actually derived from cognitive behavioral therapy to overcome catastrophizing. (Which totally doesn’t sound like a word, but apparently it is!)
- Maybe no one liked the post because I didn’t share it in the right places.
- Maybe my idea was great, but they simply resonated more with his idea (for reasons that you’ll never know or understand, so why try to figure it out?)
- Maybe no one answered your question because it was overlooked or didn’t have enough details.
- Maybe you weren’t invited to that event because they forgot.
(Of course, my lovely brain takes it a step further – “They forgot? How could they forget me? Maybe I’m not memorable enough?” *brain implodes*)
Use your notes as a journal or create goals based on the more rational answers. Turn it into a blog post (voila!). Consider this a way of evaluating your true worth. We do this similar process with our business when we create pricing anyway, right?
Never value your business more than yourself.
Even if you work with a team, the success or failure of your business depends on you. Not trying to freak you out, but sometimes we forget that.
Your thoughts (and subsequent behavior) directly affect your dollars and cents. Talk to a business coach. This will be a key part of changing your business mindset. And it works!
You know you’re not supposed to focus on rejection. You know equating Facebook likes with personal worth is meaningless.
Emotions and thoughts without action become weights. They end up sinking your life and business and morph into envy, resentment or depression.
Combating anxiety sometimes feels like a fruitless battle. But you could also think of it in another way – how cool is your brain? The fact that we can come up with irrational scenarios is still a sign that the mind is powerful and you’re intelligent and creative.
I’ll be working my way through more topics related to anxiety to not only give me ideas for my book (yes, more on that later), but also as a way of self-care. I’ve totally mastered turning personal circumstances into blog posts hah!
Even if you’ve never been diagnosed with anxiety or a mental illness, how have your thoughts been a help or a hindrance to your business? Let’s talk about it!