By Jamila Jelani - Creative consultant & entrepreneur
Anxiety doesn’t seem like a quality not synonymous with entrepreneurship, in that it seems to be entirely counterproductive to the vision and stifling to all progress in business. The reality is, there are plenty of successful creatives who, despite their anxieties, have created successful brands, artwork, impact and innovations for the world.
Having struggled with anxiety for years, and not really living fully expressed creatively, I’ve discovered the many ways in which anxiety likes to show up and how to break through it.
This sneaky bastard shows up as “attention to detail” which can work well for you in the corporate world of middle management, but in business it’s like walking with one leg. It shows up in two ways: the first, found in “failure to fire,” because it’s never the right time, situation, amount, weather, idea, partner etc. There is always something that just doesn’t pull you into action. Secondly, you may also find yourself hung up on nominal tasks, like an email correspondence or over emphasizing a subliminal objective, which diverts you from the bigger picture.
Cognitively, it processes that you’re doing your best to get the job done, but in reality, an underlying anxiety has triggered the perfectionist in you. Usually a subconscious “I’m not good enough” leads one to sweating the small tasks and never making the power moves because of worries of work being good enough or others perceptions.
This was a tough one for me. I was always waiting for the right amount of knowledge or capital. The right “time” or plan or God knows whatever other reasons I had, because I didnt want to look bad. So what is a “perfectionist” to do?
Be perfectly imperfect Know that your successes and failures don’t define you. You’ll never have all the answers, and that shouldn’t stand in the way of achieving your goals.
Over-thought & What if’s
This still gets me to this day and if I’m not careful, I waste time wondering into the abyss of my mind with:
“What if I do it this way instead?” What if they don’t follow through? What if it flops? What if they don’t like my work?” “Maybe I should get a business partner. No wait, but what if they steal my concept? What if they don’t really do the work? I’m better off doing it myself but then again it may get me to the next level faster…. On and on and onnn.. The overthought and chatter so wasteful and limiting to the self and progress.
What if’s show up two ways, one the single “what if” that if not handled multiplies like bacteria into infinite scenarios or it creeps in disguised as creativity and forward thinking.
Caught in your thought webs?
Whether you’re overwhelmed or have time to think and reflect be ever present to your monkey mind working to trigger mind slips. Be mindful and distinguish your thoughts. What can be controlled and what’s beyond your control. That which is in your control take action and that which cannot move forward.
We far to often forget about the right now, stuck in yesterdays or tomorrows. Where are you in this present moment? Where are you in life and what have you created thus far rather than what needs to be done? Focus on the positive rather than the negative. In the space created in the present you find abundance, peace and clarity. Embrace the present moment and anxiety will always fade.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” ― Lao Tzu
Do you plenty of ideas but things seem to never really start because taking action is a “I’ll do it tomorrow” kind of thing?
The problem is a lack of clarity. The solution? Figure out what motivates you. Is it financial freedom, creative expression, travel, collaboration, impact, a combination of a few things? Often, we procrastinate because we aren’t clear, or it seems like too much to do.
You don’t need to know A-Z, but knowing what and why you want to do any of this in the first place, provides clarity and the pull you need to ensure that whatever lye ahead wont stop you. That clarity combined with action propels you forward in a way that will move you out of procrastination into action.
As you move through your entrepreneurial pursuits faced with new challenges, you will be better equipped for overcoming overwhelm and anxiety.
The Golden Ticket
Be enquiring. Always observe yourself, who you are inside is reflected in your outer experience. So if your feeling anxiety and overwhelm, there is a reason. Go within, don’t fall prey to the idea that your external circumstances are the cause. “Know thy self”
When my mentors tasked me with the objective of simply observing my thoughts, I discovered a huge well of fear from which I had been drinking from for years without even realizing it. Through this commitment to self-observation I’ve picked up on which thoughts were doing me a disservice and holding me back, and I was able to understand and work through the underlying causes. This gave me so much courage and power. These 1% shifts have created massive changes I still experience anxiety, but I overcome it quicker, I feel much more grounded in the present and have created a life of gratitude and abundance to replace the ‘what if’s’, procrastination and fear.
Life starts on the other side of your “anxiety” – Find Liaison
How does anxiety show up for you? Let me know what stood out for you by commenting below. Also, connect with me on Facebook or check out more of my latest content at findliaison.com