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You can listen to Maverick Mompreneur Podcast Episode 92. “Anxiety And Entrepreneurship Be Like…” by clicking below!

If you are looking for additional support or mentorship, you can always reach me via email at hello@elevatedwithashley.com.

You can DM me on Instagram @ashleyrlatimer or join us in my free Facebook Group, Elevate Academy For Personal Brand-Building Female Entrepreneurs.


Resources and Programs Mentioned:

1:1 Coaching Waitlist

https://www.elevatedwithashley.com/waitlist

Social Seller To CEO Academy™️

https://www.socialsellertoceoacademy.com

MAVERICK SOCIETY The Membership:

https://www.elevatedwithashley.com/maverick

Self-paced Courses To Help You Develop Your Multiple Stream Of Revenue Personal Brand:

https://www.elevatedwithashley.com/courses

Personal Brand Toolkit:

bit.ly/3Q6nZxk

TRANSCRIPT OF THE EPISODE “ANXIETY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP BE LIKE…”

Hello, hello, and welcome back to the Maverick Entrepreneur Podcast. I am your host, Ashley, and I’m so glad you’re here. We have a topic that is going to require me to lead with vulnerability, but I pray that this episode really helps anyone else who is an total badass entrepreneur, but also deals with anxiety. And this may be either generalized anxiety outside of entrepreneurship, but what I know exists within this space and isn’t talked about enough is what I’m going to call for right now. Anyway, entrepreneurially induced anxiety. Obvious disclaimer, I’m definitely not a therapist or a psychologist, and I cannot treat diagnosable anxiety, but I do have anxiety and I am an entrepreneur and I do have my own experiences and wisdom to share as far as what has helped me to thrive in life and business despite, and if you’re an entrepreneur, you know that it all kind of blends in and goes hand in hand.

How you are in one place is how you are in all of them. At least that’s how I strive to be. And so I hope this is super helpful. It’s kind of funny as I’m sitting here recording this because I am sipping on my C B D non-alcoholic beverage that I just found the other day. I actually haven’t been drinking alcohol for, I think it’s officially a month. I paused and checked my calendar, and yes, in fact, it has been an entire month of no alcohol, which is part of a grand experiment that I am doing, and it has proven to be so helpful, particularly when it comes to anxiety, and we’ll talk about that once we dive into our content. But just some little quick facts. More than 40 million adults have diagnosed anxiety. So that’s a lot of adults who have diagnosed anxiety, myself being one of them.

Also, according to a recent study, 75% of small business owners, a k a, entrepreneurs are concerned about their mental health. And 56% have actually been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or stress related problems by a doctor or mental health professional. So saying that to say this, if you deal with situational or everyday anxiety as well, you’re definitely not alone. So in this episode, I wanna share ways to manage anxiety in general and discuss strategies that are specifically tailored to help you navigate the inevitable anxiety that comes with being an entrepreneur. It’s just the nature of the beast and why this is so important overall for your life and business. Before we begin, please take a moment if you find value in this episode or you’ve found value in past episodes to subscribe to the podcast. If you’re not sure how to do that, it is a little bit confusing.

But if you look at your screen right now on your phone, if you’re on Apple Podcasts and you look up at the very top right, there’s a little check mark, and all you have to do to subscribe is click the check mark, and I believe it will say follow, at least as I record this. Now, that would help so much to continue to push the show out to other entrepreneurs who may benefit from this type of discussion, and I just really appreciate that. So thank you in advance and let’s get started. Whew. Okay. I’m about to get real with you on a public podcast and tell you about a bout that I had with anxiety this past weekend, and it actually brought the idea to my brain to discuss healthy ways to deal with anxiety as an entrepreneur with you in mind. So you’re welcome for just not giving an F anymore.

So <laugh>. Anyway, so as I mentioned in the introduction, I haven’t been drinking alcohol, which reminds me that one of the unhealthy ways that I was dealing with my anxiety, both situational being an entrepreneur as well as just generalized anxiety, was numbing in that way. And sometimes feeling feelings can be hard, but it’s so good. And total bird walk here. But we were having a conversation about some of this on my, I keep wanting to say mastermind because my membership is such mastermind vibes, but it’s technically a membership. It’s priced as a at a membership, but we have these discussions which are just so rich and valuable. And during our happy hour cocktail mocktail hour, which we do once a month, we were talking about this topic and some of the clarity that can come along with taking a break from alcohol and just some of the stressors that we experience as entrepreneurs.

And we were talking about the fact that drinking a glass of wine or two or three or whatever is your typical, it can help. It does help, it makes you relax, it makes you kind of forget about the day. But having that as an option takes away the choice to make so much more healthy decisions, at least on a regular basis. And so before we dive into those healthy ways to deal with anxiety, the anxiety that comes up as an entrepreneur and otherwise, let’s first talk about what anxiety is and make sure that we’re on the same page with understanding, at least for the purposes of this podcast. So in its essence, anxiety is our body’s natural response to any type of stress and uncertainty. It’s that feeling that you get of unease almost that not in your stomach or a fear about what’s to come.

So whether that’s a big masterclass, you’re about to do an important meeting or phone call, a relationship that’s in limbo, a difficult conversation coming up, maybe a deadline that you have ahead, a launch that you’re going into, a launch that you’re in currently, something that gives you that feeling of stress and uncertainty or that feeling that comes with stress and uncertainty is anxiety in a very simplified version. Again, not a therapist, not a psychologist, but just think about those knots that you get in your stomach before one of those big things, or the nights when sleep. Wondering about if your business is gonna succeed or how things are gonna go. Entrepreneurship in and of itself is by nature of the beast, inherently risky and uncertain. It’s filled with highs and lows, things that you’ve never done before, constant change. A lot of times we’re wearing multiple hats and shifting multiple hats from c e o to janitor of your office or whatever it might be, let alone parenthood, let alone being a wife or partner, a friend, all of the other things that we do.

And also carrying the weight of your business’s success on your shoulders, that is naturally going to produce anxiety even if you don’t have anxiety. As entrepreneurs, we have things like very long hours with super high expectations. So these are things that could lead us to feel stressed, to feel burnout. There’s a pressure to succeed if you have a business similar to mine, which you most likely do if you’re listening to this and it’s still resonating. You’ve put yourself out there online, you’ve put your brand yourself out there onto social media, onto your website, onto your podcast, your blog, and there’s this pressure internally to succeed. But then oftentimes we take on this pressure of, oh my gosh, I better succeed, or everyone is going to see me as a failure. So there’s this pressure that causes anxiety, there’s risk, there’s uncertainty. Yes, there’s this freedom that we get as entrepreneurs and we pursue, but we’re also leaving that comfort and that safety of traditional employment where we have, you know, our 4 0 1 k for retirement going, and we have our health insurance paid for in most cases.

And we’re going into this new often industry, this new market, we’re starting from scratch. And that can feel very uncertain and can certainly lead to anxiety, especially if it’s not managed. And spoiler alert, this is why it’s so important to discuss how to manage these things and mitigate the anxiety that just naturally comes with the territory so that you could actually stay in this game for the long haul. If you don’t pay attention to this piece, how can we expect to, how can you expect to not burn out? How can you not expect to get so in your head that you can’t continue moving forward month after month and year after year, peak after valley? Because that is part of what comes with it. There’s financial concerns, my goodness, so many things. So now that I’ve really stressed you out, well, no, I, I hope that I haven’t.

But now that I have hopefully normalized the fact that if you’re feeling anxiety and you’re an entrepreneur, that’s very normal. But the good news is that there’s really some effective strategies and things that you could implement literally like right now that can totally help. And so I wanted to share the things that have truly really helped me. Many of these things I’ve learned from life coaches, I’ve learned from therapists, these are real strategies. They’re not just pie in the sky, they’re things that are actually proven to work. I’m not gonna go into studies or anything, but I just ask you to, if you’re dealing with this, try adding in one, two, all however many I go over of these. And I really think that you’ll see a difference over time. I did leave my stressors both internal, external, entrepreneurial, pretty unchecked, and then sparing you all of the details, which are not necessary to make my point.

But when I got to a very low point where I could not control a lot of the stressors that were going on around me, I really focused on putting in the work to control these stressors that I could within me. And that’s when the whole game changed, for lack of a better cliche or term. But it really did when I started focusing on this, and if you’ve been in my world for a while, I’m sure you’ve heard me say, the year that I made the most in my business, which was 2021, that was the year that I invested the most money and time during that year and ever in my life into therapy, life, coaching time, taking care of myself, working on these very things to get myself back to a baseline. And now I don’t need to prioritize these activities quite so much, but you may be in a place where you business will be way better off if you focus on these things hardcore.

So maybe this is not the season where you need to learn how to build out a sales funnel. Maybe this is a season where you need to focus on figuring out what your triggers and stressors are and how you can avoid them or what to do when you are triggered and you go into this fight flight, or particularly for us entrepreneurs, the dreaded freeze mode. And that’s what happens to me if I’m in anxiety, and this is what happened this past weekend when I’m leaving it unchecked and I freeze, it’s really hard to get things done that I need to get done. So knowing that about myself and now knowing that I have a much more resilient bounce back time, and that’s the whole point of all these things that I’m going to share with you. You’re never going to be at a place where nothing causes you stress or anxiety, and in fact, that really wouldn’t be good for your business because there is a healthy amount that can really motivate you.

But when things are going on in your personal life and around you that do cause you to go into stress and be triggered, what we want is to be more resilient humans to be able to bounce back from that more quickly and not be taken out for a day or two or weeks and just be totally thrown off by being triggered. So one thing is figuring out what your triggers and stressors are if you’re not sure. So maybe take a week or take however long it takes and just notice when you’re feeling triggered, what were the antecedents to that stress? Maybe you journal this out, maybe you ask someone, if you live with someone else, they can typically probably tell you what your triggers are, things that are going to stress you out. And as much as you can reduce your exposure to those things, especially if you can control it.

So for example, if you’re a very empathic person and watching or listening to the news first thing in the morning, fires you up into like a triggered state, then either reduce your exposure to that, seek out a new source or listen to it at a different time. Starting your day triggered is not good for anyone. If it’s being around certain people, this is one of the hardest ones because oftentimes we look around and we think, oh no, the reason I’m getting triggered is because of, you know, X, Y, z, toxic person and in your life. And those are hard decisions to make, but find out what those triggers are so that you can make decisions from there. And in so much as you can control that piece. Another really important obvious duh that I know I need to remind myself, so I’m gonna remind you too, is prioritizing self-care activities that you enjoy.

So not self-care as in taking a bubble bath and getting your nails painted. I mean it could be that, but what I’m talking about are things that give your mind a break from the stresses of the day. So hobbies that you have, maybe it’s reading, maybe it’s art, actually scheduling those things in to give yourself that self-care time. You’re caring for yourself, whatever yourself needs, that’s gonna be different from person to person. But figure out what it is that gives yourself that break and make sure that is prioritized because that is going to help keep you and your anxiety at bay. And while I’m thinking of it, one of the most important things to mention is giving yourself grace. So give yourself space to feel things. Hold space for yourself. We often talk about holding space for our clients and holding space for our friends and for others, but hold space for yourself.

Give yourself grace. Allow yourself to feel and think through the things, but not to remain stuck. If you start beating yourself up, when you feel yourself getting anxious or stressed and you go into a spiral, that’s not going to serve you, that’s not going to get you to a better place, that’s certainly not gonna get your business to a better place. So give yourself that grace to have a day, right? Like this weekend, I had these huge plans for Saturday to get a ton of stuff done, but my grandmother passed two weeks ago. I had some parenting things that were really huge and unexpected stuff behind the scenes that shall remain nameless. And all of the above was just really overwhelming. And I have not been drinking, so I was not numbing and I was just not really feeling things though. And then I just let myself all at once on Saturday and it was overwhelming.

And so I gave myself space to do that, but then keep moving. And so now I notice that I don’t freak out because I know that I’m more resilient because I’ve practiced these things and because I am trying my best to use healthy coping strategies, the basics of nutrition. And I don’t have any particular nutrition plan that I follow, but I do know that extra sugar and extra caffeine exacerbate anxiety. And so one area for improvement for me is definitely cutting back on caffeine, but I just love caffeine so much and I love coffee, so maybe decaf would be, uh, a good idea. But trying to limit those things because we know that they can as exacerbate anxiety. Eating generally healthfully, I mean, I don’t have any particular program that I advocate for or recommend, but really nutrition can make you feel really, really good or really, really crappy.

I do know that to be true. And so that’s something that you can do to really care for yourself and keep yourself in top performance mode. Uh, actually at Orange Theory, the gym that I go to, one of the coaches that I, I love working out with there, he always talks about refueling your tank and thinking of yourself as a, like a luxury vehicle, like a, a very nice sports car. You’re not gonna go to the gas station and fill up with 87, you’re gonna put in premium fuel and that’s gonna make that car run as it should. And so you are a premium person, you are a whole business in a body, right? <laugh>, let alone all the other things that you are so fueling yourself in the best way that you can, that that thought process really helps me. And that includes alcohol as well.

So occasionally is some alcohol going to be fine for me? I would say yes for others, maybe not. But one thing that I notice is I do not operate optimally when that is something that I’m regularly fueling my tank with that is not premium fuel for the type of business owner and the type of person that I wanna show up as. And so just some food for thought there, no pun intended yet. Also really intended as we’re talking about nutrition. But anyway, let’s talk about breathing. I’m not gonna edit that out ’cause I, again, goofy, but breathing, this is something that I learned a long time ago. I’m talking probably decades ago in therapy and it’s dia uh, breathing from your diaphragm. So belly breathing like you do when you’re a baby. Have you ever watched a baby sleep? And when they’re sleeping, their stomach is rising and falling, it’s not their chest.

So just take a moment and breathe. I bet when you just did that, your chest expanded. It’s kind of a, a trip to to refocus. But if you breathe like a singer would breathe into your diaphragm and have your belly pop out, it’s not the most aesthetic thing, but that is something that helps to regulate our nervous system and bring us back to a state of calm. And so if you find yourself feeling stressed, or even if you don’t, again, preventative taking a series of belly breaths I usually like to do 10 to time, there’s one right there. It already feels so good and just belly breathe in and out, slow breaths and it really does help. I don’t exactly know why. I think it’s something to do with like the dorsal vagal system or something. You can do some research. That’s not what I’m here to do.

I’m just here to tell you practical things that have worked that I’ve learned from reliable sources. I am not the expert witness in this case. I’m just regurgitating what has worked and what professionals have told me. Okay, movement, this one is huge and daily movement is something that I really truly prioritize. And if I have a day where I don’t prioritize movement and it’s not part of my schedule, it’s not my best day, that’s never going to be my best day or my best, most creative content. Because one thing about movement is that it activates dopamine in your brain and that’s going to get you into that focused mode. You’re going to be able to be more creative and so many benefits to your brain of moving. The other piece that’s so important about this is that daily movement, and actually I’m gonna be more specific, walking can really help you cycle through stress hormones.

So cortisol, which is what our bodies produce in response to stress, if you go through acute stress or you know chronic stress, things that happen over time, that gets stored and trapped in your body and you have to cycle it through or it will remain trapped and you’ll be in that kind of state of fight, flight or freeze like right on the edge. And if you’ve been there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And this was something that was recommended to me in 2020 after I’d gone through a very long period of chronic stress and frankly trauma and I had so much cortisol built up in my body, I literally would walk for probably an hour plus every single day. Even if I did another workout, I would still walk because it was helping me to cycle that through. And that piece alone was huge.

I still, although I don’t feel the need to walk for that long every day, I still walk at least a mile per day, if not two to three. And that is so helpful. Working out is also great, but keep in mind that if you’re in a really stressed out state, doing a super hard workout, although it, you know, makes sense in your mind to take your aggression out on the weights or sprinting or doing something super aggressive that’s actually triggering more stress hormones in your body. So that’s actually kind of counterproductive to de-stressing. So if you’re in a stressed out state, just go on walks, it’s very good for fat burning as well. You’re not going to, you know, drop off. You can still get a lot of benefits physically and mentally for walking. Okay, so I’ll, I’ll jump off the, the walking soapbox. Geez, didn’t really mean to go off for five minutes on that.

But another piece, seeking mentorship and help. So a lot of times as an entrepreneur, we aren’t sure what next step to take or we feel like no one else has ever been in this place. Am I the only one with a low month? What’s gonna happen next? Get with someone who has gotten to where you want to go, who has been in the game for a while and learn from them. Whether that’s listening to their podcast, whether that’s reading a blog of theirs, a book they’ve written, buying a course from them, joining a membership or even investing in one-on-one mentorship or coaching. Typically there’s gonna be some way, whether free or paid, varying levels of support to learn from someone and be mentored. When you get to that place where you’re just like, oh my gosh, I need someone or a group to relate to.

That’s huge. And as far as seeking help, a lot of times I mentioned that we wear a lot of hats and a lot of times as entrepreneurs, we wear a lot of hats because we haven’t yet outsourced and delegated the tasks that don’t require us. So your personality, you showing up the things only you can do in your business. I could not outsource what I’m doing right now. I can’t outsource someone to record my podcast. I mean, I guess I could, but that would be weird and it, no, I could not do that. Anything else Outside of those things, you can and should over time outsource, build a team, you can actually, even before you hire your first virtual assistant or your first employee, you can outsource to people contractors on Fiverr or Upwork. Those are great resources that can help take some of the stress of doing all the things off of you and free you up to be more creative, to show up in better energy and more powerfully because you’re not thinking of doing 101 things.

And also that obviously requires having operations and systems and understanding how your own business works to be able to communicate that to someone else. And that could be stressful if you don’t have that in place too. Trust me, I know I’ve been through all of these things and so if you’re there too, I get it, it’s worth taking the time to set those things up so that you can outsource. So systematizing what it is that you do, your workflows, things that you do intuitively but you couldn’t hand off to someone because it’s all in your head. So getting a framework for that is really helpful in your business. And I think this goes along with this section now that I’m thinking of it, is really building strong connections with people who get it. And even if that’s just one other biz bestie or you find a membership or you find a mastermind where you can get together on a regular basis with people who get it as far as the entrepreneurial journey, it can be really lonely and isolating and you may not have anyone in your, you know, offline life who gets the path and gets the journey.

And that’s so invaluable to just normalize things like this. Talking about feeling stressed out as an entrepreneur or dealing with anxiety when you have to show up and everything is on your shoulders, how do you do that? So building strong social connections is a really important part, at least for me, of managing anxiety and making sure that you’re keeping those social connections and you’re not totally isolating yourself. As can happen, a lot of times this one’s a biggie and some of us it’s a strength and others of us, it’s an area that we need help with. But regardless, every single person needs time management. So having the tasks that you have to do, reorganize so that you can prioritize your time and use the time that you have to do things that are actually moving the needle in your business, those income producing activities so that you don’t get overwhelmed and you feel like when you’re sitting down to work, you’re doing something that is working for you, you’re building an asset for your brand and business.

So time management is really huge. So getting a hold of what it is that you’re going to do on a given day and when and how and all of those things. And for everyone that looks different, time management, there’s so many different apps and systems and really truly, I’m not gonna make a recommendation for just one because it’s so different for everyone. But something will work for everyone. That’s the good news. And part of time management, I don’t know if this would, I categorize this under time management, I’m not sure, but having goals that are realistic. So in a given day let’s, I can, I can break this down in a given, giving yourself three things to do versus writing a list of 20 and getting totally overwhelmed. So I like to write out my three things that must be done and sometimes it’s actually less depending on how large the the project is that I’m working on.

But three things. And then oftentimes if I get those three things done, I’m like, whoa, I’m on a roll and I’ll do something else. I’ll do more of my list. But breaking it down to a few things per day so that you can actually achieve those milestones. And then of course, as always, celebrate those small wins, those victories, those I did it, I ate the frog or the goat or whatever it is. And keep yourself motivated by celebrating yourself and celebrating getting things done that you said you would and hitting milestones. No matter how little celebrate those things, give yourself a pat on the back. One of the things that we do on the happy hour cocktail cocktail hour I mentioned within my membership is that’s for celebrating milestones. So it can be anything from not drinking alcohol for a month and the things that I’ve learned to having a killer launch, like there’s so many different milestones that are not the final destination that we forget to celebrate.

And so celebrate those things. Find people who can celebrate those things with you. So one last I think unless I riffing, but one last piece is growth mindset. So learning from things like setbacks, learning from failures rather than beating yourself up rather than dwelling on those things, focus on learning from those things so that when you bounce back, you bounce back better, stronger, quicker. And keep that long-term perspective, that global zoomed out. Look at your business and your entrepreneurial journey, those inevitable ups and downs, those wins and losses, they’re all part of the picture, they’re all part of your journey and it’s always a journey. Those tough times, those downs, they’re just a phase in your business. They’re just a phase in your life. You’re gonna learn invaluable lessons if you allow for that and those things will pass. And then when you come back, oh my gosh, you’re like the phoenix rising from the ashes.

You get to like recreate yourself as this better, more badass version of the business owner in person that you were before you had those setbacks or failures or bad things happen. If you have that perspective, that growth mindset, it’s such a game changer. It literally reframes all of life and I’m by no means perfect at that, but I have really, really worked on refining this. And a lot of that is from the entrepreneurial journey. You’re either going to quit or you’re gonna learn that lesson eventually, right? That’s how I see it. Like there is no other option unless you wanna be miserable and have constant torture vibes about every little thing that’s just a normal part of the process in business and in life. So in summary, I want you to think about all of these things that we’ve talked about as far as managing or working with yourself around anxiety as things that are helping you to build resilience.

So resilience, let’s go with the analogy of a seatbelt. So you are on a rollercoaster of life of entrepreneurship especially, and resilience is gonna be your dang seatbelt. So you think about this, get into the rollercoaster, you’re at Great America, six flags. Wherever you are, you strap into the rollercoaster, you put on your seatbelt of resilience, and then you can loop around. You can go up and down and you’re not worried about falling off the rollercoaster. There might might be some scary points, there might be some pits in your stomach, but you know you’re not gonna fall out. That’s gonna keep you in the game. And the game being the rollercoaster, obviously if you fell off of my track, pun intended again, but there’s always gonna be a way through everything. And if you have that resilience, it changes the way that you look at success changes the way you look at failures, you’re just building that resilience muscle so that you can keep going and you can get better.

And that’s a really cool opportunity and something that as entrepreneurs, we have this special skillset because of the nature of the beast. If you don’t quit and you’re not gonna quit because I just know you, you’re not gonna do it. You have too much impact to make. You have such a message to share. It would be a shame if you were to throw in the towel over something as normal as feeling anxious as an entrepreneur and having strategies right at your fingertips that you can greatly alleviate a lot of that and have a much more enjoyable experience on the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship. The last thing that I wanted to say, and this is again, I’m not a mental health expert, I’m not a therapist, I’m certainly not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but medication, if you’re really struggling with anxiety and everyone has their different opinions, but I’m here to really normalize this piece medication for me.

I have a very low dose of an anti-anxiety medication that I was prescribed based on actually for complex post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. And it absolutely has helped me to get over the hump and I don’t know that it’s something that I will continue taking for a lifetime, but it’s been absolutely invaluable to help me to get to the point where I’ve been able to practice these coping strategies without having major symptoms. So I just wanted to throw that out there and lead with vulnerability because if you have anxiety, and especially if you’re not an entrepreneur or you are, but you know you’ve struggled with this, that’s been something that’s been in your life at other times or you’ve gone through something really stressful, whether it’s abuse, whether it’s something acutely traumatic, whatever it may be, you can talk to your doctor about that as an option.

And I just don’t want anyone to feel shame around taking medication to help manage symptoms of anxiety. Sometimes all of the above except for medication aren’t going to do the trick, especially in an acute situation. So I just wanted to throw that out there. Kind of hesitated to do it, but game time decision right here at the very end before I say goodbye to you for this week, I just wanted to throw that out there. So I hope that the points that we discussed in the episode as far as my anxiety in general, and especially within the entrepreneurial context, has helped to really normalize that feeling. But also normally is how simple it can be to build things into your daily routine and schedule that will make you feel so much less stress and anxiety. Even though some of it is good for us in a sense, it kind of gives us that little kick in the pants to keep going, but too much of anything is never a good thing. So I hope this was helpful. Thank you so much as always for listening and cheers to your impact.