Ep #62: Entrepreneurial Anxiety
I have terrible anxiety. I had my first panic attack when I was 20 years old. At least half, if not more, of the people I know, who are also entrepreneurs, are negotiating this as well. I want you to know you’re not alone.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- Kris’ personal story about her anxiety.
- Assume a leadership position with your anxiety.
- Talk to a professional and ask for help.
- Use the Thought Model.
- Demonstrate self-compassion.
- Have your own ritual for self-care. See Angela Jia Kim owner of Savor Beauty.
- Take work breaks and have work hours.
- Know the best way to recharge.
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
- The Q2 Pivot program. I want to teach you content and tools to help you negotiate a pivotal quarter. This includes 14 lessons. The world just changed the way business gets done… have YOU? This is part of the Founder’s Lab and part of the one on one coaching program I offer. Every week I’ll release a lesson and then we’ll work on it throughout the week. Go to www.krisplachy.com/join.
- My talks with Brooke Castillo and Jody Moore about anxiety.
- The Tiger King.
- The Founder’s Lab. My private coaching program for female founders who are generating more than 7-figures in their revenue. It’s a complement to the Entrepreneurial Management program (with Brooke Castillo) and is part of the work you get as a client of mine.
- My program Leading Through Crazy Times.
- Reply to any of my emails or go to Instagram or Facebook and let me know how I can help. What are the top things that are on your mind?
- I read reviews on the show! If you like this podcast, please leave a review. Go to your podcast app and find the reviews section. Thank you!
- Go here to book an appointment with me.
Subscribe by your favorite method and my podcast will come right to you!
Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Running a million dollar business is not easy, and whether you’re just getting started with building your team or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use right now, today, to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Hello and welcome. Welcome. How are you? I’m so glad you’re here. I hope that you are listening to this and you are well, wherever you are. So I want to continue on this sort of journey of discussion around the key topics that I’m coaching my clients on as all of you are negotiating such unprecedented times as business owners and leaders. I have to tell you though, before I get into today’s topic, just how incredibly … I don’t know what the right word is. I almost want to say moved; how moved I am by the resiliency of people’s spirits and the leadership stamina that I have witnessed in the clients that I work with. I always say that I have the best clients on the planet, and I do believe that, but I also know that the majority of people are just so amazing.
Being an entrepreneur, having your own business is not for sissies. This is hard work right now. We thought it was hard, right? I said this a while ago. When you had that difficult employee and you didn’t know what you’re going to do about them, you thought that was hard. This stuff that we’re negotiating here, this is the real deal. So I know then when we rally through this, we will have such a different level of appreciation of ourselves and one another who do this work. So to all of you listening that have a business and you’re all in, and you’re fighting to make this work, and you’re figuring it out and making the tough choices that I know you’re making, I just want you to know, I see you, I feel you. There are so many of us doing this and I’m going to continue to give you what I can to serve you, to support you.
To that end, one thing I do want to add is I’m launching, I created a whole program, it’s called the Q2 Pivot. It’s all about this quarter, second quarter. I know that we don’t win a game in the second quarter, but we can certainly plan how we’re going to win, and we can rally from a first quarter loss. First quarter did not end up the way that many of us thought it would, and so what we’re doing now is where we got to collect everything. We have to find our footing. We have to restabilize our lives and our circumstances and our businesses and our brains, and take a little stock. Then what I want to do with everyone through the balance of the quarter, through the end of June, is walk you through a series of lessons. I want to teach you content and tools to help you negotiate what I believe to be a pivotal quarter. I think that this quarter for you, if you are choosing actively to be in business, this is the quarter that you have got to just now sit down in your chair and decide how you’re going to show up with the new normalcy, a new way of thinking about your business.
I was listening to a podcast with Mark Cuban today who you may know of from shark Tank and owns the Mavericks, I think. He was talking about America 2.0. We left America 1.0 on March 13th, and America 2.0 is going to be who we are when we reopen. I think all of us need to be thinking about that very, very seriously and have a little fun along the way.
So I have literally created 14 new lessons that I’m teaching very specifically as it relates to how to lead and how to grow and how to build your team and how to manage and how to make all those decisions that I am getting from my clients every day. What do I do? I’ve furloughed my employees, and I want them to come back next week, and now some of them don’t want to come back. What do I do? My employees don’t feel safe. How am I going to help my clients, customers, patients feel safe coming back into my office? There are so many things that I know you’re thinking about.
So the topics that I have on deck here are leadership stamina; stages of transformation for leaders; committed vision; the leadership operating system; culture planning; second quarter manifesto; non-negotiable expectations; your leadership voice; stop-start-continue; team, customer and partner review; intentional risk; triaged versus strategic planning; something I call three-three-three tree; and the three-question plan. So I would love to invite you to join me in this, and this program, the Q2 Pivot, is part of The Founder’s Lab and it’s also part of the one-on-one coaching program that I offer. So you can either work with me in my Founder’s Lab program or you can work with me as a private client. Either way, you will have access to this content every week. I’m going to release a lesson, and then we will do the work of the lesson together throughout the week.
So I’d certainly love to work with you, help you. I think that this is the time that you should be investing in you and how well you are leading in this moment. I know there’s a lot of things that need your attention. I think that if you’re choosing to stay in business, how you choose to lead going into the balance of this year, I believe, is everything. So if you want to join me, go to KrisPlachy.com/join, and you will see this information and plus information on how to get going. Right now, because of demand, I’m not doing one-on-one consults like I used to. We’re just going to have an application. Make sure that you meet the minimum requirements to join and work with us. We will be reaching out to everyone once you register to get to know you and get everything started for you. But we want to move this as quickly as we can. So please go to KrisPlachy.com/join. I want so much to help you, and let’s finish out the second quarter strong so that we can finish out the year strong in a way that we may not have thought was possible a few weeks ago.
So today I want to talk with you about anxiety. I want to talk about entrepreneurial anxiety. This is coming up and I want to talk about it very honestly for a few reasons. First of all, I have terrible anxiety. I had my first panic attack when I was 20. I’ll never forget. I was walking on my campus lab lawn at San Diego State University. I was just walking from one class to the other. It was a beautiful sunny spring day and I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t move my mouth. I couldn’t swallow. I got all flushed and had that whole adrenaline thing happen, and I really did think I was having a stroke or dying. It was terrifying. That was the beginning of what I really can tell you now has been about a 30-year relationship with anxiety that has come and gone. I’m lucky, I guess, in that my anxiety is not persistent, at least not usually, but it does present itself when external circumstances, the pressure cooker kicks in.
So I’ve had moments in my life where it’s been bad. I had a blood clot in my leg in 2009, and I had a full year of really terrible anxiety as a result of that. And it’s back. It started a few months ago. Ironically, it started before all of this stuff in the world, pandemic stuff was at least present here in the US. It was already happening. So I don’t know if on some energetic level I was already getting anxious about it, but I was already having some pretty severe panic attacks. So I’m bringing this up because I want you to know, like it’s normal. There’s not anything wrong if you have anxiety. Specifically, I’m talking about anxiety, but we could put everything in here. With depression, if you have some bipolar disorder going on, like whatever is happening, OCD … I mean if you have OCD right now, you would know. Bless your heart. How many times are you already washing your hands and now you’re washing your hands.
So I just want you, first of all, to understand that people everywhere are negotiating this and we definitely are seeing a huge uptick in mental illness issues, anxiety issues, suicide issues. It’s a problem. I think we have to talk about it, and I believe as entrepreneurs we are already very prone to the tendencies that support, unfortunately, an environment for anxiety, which could be long hours, lack of sleep, poor self-care, poor diet, not working out, is working intensely hard, and that becomes a Petri dish for anxiety to thrive.
Now, what we know anxiety is, is that it’s the repression of fear. Anxiety is ignited by worry and thoughts, thoughts and worry that trigger worry, about something that may happen. Now, what I know to be true about, speaking as somebody who actually experiences panic disorder, is the thought itself is usually not like active for me when it triggers a panic attack. I just will have a panic attack. I can’t even associate it with anything, which is why it’s always so disconcerting because it’s not like I’m laying in bed worrying and I have a panic attack. I have panic attacks arbitrarily. The anxiety I experience will be after I start worrying.
So I’m bringing it up because I want you to know, I think it’s important that we talk about and if you experience it, I want you to also just have some validation that you’re not alone. Also, as I talk to my clients and my circle, at least half, if not more, of the people I know, who are also entrepreneurs are negotiating this as well, especially much more so right now. Not only do we have a global pandemic, but we have people worried about their businesses and their families, and there’s kids at home. I mean we’re just … It’s a time for us to be honest about the help that we need.
So as I’ve been … I actually wrote a whole thing about anxiety the other day because I knew I needed to talk about it and write about it. So I am doing what I need to do with my physician to help myself and I also am doing all of the things that I know work, which is I’ve eliminated caffeine. I don’t have any stimulants in my body at all because that’s just, again, it’s just putting fuel to a fire. I walk every single morning, sometimes I walk twice a day. I am working to get in bed every night by 9:30. I have a ritual that I follow if I can’t sleep that involves listening to very old detective radio programs on podcast because it helps my brain slip into 1948, which is a totally different era so I can totally check out.
So you have to, if you have anxiety, the first step for all of us, I think, who work with it is you have to understand that you have it. That to be afraid of it and to argue with it and to wish it would go away doesn’t help you. We have to assume a leadership position with our anxiety. If you’re a leader, hopefully that resonates, right? Like, “Okay, yes, I see that you’re here, but I’m going to have a relationship with you that works for me. You’re not going to be in charge.” So I remember, I think it was Brooke who actually said this to me or it might have been Jody Moore, but we talked about anxiety and how we just … she said, “Just invite anxiety to sit next to you and give it some crayons and let it hang out with you. But like tell it, it needs to just stay busy over here.” Like, we’re not going to hide from it, we’re not going to shoo it away, but we’re going to let it be here, but we’re not going to let it interrupt us. We’re going to stay in the leadership position.
The other thing I think that we have to do if we assume a leadership position with our anxiety is we have to decide how we’re going to manage it. We have to be honest with ourselves, and we have to ask for help. It’s the same to me as you, I would expect of you if you are currently running your business, and you have a lot of decisions to make, and you don’t know where to begin, and you’re not sure what the right thing is to do, and you don’t think you have all the resources you need. My expectation would be that you would hire someone like me to help you. That’s what we do. There are tools available to all of us who are negotiating anxiety and trying to run a business, and I believe you should be leveraging those.
Now, you have to be honest with yourself about how can you help yourself. Where are you not taking care of yourself? I have talked to more people over the last three and a half weeks who are working 14-hour days all weekend, and I’m as much of that … I’ll tell you what, the first two weeks of this whole shutdown, I didn’t take a day off. I worked 14 days in a row. That is not good for someone like me. I finally took a weekend and I literally didn’t get off the couch. I just sat on the couch and watched really silly shows. I think I watched the Tiger King. I mean I really just … In fact, that’s my one question I ask people, “Are you resting?” They’ll tell me yes and I’m like, “I don’t know. If you watch the Tiger King, that’s how I know you’ve actually rested.” We get very easily … you’ve completely immersed yourself in that kind of terrible TV, just shut out.
So if you are experiencing some anxiety, even if it’s mild anxiety, I want you to do a couple things. First, I want you to notice that and understand that anxiety is coming from the thoughts that you think. A lot of times, we have thoughts that we think that are very unsupervised. We don’t even know that our brain is chomping down on beliefs and ideas and pictures and visions of what could happen. We don’t even know what’s happening. We just catch up and all of a sudden our brain is there and he’s like, “What’s happening?” So I think you need to have a common daily practice of what using the model that I teach, which is the thought model. I think you have to understand how what you’re thinking about does to your emotions, and then ultimately to your actions and your results, okay?
I think you also have to demonstrate self-compassion. I like to do this in my journaling, so I will write out things I’m thinking and then I will like love myself in my journal. I will tell myself, “It’s okay, this is normal. Your brain is just having a tantrum. You’re lovely. You have a beautiful love, lovely life. You’re safe.” I talk to myself like I would talk to you. I think we have to have a tremendous amount of self-compassion. I think right now, especially if you are a woman and you are leading a business, you absolutely have to be all in on yourself, you guys. I know the amount of additional circumstances that you are negotiating right now. All of us are. As the women in their families and as a woman who’s running a company and as a woman who also is helping community members or whomever else, I am very aware of what that may be doing to you, where you are not finding time for yourself.
So that’s number three is you’ve got to have your own ritual for self-care. If that’s 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night, if it’s an hour, what is it? Is it doing your skin … I just was on a lovely workshop this morning, authentic self workshop with one of my favorite people, Angela Jia Kim, who is the owner of Savor Beauty, and she has a beautiful journal, The Saver Planner, and we talked all about and she taught all sorts of wonderful things about connecting to your authentic self and really spending some time with who you are and allowing for that. One of the things she talked about is she uses her favorite skincare. She sells beautiful skincare products, and every morning she does her mask and she uses the 10 minutes that she has her mask on her face to do a self-care ritual, which I thought was lovely, a lovely way to combine two very wonderful things to be doing for yourselves.
So we’ve got a journal. We’ve got to understand how our mind is affecting the way that we’re feeling. We have to integrate self-care, whatever that looks like. I believe you have to take work breaks and you have to have work hours. You cannot be working all the time. Turn it off. It’s okay. It’ll still be there. So decide when you will work and when you won’t work and leave it. Leave it behind when you walk away.
Now, if you’re like most of us, you’re working from home now and maybe that’s not normal for you. For me, that is normal. I live down the hall from my office, so I have to make a very conscious effort. I close, I shut my door, I turn off all the lights, like my office is closed. I’m done for the day. I think you have to know the best way for you to recharge. Do you like to recharge with other people? If so, right now, that might be tough for you. So cap your virtual cafe chats, meet with your girlfriends, have phone calls. If you like to recharge on your own, schedule time to do that. Find a corner in your house where nobody is and make sure you’re doing that.
Listen, I appreciate that the dynamics of everyone’s lives right now are so unique that you can hear some of this feedback and think, “Well, I can’t do that. I don’t know how I’m going to do that.” Look, we’re not talking about being perfect here. We’re talking about making an attempt at small changes to help yourself feel better because negotiating and white knuckling your way through anxiety is not going to help it go away. You’ve got to lean in to your resources.
So first things first, you talk to a professional and you ask for help. Then you work on you, the things you can control. You lead yourself. You understand your mind; you take care of your body; you set boundaries around your time; and you indulge the things that feed you, your spirit. That’s my last piece. Do you like art? Do you like to draw? Do you like to color? Do you like to knit? Do you like to sit in the sun? The sun now is finally out in California. We’ve had a few days of lovely no rain, and so I just sit in the sun and it’s heaven. That’s all I need is even five minutes with my eyes closed sitting in the sun. So we all have to find our moments.
So if you are an entrepreneur and you’re experiencing anxiety, you are likely … I want you to understand that you are actually about a 50%. It’s about 50%. There was the study I read of a study that was done at UC San Francisco two years ago, and it said that 49% of the entrepreneurs who were part of the study experienced some sort of mental illness or anxiety. So this is very common and because of our natural tendencies to be perfectionist and controlling and want everything to go really well and drivers, we’re already very susceptible to this.
So I wanted to shed light on it so that you honor this part of yourself if this is you. If it isn’t you and you don’t experience anxiety, but you do know other people who do, I want you to also understand it’s real. It’s not just, “Oh, it’ll be fine.” It’s not just, “Oh, just get over it. Just get over it.” This is a legitimate issue that is a physical presentation for people. If you’ve haven’t experienced legitimate, like real time anxiety, I can appreciate that for some folks, it’s hard to resonate, understand. So if you’re listening to this and it doesn’t really happen to you, but you know someone it does happen to, take all of the things I just shared and give them to them, and maybe share this podcast.
We’re going to be okay. Anxiety is awful feeling, but it, it passes. That’s always powerful to remember in the middle of it, like this will pass and the less I resist it, the quicker it will pass. But we all need help. Even very successful multimillion dollar business entrepreneurs need to take a minute and take care of themselves because I hear too many stories of too many women who go too hard and they end up … their body forces them to shut it down, and I don’t want that for you. Sure, this is a tough time. Yeah, this is an important quarter, but you’ve got this and you don’t have to fight way through it. You can rest and work and have great results doing both.
Okay, so once again, I’ll invite you to go to KrisPlachy/join, KrisPlachy.com/join, and check out if you want to join me in the Founder’s Lab. If you want to do private coaching with me, you can always just go to KrisPlachy.com and book an appointment to do that. I’d love to work with you. I’d love to help you. I know this is an important, very important time for you to invest in you and your business. So let’s do it. Okay, talk to you soon.
Hey there, gorgeous. Are you ready to take everything I teach you in this podcast and put it to work in your business and really learn how to master leading your team? If so, I’d love to have you as a client in The Founder’s Lab. To learn more about how we can work together, head on over to KrisPlachy.com/join. There you’ll see everything you need to know about The Founder’s Lab and how to get started. See you there.