I don’t take anxiety or depression lightly but according to a study by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, “30% of all entrepreneurs experience depression.”
No way. Really? YA THINK! Maybe that’s because there is almost a sense of peer pressure to “start your own thing” and “instantly become a CEO” of something.
Not to mention the people who are in the business of selling information that keep telling us LIES that we don’t know enough and that’s why we’re failing to make it big “so buy my stuff”…
Those people (yes, I said THOSE people) are using ‘we don’t know enough’ as a selling point by praying on our already emotional damaged confidence. The bastards.
Lets just get this straight – YOU ALREADY KNOW ENOUGH. And by golly, I like you.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest into more education. Heavens no! You gotta GROW. But here’s the thing. If your perception of believing the lie is always ‘not knowing enough’, then that will always be your number one blocker.
*pckwhaaa* <– that’s me trying to replicate ‘mind blown’ sound effect in text form. Hope you like it.
Fweew! Now that we got THAT out of the way, what about this pressure to be so much “greater” than you are? Or the pressure to be way more advanced in your business right now or else no one will dare trust you!?
Here’s what I think.
I think you should do whatever you can to avoid the fake-it-til-you-make-it reflex, and instead, try an approach that’s probably going to feel like a total breath of fresh air:
To be exactly where you are in business and OWN IT!
People are smart and they can smell a phony a mile away. Besides, we LOVE to watch people grow, don’t we? So even if you don’t see them watching you, they are out there watching you – not to add to the pressure or anything.
You did remember to grab your wine, right? Because we’re not done yet. We’re going to hit as many angles as we can to beat this anxiety and depression. Next, let’s talk about goal setting.
Aiming high can make you feel like shit sometimes.
The people who set the highest unrealistic goals for themselves often end up the most miserable. It feels like they’re never good enough, not successful enough, not wealthy enough, not productive enough, not happy enough – so help me God, who will trust me now!?
Because most of the time, it’s like saying, ‘I’m eating a shit sandwich right now, but let’s both begrudgingly pretend that I am getting my bills paid on time.’
Listen, I’ve been where you are. I know what it feels like to have all the pressure and anxiety when it comes to dealing with the every day “CAN SUCCESS JUST HAPPEN ALREADY?! I would REALLY like to quit my job RIGHT ABOUT NOW!!!”
Go ahead and take a BIG gulp of wine for this truth-bomb: there are plenty of things in life that are going to require you to suck it up and just WAIT. Not to say you should just sit there not doing anything and wait for some kind of magical thing to happen, but to realize that you are waiting for that ideal success in your head to come true because you have to build it first.
I think an analogy is in order for this one because so many people miss the concept. It’s like building a house. The home doesn’t just APPEAR on an empty lot – it starts with an idea. A PLAN.
Then a hole is dug where the house will be expected to stay for eons with years and years of constant maintenance for the rest of it’s life.
Want less anxiety? Drink more wine, less Kool-Aid. (oh darn)
I’m talking about getting rid of the hype. All that hype on social media commoditizes something that is inherently meant to be rare and original. Don’t listen to those who bullshit you by telling you it’s easy, and only listen to those who speak the truth.
When we are being exposed to people who are “looking successful” (when not YET) they are covering up a deeper problem that they are only going to pass along to you. A lot of times, people just hyping things up to make it look easy so they can make a buck off others who are in their weakest moments.
And we see this happening more than it should! When we get exposed to this, we look around and everyone seems to be doing the same thing, we question who has been socially influenced and who is actually successful.
Those looking for the freedom lifestyle are more vulnerable than everyday people. Fact.
Back in the beginning, I was all, “YES!! You mean I can quit my job, travel and write blogs from my laptop, do work on the beaches of the world all the while doing work that feels meaningful and get to know who I am when I’m not suffocated by one singular culture’s view of society?!?”
You know, I’d never thought too much about online business as something that could save the world …at least, not in much more than happy horseshit kumbaya sense… but as I kept building up my skill sets, it seems more and more critical to give myself as many options as I could.
Because in early 2015 I had all my eggs in one basket. Then my whole basket was BOPPED out of my hand (done like an annoying brother) because someone decided that it made much more sense to reward the already master recruiters with a higher commission, and cut everyone else down to a mere 5%.
Okay. No big deal. I got this. And realized I had enough KNOWLEDGE to start a new business that ended up being a lot more successful in, guess what, a fraction of the time! Kapeesh?
Here’s the rub:
100+ years ago people were tailors, inventors, farmers, haberdashers, merchants, plumbers, carpenters… everyone was an entrepreneur who had to start their own business.
Yes, entrepreneurship is hot right now (I didn’t mean to suggest that it isn’t, rather…) but entrepreneurship was once everything there was – THAT was when it was hot.
Stop thinking that entrepreneurship = the 1% of our economy that results in cool tech startups. People that work for themselves are entrepreneurs and we lost our way.
When your company is 100 percent your responsibility, and the success or failure of it is in your hands, you’re always going to feel like you could be doing more or better. You always need to feel connected or in arm’s reach for any situation.
There are things you can do when you’re feeling blue.
TREAT DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY LIKE ANY OTHER KIND OF MENTAL ILLNESS.
Just because you experience depression, doesn’t mean you are depressed. Know what I mean? If you think about it as an experience, rather than something that defines you, you can make it less personal and help you take care of yourself.
Depression and Anxiety is NOT YOUR NAME. It’s something you create inside of yourself. You just have to know how to deal with it and eventually make it go away all together.
Make an appointment and go see a psychologist or a psychiatrist if you have to. But if you don’t have money or insurance, there are sliding scale clinics in many cities that offer treatment in exchange for whatever their clients can afford.
STOP “SHOULD-ING” YOURSELF
The word “should” is honestly the worst word ever. It’s fraught with guilt. It implies that you can’t change things. It’s whiny and nagging and basically just says that you wish things were different.
“I should have made this much money by now. I should be on the Forbes Under 30 list. I should be bigger than Facebook.”
Screw that. Nothing good comes from “should.”
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
I believe that all dis-eases are started within the mind – which creates a chain-reaction and screws up the body. So when you’re working on reprogramming your mind, get a head start and take care of your body and that will impact your state of mind.
When you exercise, your body releases that endorphin that floods your brain. The endorphin triggers positive feelings, hence the term “runner’s high.”
You don’t have to run. Good Lord, don’t kill yourself. Any exercise will do. But do it for at least 20 minutes a day, ideally longer, and try to get outside. Go for daily walks, start up Crossfit, dance your worries away with Zumba, or take a relaxing breather in a Yoga class.
Eat well. There are a million opinions on how to eat. But cutting down on sugar and processed foods and eating more fresh food usually helps people feel better in their body. Drinking water also helps, a lot. (no, just because that caffeinated magical bean juice is mostly water doesn’t count as consuming water)
Sleep. Although insomnia can result from depression, it can cause it too. People with insomnia are 10 times more likely to develop depression, says The National Sleep Foundation. Sleep apnea, which sometimes accompanies intense snoring and poor sleep, was also linked to depression.
Simple things like not checking your phone for a half hour before you go to sleep can help.
SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE YOU LOVE
This might seem REALLY OBVIOUS, but check this out. In a study called “Would you be happier if you were richer?” behavioral economists Alan Krueger and Daniel Kahneman found that the best indicator of happiness was the frequency of eating with friends and family.
Tim Ferriss suggests taking a minute every day to call or email someone and express gratitude about something. Heck, it works with a simple Facebook status update.
I know other people who have a gratitude journal where they write down three to five things they’re grateful for every day. (can Facebook count as a gratitude journal?)
Other people write things they’re grateful for in the moment they feel happy about them, then put the pieces of paper into a jar that they can pull from later to remind themselves how many good things they have in their life.
Understand that you are awesome. Chances are, you’re working or thinking about working on something special and you should go for it. Anxiety is just another obstacle to deal with and we all must deal with a ton of obstacles to get to our goals.
I’m going to continue to build and work through all the challenges that this industry has to offer the same as I work through any other issue. I’m going to help other people build and overcome their struggles in the process and get it done because that is what we entrepreneurs do.
Stay strong, oh amazing one. Have compassion, be nice to yourself and each other. You never really know what people are going through.
Sugar: The Bitter Truth
Sedona Method Retreat October 2-7, 2016 – Hale Dwoskin