3 Ways anxiety holds you back in business (and what to do about it)

anxiety in the workplace

As a business owner who wants to optimise your time management processes and focus your energy on what really matters in your business – serving your clients to the best of your ability – you want to eliminate anything and everything that gets in the way.

Anxiety and chronic stress get in the way!

These are just three ways anxiety can hold you back.

You shy away from opportunities

People suffering with anxiety often avoid things because they want to reduce the painful physical sensations in their body. Avoidance doesn’t eliminate anxiety but it temporarily reduces its intensity.   

If you find yourself procrastinating and avoiding certain essential activities, it might be because whenever you think about doing it, or even sit down to do the task, you feel a physiological sensation: a knot in your stomach, pounding heart, shoulder tension, tenseness in your chest or throat – just to name a few. This then escalates with negative self-talk: “no one will ever buy from me anyway,” “people aren’t interested in what I have to offer,” “others are so much better than me,” and the like. 

Tortured by feeling like a fraud and crippling self-doubt you focus your attention on something else instead to relieve at least some of these feelings, missing out on opportunities that might be right in front of you. 

You push yourself too hard

People who exhibit high-functioning anxiety traits or behaviours appear outwardly calm, collected, and organised, but feel terrified inside. To prove themselves, they’ll push themselves harder than anyone else around, they’ll take on extra tasks and work until the wee hours of the day.

Everyone who is successful is disciplined, committed, and passionate about their work. You can work hard in the sense of being active all day, or work hard and be productive. The difference is that the person who does the latter employs techniques that help her optimise the processes to minimise the input and maximise the output. 

Pushing yourself too hard, and working every hour of the day can lead to exhaustion, and at worst burnout.

Anxiety limits your vision

If you’re worried all the time and afraid to challenge yourself, you will be unable to experience your full potential and truly commit to a vision that is beyond what is considered normal in your environment. 

If you focus on what can go wrong and the difficulties on the road ahead, it will be so much more difficult to motivate yourself consistently and to find the resources to work towards making your vision a reality, so you’ll adjust your vision, and conform to what you see others around do, rather than go for your dreams. 

Overcome anxiety with these tips

Anxiety is a combination of physiological and mental reactions to perceived danger. What makes the initial stress reaction last is the mental aspect: you try to think yourself out of this situation resulting in racing thoughts and rummination. 

It’s okay to be afraid of these strong emotions and sensations in the body, but the more you try to avoid them and suppress them, the stronger they become. So instead of analysing the feelings and indulging in all sorts of thoughts about the past or potential future. Focus your attention on the sensations in the body. 

One anxiety exercise you can do anywhere is the 3-3-3 Rule:

Focus on three things (one at a time) you can see in your environment, just look at them and linger on that sight without analysing, or thinking about it. Focus on the sight itself. 

Focus on three sounds you can hear around you from three different sources and just let your mind be immersed in the sound, without judging it or thinking anything about it. 

Do three physical movements, e.g. stretch your arms, stand up for a moment and walk around, roll your head, whatever feels comfortable. 

This will have disrupted the anxiety pattern and now you can decide whether there really is a problem you need to solve immediately or continue with the task you were doing. 

If you’re pushing yourself too hard because you’re unable to say no, stand in front of your mirror at home, and start practising saying no until it becomes second nature. Prioritising your own needs isn’t selfish, it’s necessary for your mental and physical well-being. 

If you’re finding it difficult to commit to the vision you have for yourself and your business, or you are afraid to even have one, start with the basics: what are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your signature strengths? And what is your relationship like with your community? They will help you create and solidify a vision you can commit to.

You can achieve anything and everything alone as well, but if you want to do it in a structured way and to achieve results faster and with more ease, it helps to do it with the support of someone who’s travelled the road. I offer hybrid therapy and coaching services for women who want to overcome anxiety, and build a business that is both sustainable and a source of joy. Book a free discovery call or send a message to inquire about the different options.