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How Being Honest About My Anxiety Helped Me Grow My Business

Mariah Bruce is a business student and a professional writer.


I started to feel anxious again after I quit my day job and started working from home to grow my business. I had suffered symptoms of mild anxiety in my adolescence, but I hadn’t given much thought to whether those symptoms were affecting my success as an entrepreneur. How many potential business opportunities and client relationships was I missing out on due to unchecked symptoms of anxiety?

Thankfully, I had been able to manage my anxiety well enough to avoid a nightly panic attack. But I was determined to find out more about how my anxiety was holding me back from success. By doing extensive research, working with a counselor, and participating in group therapy sessions, I was able to understand how my anxiety was contributing to some of the problems I had when I was just starting my business. Here are 6 ways that anxiety might be holding you back from success:

1. Looking to the Future

When you have anxiety, your brain has a tendency to fixate on every little problem, like tunnel vision. You might replay events or interactions over and over in your mind and dissect every detail. The anxious brain can make a mountain out of any molehill, but when you own a business it’s important to be able to see the big picture. You might fixate on soothing one unhappy customer, for example, when you should instead be focusing your efforts on training customer service employees. Being detail-oriented is a valued trait in business, but stop wasting your energy on meaningless tasks that don’t add value to your brand

2. Making Connections

Sometimes anxiety prevents you from taking those necessary risks, building connections with potential clients or investors because you are always feeling stressed out and on high alert. Those aren’t feelings that you want to be associated with you or your brand, no successful company would. To make the right connections in the business world, you need to present yourself as confident and levelheaded, and projecting those traits starts from within.

3. Problem-Solving Solutions

A new business is in perpetual crisis mode, where each day presents a new and urgent challenge. You get used to reacting and operating on little sleep with lots of stress. As your business grows in the long term, this approach doesn’t work anymore and you must be alert to long-term problems and new priorities. Anxiety blocks our ability to work toward constructive solutions, causing us to treat each problem as a one-off rather than working to develop systems that would avoid a future problem.

4. Having the Right Systems

As a business owner, you often rely on large volumes of data and information. But sometimes anxiety causes us to appear disorganized, messy and scattered. How can you expect to keep your data organized, keep track of meetings, employee details, contacts, and changing regulatory requirements if you don’t have a proper organization system in place? Finding an organizational system that works for you is a great method for reducing anxiety on a daily basis, and eliminating anxious thoughts as they occur.

5. Having the Right Attitude

Anxiety can fill our minds with self-doubt and continuous negative feedback loops. Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind innovation and creativity in the modern business world and anxious thoughts are the biggest thing holding them back. Having the right attitude means being fully present for every opportunity and challenge as it arises, avoiding negative thought processes, and prioritizing positive self-talk.

6. Embracing Change

Starting your own business is a rollercoaster ride of unexpected changes and unforeseen events. The anxious mind is not always willing to face these risks head-on – due to negative thought patterns, it’s learned to avoid risky situations. Learn to embrace changes and innovations in your field, and always be willing to change your perspective when presented with new information. You are sure to make mistakes and it’s important to learn from them, but dwelling on the past only closes the door on future opportunities.


Mariah B (author) from OR on August 09, 2020:

Thanks Natasha I’m so glad I could help a little with your anxiety. I think it’s important to remember we are not alone in our suffering and for me, talking about it always makes me feel better. Thanks again for reading :)

Natasha on July 25, 2020:

I too get sever anxiety sometimes, not often but whenever I do, it's just worse. So I could really relate to this article, I really appreciate the meaning full information a lot.