When you own a business, there’s always a cloud of obligation dangling nearby ominously. Inevitably, there’s constantly something you could be working on to improve processes, communicate with customers more, sell more stuff, and expand to the biggest and best version of your biz possible.
It’s a never-ending cycle of to-dos, the pressure to perform, and internal warfare to pushing you to always do more. Your company is 100% your responsibility — its successes and failures all rest on your shoulders.
I mean, that’s some heavy, heavy stuff, man. The stress and excitement and anticipation and disappointment — all of it can easily weigh you down over time. The magnitude of responsibility can become all-consuming if we’re not aware and careful.
It’s a big reason why so many business owners I know, struggle with anxiety, and honestly, it makes sense. So today, I’m sharing 5 ways you can reclaim your peace and deal with anxiety constructively, no matter your circumstances or where you are on your entrepreneurial path.
Set healthy boundaries — in your work and your relationships.
So many entrepreneurs work from home, so it feels like we could always be working or doing something productive for our business. Hi, hello, I am so there with you. I get it. But it’s vital for your mental health to set rules for yourself that protect your personal time and relationships, and here’s the kicker: you gotta stick to them.
It might be shutting down email after 7 p.m., or schedule “off” time to take care of you, or putting aside a few hours a week to work out or do something fun and life-giving, like coffee with a friend. Treat these as legitimate appointments that you commit to because I can promise that working from your morning alarm clock until your head hits the pillow at night is NOT healthy boundaries — or just plain healthy.
Same goes for boundaries with people. If your in-laws think you can get lunch every week because you work from home, or your spouse figures you’ve got errands handled since you have a more flexible work situation, then it’s time have honest conversations about your office hours and how you need their support in structuring your workweek.
Give yourself reminders of the important, impactful work you’ve done.
It can be hard to celebrate our accomplishments. I think it’s because we work so hard to achieve so many things, that when we get one of them checked off, we still logically know there’s a whole list of other things we want to reach. But friend, you are worth loving on and celebrating, and you deserve to savor the good moments.
Create a space that cheers on all the great things you’ve done and reflect on those when things are hard. The first thing I outsourced was my inbox, and my amazing team created a folder of “love letters” from followers and clients I’ve impacted for me to read on a hard day.
The craziest thing? It works. Knowing I’ve helped just one other person can brighten even the darkest of days. So, save those notes from happy clients; create a wall of awesome stuff in a place you’ll see it every day. Commemorate anything that will simply make you feel good — and remind you of the good you’ve done for others — when those anxious feelings pop up.
Keep a journal of gratitude and goals.
Sometimes the biggest way to reshape our perspective is to see the blessings we already have, written down in front of us. It’s why Oprah says to make gratitude lists (and you should always listen to Oprah). It’s not just a woo-woo practice to post on IG stories… It literally restructures your thoughts.
Gratitude can take you from “poor me” to “how did I get so lucky?” It doesn’t have to take a ton of effort or time, either. Just put aside 5 minutes in the morning or evening to scribble down the things lately that bring you joy and thankfulness. They could be as small as seeing a ladybug outside or as major as getting approved for a house.
On the same note, writing out goals regularly is such a major way to map out how far we’ve come on this entrepreneurship journey, and where we’re going next. Looking at your goals and gratitudes on paper will help you realize you’re doing a pretty dang job already, and you’ve got the grit, gifts, and grace to keep going, even when it doesn’t feel like it all the time.
Let go of control and outsource what you don’t need to do.
This is pretty much a fact: entrepreneurs like control. Boom. Called out. (But also, I’m an entrepreneur, too. So…) It’s the main reason many of us got into our own line of business… We get to call the shots, initiate change, and help others based on our own dreams and aspirations. It’s pretty awesome, but it doesn’t mean you need to run the whole show solo.
What are your pain points? What do you NOT like doing or always put off doing? What isn’t in your natural realm of gifts and talents? These are the things you should feel welcome and encouraged to hand right off to somebody else. It is okay to get support and outsource, whether it’s in your business, at home, or with your family.
Nobody can do everything, and do it all well. So, let go of the reigns a tad, and allow help to come in and take some of the weight off your shoulders. You DO deserve to enjoy what you do — in fact, you’ll make a greater impact when you do.
Build a circle of like-minded individuals to support one another.
Join an entrepreneurial group in your area, or find other business owners in your field on social media, or network with your perceived “competitors” (who could actually become friends and an opportunity for amazing advice, insight, and even referrals).
There’s nothing that feeds anxiety more than feeling like you’re doing this whole thing by yourself. I know it can be tough to navigate growth and obstacles and change alone — but you can make a very intentional choice to not go it alone.
All it takes is a little courage to step outside your comfort zone. I actually did a whole podcast episode on making friends as an adult, and it might be a good resource for you to feel held and supported as you approach new relationships in your business journey.
And just know — I’m right here with ya. I get the grind of trying to gracefully balance work with life. I know there are days when it all feels too overwhelming to even look at the to-do list, let alone start on it. I understand the worries and fears that can keep you up late into the night.
But with these few small and intentional steps, I know you’ll feel more space to breathe, reflect, and chase those dreams down with confidence and bliss. Go get ’em, my friend.