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Updated 26 Sep 2020

How to overcome entrepreneurial anxiety

Entrepreneurial anxiety is a real thing, but that doesn’t mean you need to let it get the better of you. 

Kgomotso Mautloa, 19 July 2015  Share  0 comments  Print

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The journey of an entrepreneur is a long and challenging one, but one with many rewards if you are driven by ambition and passion. However, as confident and determined as you are, entrepreneurial anxiety tends to creep up from time to time.

Related: 4 Things no one tells you about entrepreneurship

This doesn’t mean you should succumb to it and give up: You just need to maintain perspective and keep pushing.  

Realise that it can happen to you 

Never think that you are beyond it. As entrepreneurs, we are generally competitive in our nature. When talking to other entrepreneurs, it is essential to maintain perspective and have an open mind in taking lessons from their respective experiences.

We might laugh off other entrepreneur’s failures without ever thinking that we could make those very mistakes in the future. Every experience that you go through is a chance to learn - let these experiences be your notebook.

Timing and to-do’s

As business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks of running a business, which can completely throw our action plan off course. Proper planning for your day ahead is vital.

Sure, some days won’t go according to plan, but you need to try your best in setting action items for the day and doing your best to stay focused and action those tasks as best you can.

Once you skip a task or procrastinate on even just one of your tasks, your timing is thrown off for the whole day - possibly even the whole week. This leads to unnecessary pressure to try and finish off all of your tasks.

Always have a realistic check list to achieve all your goals on a day to day basis which will alleviate unnecessary pressure and anxiety. Remember, your time is valuable to yourself and to your clients. 

Be preparedUnorganised -businessman

Having mentors and business coaches play a big part in helping you stay focused and away from the anxiety that may set in as part of running a business. Knowing that you have someone that you can talk to and get guidance from is great.

Coaches and mentors can help prepare you for eventualities that could creep up in business that, in hindsight, could have been detrimental to your business.

A good coach helps you prepare for situations that you might blindly walk into, and provide you with support and guidance as you progress along your entrepreneurial journey.

Work-play balance

This is by far the most overlooked part of an entrepreneur’s life. To manage the stress and anxiety that comes along with running a business, you need to have a good work-play balance.

You need to know when to buckle down and work, and when it’s time to step back and take time out to do the things that you enjoy – outside of work. I speak from experience where at one point in my entrepreneurial journey, I worked myself into hospital.

For the amount of time and effort you’re putting into your business, you need to be rewarded somehow; and I’m not talking about the reward of a monetary kind.

You need to know when to remove yourself from your work environment and everything related to it, and do something to replenish and re-energise your batteries.

Be it spending time with family or friends outdoors or on an excursion, or spending time reading a good book.

Do something that you enjoy and that will energise and motivate you – this will ultimately translate into your work life. Remember, when you are rundown, overworked and not energised, it translates into the type of work you put out.

Do things that you enjoy outside of your business, and when you jump back into business mode, your clients will thank you for it. 

It’s not the end

Being competitive is both a good and bad thing. Most business owners are in a constant race to see the finish line and make it there before they drown.

Sometimes plans don’t materialise the way that you envisioned. It’s not the end of the world if they don’t. In times like this, you’re often provided an opportunity to do it again - and to do it better. 

Related: The drive to make a difference

Entrepreneurs tend to carry a heavy load on their shoulders because of the dreams and ambitions they have, setting the bar extremely high and having unattainable expectations.

Set realistic goals and work towards them every day. Step by step. Day by day. With each mini goal that you tick off your list in the day to day humdrum of things, is a step to creating another solid building block for your business.

If you don’t get it right the first time, don’t be hard on yourself; manage your expectations properly. 

If you’re able to balance out all of the above, you’ll be well on your way to combatting entrepreneurial anxiety.

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About the author

Kgomotso Mautloa

Kgomotso Mautloa is the Creative Director at Green Robot Design The title of creative director is one which suits his personality as he is a strong believer in spear-heading projects that will change how design speaks to people's emotions, as opposed to speaking at them to communicate a generic message.

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