By Tina Greenbaum, LCSW
I remember sitting in my new office with my new furniture all in place, waiting for the phone to ring. This was now my 3rd big move where I was starting my life and my private psychotherapy practice over again.
And I remember the feeling of overwhelming anxiety. I needed to make money. How was I going to pay the rent? How was I going to meet my other expenses? I didn’t have a clue. What I did know was that I had started over successfully twice before and I could do it again.
This was before the internet. “All” I needed to do was network, speak and build relationships with other professionals who were most likely to refer to someone with my skillset. But I didn’t know how long that was going to take and I couldn’t tolerate the uncertainty. Thus, the overwhelming anxiety.
I’m wondering who amongst you reading this article can relate? If you’re an entrepreneur or a business professional who is dependent on the actions of others to earn your living, you are constantly challenged by the feeling of uncertainty.
Let’s look at this a little more closely and I’ll give you a few tips that might assist you as you work towards building your empire.
- The definition of stress that I use is “the perceived amount of control you think you have or don’t have.” When you are building a business, you have control over your own actions, but not those of others.
- Your job is to put into action the strategies that are most likely to bring you the desired results. But as we know, this is an imperfect science. Marketing specialists depend on “testing” different approaches to see what works best. This is a time consuming and sometimes, expensive task.
- If you are just starting out and your expectation is that you are going to begin generating revenue right away, you are likely to experience a great amount of frustration and disappointment.
One of the best ways to become masterful at managing pressure is to constantly assess that space between your reality and your expectations. I guarantee, if they are not aligned, you will become frustrated and anxious – as I was when I was sitting in an empty office expecting the phone to ring.
So, as soon as you start to feel that anxiety rising, stop and ask yourself:
- What’s in my control and what’s out of my control?
- Are my expectations realistic? And if they’re not, what needs to shift so that I will be aligned?
For example, I had an unrealistic expectation that my business would take off at that early stage. The reality was, I had only been there a few months and people didn’t know me, like me or trust me at that juncture. It generally takes 2-3 years for a business to build that solid foundation.
I remember one of those days sitting in that empty office fretting about my situation, and the phone did ring. It was an old friend asking me how things were going. When I told her how worried I was about my finances, she said to me very clearly, and I’ll never forget it, “Do you have enough money to hold out until your business takes off? And if you do, just relax and enjoy the process. And if you don’t, get a part time job!
It was that simple! She took the emotion right out of my dilemma.
You see, building a business has a life of its own. And you cannot make it go any faster than it takes to go through the stages it needs to go through. It’s just like expecting a newborn to walk!
I’m now two years into my 6th startup.
I’ve learned a few things from my experience and the wonderful coaches I’ve had over the years. The most basic need we have as human beings is survival. In practical terms it means, “roof over our heads and food on the table.”
If you want to enjoy the process and keep your stress level at a minimum, be sure to have a realistic plan for how you’re going to meet those basic needs while you allow your business to unfold.
This will help you become friends with uncertainty. Rather than having fear and worry be your constant companions, you’ll be living in a state of curiosity…just wondering what wonderful new possibility is just around the corner.
- Posted by Tina Greenbaum
- On 10th August 2017
- 0 Comment