Entrepreneurship is probably one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences but it comes with many hurdles and loads of stress. One type in particular called anxiety. There is so much people don't know about anxiety yet and one of my missions is to help them see how it can actually be a positive experience.
The thing is, anxiety like most things is energy and it has a unique quality that makes it what it is. I always like to explain the quality of it from an Ayurvedic standpoint. Ayurveda is, I guess we could say, the natural medical philosophy that stems from the yogic tradition. Without giving you a crash course on Ayurveda, here is what I want you to know about it. It defines energy and people's constitutions through something that is called Doshas. There are three types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It's Vata that I want you to know about today.
People who suffer from anxiety often have excess Vata energy in their constitution which is an energy that is very flowy, creative, spontaneous and airy. I always like to refer to Pheobe in the NBC hit show Friends as an example of a Vata human being. We all love Pheobe right ;). The problem with excess Vata energy is that if it doesn't have a container or a sense of direction it doesn't know where to go, hence feeling nervous, scattered and uneasy. When not channeled properly we will no doubt feel anxious, unsettled and procrastinate A LOT. Because entrepreneurs are very creative beings, many of us have a lot of excess Vata in us.
There are not enough discussions out there about anxiety and the consequence of this is that there are way too many people feeling alone, misunderstood, broken and completely stuck as to how to live more peacefully. People just think that they will be stuck like this for life. I thought the same thing, but I can tell you today from experience not to worry, you won't be! For over 10 years I struggled with anxiety. At moments with severe doses of it. Today though I am so grateful for the anxiety that I had (and still sometimes have today) because it's what pushed me to follow my own unique path. I simply couldn't settle to fit into someone else's mold. My mind and body couldn't handle it. Having a job has always been pure torture for me because if you try to put this creative being in a box or ask her to follow rules she will literally freak the f**k out. So the only option I saw that would bring me peace was to create a lifestyle that would give me the freedom of choice when and how I needed. It's ironic because as I mentioned above the Vata energy needs a container or a sense of direction but if it's imposed by someone else it creates a hurricane of discomfort inside. Because of this very spontaneous, creative and intuitive energy that I still have today, I need to build in my own systems to contain this energy yet have the freedom to break out of those systems or change my plans when needed.
So here's the thing. You're not broken and you are completely normal. Everything you are feeling that makes you believe that you are the only human being living this is an illusion. Don't fall for it, you are so not alone in this! For so long I have been simmering the idea of creating some sort of support system to accompany people along this journey with anxiety. Because yes it's a journey that requires you to be open to learn, try different things and be patient with yourself and others around you. The only people who can truly understand what you are living are people who are living it themselves or have so before. Let go of expecting people around you to understand what you are experience, it's not gonna happen. It's just too hard to grasp if you haven't personally experienced it.
Above and beyond medical explanations, there is a conversation I feel that needs to be happening right now about this struggle. My philosophy is instead of trying to fix your anxiety, you need to learn to accept it, flow with it and use it to your advantage. When you do, the sensations go way down, you feel in control and much more peaceful. There's no quick fix, you just need to learn how to become friends with your anxiety so that you are on the same team. No more battles with it!
I laugh sometimes because people will often tell me 'Oh yes I got it when I was 22' as if they caught a cold and it never went away, which makes them think that they are sick. You don't catch anxiety like a virus (although some people do experience anxiety from more hormonal or physiological changes) but still in those cases most of the work to be done is in the mind. And if anxiety kicked in through some hormonal changes, there was probably a sensitivity already there before. It rarely just appears into your life out of nowhere. That said, there are always exceptions...The point is, it doesn't matter why it's there. What matters is how you can learn to flow with it.
I think that people who struggle with anxiety are very special beings with lots of gifts. If we all learned to see this weakness as a unique strength that we can use to create an amazing life, we would all be living more fully for ourselves. The key is to not take this journey with your anxiety so seriously, to stop fearing the sensations and to get rid of the rules, shoulds and have tos!
Imagine what would be missing in this lifetime if Richard Branson would have settled because of his "weaknesses". Sir Richard is dyslexic and struggled immensely in school. One of his teachers once told him that he would either end up in jail or very successful. What he did is zone in on his strengths, set himself up to use his unique potential positively to his advantage and delegate whatever he wasn't good at to a team, even at the young age of 15. He found his system and so can you!
I'm going to end here, because I could literally go on for hours. This topic lights a fire under my a** if you know what I mean! My passion to share this conversation with people is what led me to bring to life "Heal my anxiety" an online support community. This is where the conversation will continue and I would love for you to join us so that you too can start to better understand this experience at a deeper level and tap into your full potential. It's a simple monthly membership format where I will share everything I know and am still learning about this journey, where you can feel supported by a positive and uplifting community of peers that understand your reality and enjoy loads of content to help you to keep taking that next step forward. The first month is FREE so that you can just come in and see how you feel, meet me and the community, ask questions and just dip your toes in.
Whatever you decide, just do me a favour. Remember that you are completely normal, don't give up on yourself and choose the path that is uniquely yours. You got this!
You might also INJOY the podcast episode I recorded about The anxious entrepreneur!