Momentum Podcast: 517

Where Entrepreneurial Anxiety Comes From

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Entrepreneurial anxiety is real. The faster we come to terms with it, the faster we can do something about it. So where does entrepreneurial anxiety come from? It comes from people like you and I wanting to be in momentum, make progress, get things done, and not being able to. If we lean in and embrace the anxiety, it will help us move forward.

I experienced entrepreneurial anxiety last week while I was out with a nasty sinus infection. Thankfully I had a plan and team in place that allowed our business to still make massive progress in my absence. If you are experiencing entrepreneurial anxiety, you need to have a plan. Not only is it important to have a plan in place, but you also need to make sure every member of your team understands it. That way if you have to take a few days off, your team can still move the business forward. You also need to recognize and eliminate where you are uncomfortable. Don’t deny the anxiety. It only makes it worse. 

If you build the right team, have a plan, recognize where you are uncomfortable, and eliminate what’s holding you back, you will reduce anxiety.

Full Audio Transcript

Last week, I had massive, overwhelming anxiety. Here's why, I was sick. I was actually sick from before the 1st of July, until about Saturday or Sunday, so over seven days.

It was absolutely devastating and frustrating, and it created massive anxiety and insecurity. This need to get up to do something, to move forward, and to drive forward. I experience entrepreneurial anxiety when I'm not in momentum, and I bet you do too. This is where entrepreneurial anxiety comes from most of the time.

I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will.

We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what it could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly, the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.

Entrepreneurial anxiety is real. The faster we come to terms with it, the faster we can do something about it. And here's where entrepreneurially anxiety comes from. It comes from people like you and I wanting to be in momentum, wanting to make progress, wanting to make things happen, get things done, and not being able to. I think that is the biggest source of restless agitation and frustration and discord and anxiety that we feel as entrepreneurs, and I really felt this in the past week. I had a debilitating nasal infection. I have not had an infection in my face this bad in my entire life. It was so rough that when I tried to read or look at a phone or even watch TV or anything, it increased the pressure in my face. My eyes would start watering, and I felt even worse, so I literally could do nothing. I was laying in bed staring at a wall. I know this is a little dramatic, but at one point I was thinking, "I bet this is what solitary confinement feels like." You're just sitting there doing nothing. Now that is crazy dramatic, and I can't imagine how absolutely incredibly horrible solitary confinement would be, but that's where my mind was going.

In fact, here's what happened over and over again during the week while I was laying in bed. I would think to myself, "Maybe I can get up and do one thing." Which I obviously couldn't. I was in pain. I would get up, I'd get dizzy. My face felt like it was going to blow off. My sinuses were completely inflamed. I was rinsing them three or four times a day. So I really couldn't get up and do one thing. But as soon as I had the thought, "Hey, I need to do one thing." Then my mind would say, "But there's more for you to do, and you missed stuff last week. And you had commitments to your team [inaudible 00:03:18] done. And you have done anything all day, you didn't do anything yesterday. You really aren't doing anything." And within seconds my mind would just be racing away with this anxiety over not doing. And why is that?

Well, let's get real. We are evolutionary hunters. You and I are that small percentage of the population that has been pre-programmed before we ever got to this earth to go out into the future, find a new reality, create a new reality, come back to the present and demand it become real. That is who we are. And we have been programmed for millennia to be that person who is driving, who is making things happen, who is on the hunt and killing things. Why? To help the human tribe survive. This is a survival instinct that we are working with here. And here's the issue, in history, throughout history, we would have just gotten up and gone and killed something. But today, one of the biggest issues we have as entrepreneurs is that our anxiety comes from, I mean that restless agitation, that millennial programming, that entire epigenetic history of needing to go out and make things happen. And I felt it like crazy last week. In fact, we feel as entrepreneurs like we shouldn't feel anxiety. We feel like we should be okay. We talk ourselves out of it. We pretend like it isn't there. But here's the fact, as soon as we admit it and explore our anxiety, explore the discomfort we feel, it will lead us to correct what is needed. That is crucial.

See, if we lean in, and we think about the anxiety will actually help us move forward. And here's what I did last week. Every time that runaway thought would come, I would think to myself, "I'm in a good place. I have a plan. I have a team. I have an organization around me. We're moving forward. We're still making progress. Even though I'm laying here in bed, my team is still making massive progress in what we're trying to achieve in the world." And so I would talk myself out of it, calm myself down, and finally get to the place where I could just be present without feeling that anxiety. And this is so important for us as entrepreneurs.

Here's why. We all feel entrepreneurial anxiety, and it's not productive. It's actually distracting. This is the stuff that throws us off. This is the stuff that holds us back. This is the stuff that gets that racing mind, that foggy brain that we have, that makes it so we don't really feel like we're making progress. I'll tell you how to fix it in just a second. Second, why this is so important, anxiety and discomfort leads to unnecessary changes. Here's what happens. When you feel that anxiety and that discomfort and you don't explore it, you don't understand where it's coming from, you don't get real with it. You will start changing things. You will start modifying things. In fact, I often say that a lot of entrepreneurs are addicted to change and programmed to accept failure because we feel that anxiety, so we change, we modify, we change, we push, we change, we do something different and then we don't make progress. So we have this addicted to change and programmed to accept failure and is driven by entrepreneurial anxiety.

And another reason why this is so important, when anxiety increases, so does pressure and noise. When pressure in noisy increases, so does anxiety. And this can be one of the most damaging entrepreneurial loops that turns into a spiral and drives us down into a black hole. I don't want to see that happen to you. I want you to pull out of this. So here's what you need to know. When you are feeling entrepreneurial anxiety, these are things that will calm things down, get you back to center, put you in the driver's seat and help you create momentum and move forward.

Number one, have a plan. I know that seems simple, but 99% of entrepreneurs do not have a documented strategic plan. Last week when I was laying in bed feeling helpless, feeling like I couldn't get anything done, feeling like... Let's be honest, I felt like a little bit of a loser, and it was frustrating to just lay there. But, I went and looked at my strategic plan, and I would look at it, and I would read through it, and even though it would give me a headache, I'd spend a few minutes with it and it would actually calm me down. Because here's the reality about us as entrepreneurial personality types, as evolutionary hunters. When we have a clear outcome, when we are on a hunt, and we can see the destination, we can see the kill we're going to make, it calms us. It's grounding for us. As evolutionary hunters, having a destination is everything for us. So number one, have a plan. Have a strategic plan you know. Have a strategic plan your team knows. It will calm anxiety and put you back in the driver's seat and get you back into momentum.

Next, recognize where you are uncomfortable. Everything that creates discomfort for you is adding to your anxiety. So on a daily basis, every client we have go through their momentum planner, which is one of the systems we sell. And there's several questions they ask. The first one is, what's my intention for the day? The second one is, out of four, where was I uncomfortable yesterday? Consistently write down all the places you're uncomfortable, inventory what is causing you discomfort because discomfort creates anxiety. So if you're in a place where you're not getting enough done, and you've got things that are making you uncomfortable, your anxiety levels will go up. So on a daily basis, eliminate what is uncomfortable. Don't eliminate what makes you feel vulnerable, don't eliminate where you're actually making progress, and what you're stretching, and you're growing. Eliminate the little things that are frustrating you. The people, the places, the things, no matter how small or how big you are, they're either giving you momentum, or they're taking it away. So get rid of those that are taking it away.

And here's the last one. Make sure every member of your team understands your plan, because if you have a plan, you'll eliminate discomfort, and you have a team that's pulling for you, even when you're down and out like I was. Even when you're not productive, you can get to that place of centered, of grounded, of feeling better, or feeling like you're in momentum by knowing that your team is out there doing it for you. This is a massive game changer for entrepreneurs because so many of us pretend like we're not anxious. Pretend like we don't feel the anxiety. In fact, we deny the anxiety, which makes it even worse. So the way that you can do this differently is recognize where you're uncomfortable, adjust and lower anxiety, and you will create momentum. Create a strategic plan, share it with your team, and then it's not just you pulling in that direction. You'll actually have the momentum of a group, the momentum of a team, the momentum of a tribe, just like every evolutionary hunter should. So build your team, have a plan. Everyone on that team should know what's going on. Reduce where you're uncomfortable, and you will reduce entrepreneurial anxiety.

But I want you to know something. You'll never eliminate it. This is a battle we're going to fight for the rest of our lives. We're evolutionary hunters. We are pre-programmed to get up in the morning, go out and kill something. Today in modern day society, that has been replaced by getting up in the morning, going out and making something happen. And when we're not doing enough, when we're not feeling enough, and we're not centered, when we don't have a plan and a communication system and a tribe around us in the form of a team, we will feel anxiety. But by working towards those things, by working towards those ideals, you will move anxiety down. You will reduce how much you feel. You will push it aside and create massive momentum. Go out and make the impact you want, the income you want, and let's get real. I want you to go out and change the world.

If you're ready for some help with this. If you want to know how to put together a clear strategic plan, communicate it to your team and grow the infrastructure of your business fast, reach out to us. You do not have to do this on your own. In fact, go to, answer a few questions from my team, and set up a call with a member of our team so that you can understand how we help businesses scale and grow like crazy. If you're ready to have a clear plan that everybody understands, a system so everyone on your team knows exactly what's going on, and absolute clarity as to how to build the infrastructure of your company, don't wait. Go to right now. Fill out a few questions for my team. Set up a call with a business specialist on our team and let's see if we can help you grow, scale, and change the world.

Thank You For Listening!

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