THE BLISSFUL BIZ PODCAST
BRAVING ANXIETY AS AN ENTREPRENEUR
By Susanne Rieker
I’m getting all raw and vulnerable in this post and talk about my struggles with anxiety and what I do to overcome them.
The truth is, while my life, spending months each year in magical Bali and earning money through my website, may seem like the dream, I’ve been dealing with anxiety in the last years while building my business and completely uprooting my life.
Having any kind of struggles can be uncomfortable to talk about, but we need to have those conversations and I’m hoping you will learn some tools from me to help you face them and also be more vocal about what you’re going through as well.
I’ve been suffering from alopecia areata and tremors back in 2006 in a very stressful period of my life and both symptoms came back, out of the blue, around two years ago.
Here I was, living the digital nomad dream in Bali. I went to yoga at least 4 times a week, ate the yummiest healthy food, drank no alcohol, slept 8 hours every night…
I was feeling good, really! Nothing like back in my advertising days.
Still, right out of nowhere my hair stylist told me that there was a bald patch at the back of my head.
I was so shocked! Why did this happen again? And then I had those morning tremors as well and finally made the connection, that those symptoms were related.
Well, according to Google both of these symptoms can be contributed to anxiety, so let’s talk about what anxiety means for entrepreneurs and how I overcame it with a self-care plan!
When you have something like this happen to you, you are forced to take a good, hard look at your life.
And fact is, I was anxious.
The thing is, building a business by yourself is freakin hard!
Working long hours creating content because you’ve got too much on your to do list.
Pretending you’re comfortable in front of the camera doing a live video because everybody tells you you have to do “lives” to “beat the algorithm”.
Getting outside of your comfort zone, all the time.
Sacrificing everything your body needs because you have to be consistent and you don’t even know anymore what to do when you’re not looking at a computer.
Well, as I said before, I looked at my life, my business, and what I had to change. Here’s what I did to stop feeling anxious and finding bliss again in my business:
#1 I set boundaries
I’m ambitious. I have a strong vision where I want to go with my business. And I’m working incredible hard to get there, and I like doing that. I love it!
But I was struggling a lot with finding a balance. When I was working long hours, I felt bad because I didn’t enjoy Bali enough. And then when I was working less, I felt bad because I was afraid that I didn’t put enough time into building my business.
I decided that I would feel good if I worked between 30 and 35 hours a week. To track this, I came up with a super simple solution.
I use Asana, a free task management tool, to schedule all my tasks and to-dos. I then also signed up with Everhour, which allows me to track my time. Everhour integrates with Asana, so now I simply press a button when I start working on a task and then again when I stop.
Beside tracking where I spent my time, this also taught me to be much more mindful about my work, which was a surprising but very welcome side effect.
#2 I schedule time for self-care
I now plan my week in advance and not only schedule my business to-dos, but also yoga classes I want to go to and things like massages. And I schedule a lot of time for that right now, yoga nearly every day and a massage at least once per week, and also one or two workshops per week to meet new people and learn something new. This could be yoga or life coaching workshops or business-related workshops, I’m spoiled for choice here in Bali.
When it’s in my calendar it get’s done, it’s as easy as that.
#3 I focus on MY thing and don’t look left and right all the time
A big thing has been blocking out all the “shoulds” coming from the online world. Or looking at other people and how they are doing things and then thinking I should do this too.
Instead I focus on my business and my goals. What I planned for the month ahead, and I don’t change it or, even worse, add more stuff to do to it just because it seems cool and someone else is doing it.
I also stopped listening to too many different marketing experts. I have one expert that I’m following, Amy Porterfield, I bought her courses and am a member in her mastermind membership program.
I listen to other people’s podcasts, but I’m not doing their free challenges or webinars or buying their products, unless it’s a specific topic that I want to learn about, like Podcasting which I learned from Jenna Kutcher’s course or memberships which I learned from Tribe by Stu McLaren. I’m very selective here and it helps me to focus.
So how are things today? My hair is slowly growing back. I don’t wake up trembling anymore.
I still feel a little bit unease when I think about the future and what will happen, where will I live and all that, but not as much anymore.
I feel more trust. Trust in the universe, that it will all work out as it should.
I’m so grateful for everything I have. For where I am right now. I don’t dwell on my issues. They showed up to teach me something about myself, but they don’t control my life.
So, I realize that my battle with anxiety is really not as bad as other people may have it. It could be way worse.
But still, I wanted to share my story.
If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, or anything around mental health issues, I want you to know you are not alone. We may not talk about it, but we are out there. You are not alone.
Everyone has their own story and it shows up in so many different ways.
Those issues can be uncomfortable to talk about, but we need to have those conversations and I’m hoping you will learn some tools in this episode to help you face them and also be more vocal about what you’re going through as well.
We have to stop this shame and embarrassment around it.
Because, also, you can still be successful in spite of, or in addition to, your anxiety or health challenges you are going through.
Even with everything going on, I tripled my income from online courses last year and I’m on the road to my first 6-figure year.
Self care, self love, and self acceptance are things I’ll constantly be working on… and I invite you on this journey with me. Perhaps we can pull together and ensure we take care of each other.
If you are in crisis and need help immediately, please call the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine: 1-800-273-TALK or text “Talk” to 741741.
Thank you for reading
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