Should I do it?
Will I look like a fool? I’m not good enough. All these other designers are amazing. No one is going to like mine. No one is going to like me.
What am I doing?
These words run through my head before publishing any kind of marketing material for social media. Even when I like the content and think it’s good, I still have this wash of crippling anxiety before I hit the publish button, and if I’m honest, I don’t always make it to the point of publishing it.
So how could these anxious thoughts possibly be a good thing?
Well, at first, I didn’t think they were. I saw it merely as a bunch of limiting beliefs I needed to push through but never would—which might be the case. However, this anxiety also proves that my website design business is important to me. I care about succeeding in this deeply.
Now, the main trick is not to let this anxiety stop me from publishing. I have to remind myself that while it sucks putting in a lot of work for few people to see it—thank you algorithms—the upside is that not many people will see it while I’m still learning.
I’ve decided on a career involving the online space, so if I want it to work, I have to be present online—anxiety and all.
Another surprise anxiety payoff.
The second payoff I’m experiencing carrying this load of anxiety around is forcing me to uncover my deepest limitations and face them head-on.
If I worked in a regular job that I didn’t have to overthink and its success didn’t solely rely on me, I would just be carrying anxiety around, buried deep inside and hidden from rearing its ugly head.
Not being aware of my anxiety actually sounds like bliss, but I’m also wise enough now to know that it would manifest itself in different ways. This anxiety would likely be more difficult to unravel because I may not be hit with the core of it face first.
I know that unless I go back to the basics and ensure my physical and mental health are looked after, I won’t make it through. While I need to lose weight right now, on days I don’t want to, the bigger motivation to jump on my yoga mat is to know that my mind needs it.
Same for meditation, and I started journaling again; both are practices I love, and they help me enormously but tend to fall by the wayside when I’m down.
Anxiety benefit number three.
Because one of my biggest fears is “I’m not good enough,” I am motivated to practice my craft.
This one is a careful balance between letting my inner perfectionist take over and humbly recognizing that I am still learning, which is okay, and I will get better the more I practice.
They say practice makes perfect. While I disagree with the term perfection—that’s a story for another day—I know that practice increases skill. The more I practice, the better I will get.
The fear of putting myself out there is also the reason why I decided to sit down and write this article for Elephant Journal. I just have to sit down and do something, anything, put it out there and see what happens.
It’s all practice, and the more I do it, the lower my anxiety. Besides, no publicity is bad publicity, so they say. Also, maybe writing and publishing this article will help relate to someone else with anxiety who is starting their own business or wants to.
Right now, for me, anxiety is an extremely real part of my daily life. Finding ways to cope with it and see its benefits over its brutality is challenging. Gratitude has been my secret weapon to ensure my anxiety doesn’t win and leave me with my head under the covers of my bed all day crying.
The power of gratitude never ceases to amaze me. Writing down or thinking about three things I am grateful for every day has gotten me through many tricky situations. It’s incredible the silver linings you can uncover when opening your mind to the possibilities. Gratitude is a big part of “doing the work” for me, and I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone if they aren’t already using this tool.
And there we have it; despite being endlessly unpleasant and, at times, crippling, I’ve finally found a few pretty cool silver linings for having anxiety.
This stressful emotion has helped me identify my passions, motivate me, and grow into a more resilient human being.
Hopefully, one day, as I become more confident, my anxiety will wane, but for now, I’ll let it come along for the ride…provided that it stays in the back seat.