The Problem with Worry
When starting a business, many of my clients worry. They worry about all of the bad things that could happen. They could lose all of their money. Their employer could find out and fire them. They could not get a client….ever. A client could sue them. A state agency of some sort shuts them down or brings charges for not having the right license. The IRS could come after them if they make an error on their taxes. Someone could see their home address on their LLC organization filings and start stalking them and their children. An ex-boyfriend may see their Facebook ad and leave an embarrassing comment. The list can go on and on.
Worry seems useful, right? It seems like our brain is just trying to figure out all the ways something could go horribly wrong so that we can take steps to protect ourselves. The problem with worry is that we ‘protect’ ourselves by not taking any action. We ruminate. We research. We find confirmation by finding stories of that one coach who spent three months in jail for giving medical advice or was sued by Germany for sending an EU citizen spam email. And we take take no action.
Worry is an indulgent emotion. Our brain thinks it is doing us a favor by coming up with all of the worst case scenarios so that we can prepare for something really bad. But the problem is that while our brain is coming up with all these warnings, we’re actually not doing any problem solving. We end up wasting all of our brain power on the actual worrying rather than on coming up with solutions and, even worse, we end up forming a habit of worry. Our brain will start to learn that worry is a problem and, the brain being what it is, it will do whatever it can to avoid pain, seek pleasure and, most important, conserve energy. The end result is that we end up staying with our status quo and not pursuing our goals.
The solution is to teach your brain that worry is not a problem and that means to just allow the worry. That doesn’t mean to resist the worry or try to ignore it. Have you ever told your fears to someone and they just told you that you were being silly? Did that help? Probably not and it’s not going to help if it’s coming from you. It also doesn’t mean to react to the worry, which might cause you to ruminate about it, go down a rabbit hole of researching it and making pros and cons lists or anything else that doesn’t actually move you forward. Instead, you just have to allow it.
To allow worry, you tell your brain, ‘I get it. You’re trying to protect me and this is what worry feels like.’ At that point, try to quiet your mind and feel the worry in your body. That feeling is all it is. That’s your worse case scenario: that sensation in your body.
Your brain will try to convince you otherwise. It will remind you that you could be sued, lose your job, lose your retirement savings, serve up to 36 months in a federal prison and your husband will leave you. This is a good time to write all of these down. List all the worries out in black and white. Now look at what you have some control over and what actions can you take. Do you have control over how much effort you put into your business to find clients and make revenue? Do that. Can you hire a reputable CPA who is known for helping small businesses file legitimate tax returns? Yes. Can you make your best effort to comply with federal and state laws? Yes.
What about the worries you don’t have control over? Like, what if a global pandemic strikes and shuts down the economy for a year? Well, first of all, with the exception of a few Chinese scientist and (arguably) government officials, could U.S. small business owners’ worry about that in 2019 have prevented what happened? No, the worry didn’t. You know what helped though? Their moving forward with their businesses.
Finally, after you’ve written down everything that could possibly go wrong, make another list. This list will be all of the things that could go right. Teach your brain that if it wants to go down a worry hole, then it needs to give equal airtime to all of the beautiful and wonderful possibilities that your goals could go well.
Worry is an indulgent emotion and for many of us, it has become a habit that can prevent us from reaching our goals. If you find yourself going down a rabbit hole of worry when it comes to setting up your business, let’s talk. Click on the button below and schedule a free call with me.Schedule Appointment