I was never really what I’d label an anxious person until starting my business. Turns out signing up to be an entrepreneur means you not only have to learn how to spell the word right so you can fill out out things like new patient forms at the dentist that don’t list your career category, but also that you’re pretty much handed a prescription for Xanax.
The anxiety was exacerbated by the whole Lyme/thyroid saga, and now I’m managing it and my day to day is a whole lot better, but I find that anxiety is sort of like estimated tax payments. Always there, kinda looming, and tends to sneak up on you.
If you struggle with anxiety, you know that once an attack hits it’s tough to take yourself out of it. So when I come across tools and methods that suggest the possibility of preventing the whole can’t-breathe-can’t-eat-can’t-think situation, I store those away in a mental folder to retrieve when I feel particularly worked up. Dana found this method, and maybe you have your own.
This new little ditty is not just for business owners, by the way. It can be applied to any work environment. And not just work actually, life in general. Anytime you feel some anxious thoughts rising on up.
Instagram is somewhere I turn for inspiration of the taco variety, not so much for how to function as a human. But leave it to Elizabeth Gilbert to stop my scroll when I came across this post. I’m just going to type this caption out for you word for word because I can’t really write better than this.
“On my hand, because I know somebody will ask, is written the word STUDENT. My friend @realrobbell taught me to write this on my hand on tough days, to remind myself that I’m just a student, that the world is just a school for endless learning, and that it’s ok if you haven’t mastered everything yet. Thank god.”
Marinate in that one for a minute. I don’t know if it will have the same effect for you, but man that cut right into me. He really has all the answers, that Rob Bell does.
I am a student. Everything is a learning experience. This is great because I love learning new stuff!
That’s a very simple way to reframe things, but it’s comforting for someone who suffers from crippling, neurotic self doubt when it comes to work.
Angry email from a client? I am a student. This is just a learning experience.
Project didn’t come out quite like you had planned? I am a student. This is just a learning experience.
Meeting went kinda bad and millions of things have been added to your to-do list? I am a student. This is just a learning experience.
It reminds me of Nora Ephron’s go-to line: everything is copy. Also the title of a great HBO documentary about her life, btw.
The point is that there’s no point in getting worked up over the bad moments, because they are just learning experiences. They’re just things to write about, or stories to tell, or good lessons to store away.
I know this is so much easier said than done, but just applying this thought to situations when I feel like I’m spiraling into crazy town has helped a lot. I even wrote “student” on a post-it note and stuck it to the wall above my desk as a constant reminder.
So if you too are riding the anxiety train these days, maybe give it a shot. It might not derail every situation, and it definitely can’t shorten a to-do list or make emails disappear, but maybe it could help reframe it all.
Any tip or tricks for curbing anxiety in your playbook that you’d like to share? Tell me below!