There’s been some anxious moments the last few weeks in the startup I’m working on. It’s the typical fears that you deal with in this stage of a startup (basically, what if we fail?). I’ve been deep down this fearful road before, but this time it feels different. I’ve been able to watch and notice more than ever, and it’s really interesting what I’ve seen.
I’ve noticed that often times we connect the anxiety and the situation as one, therefore calling it an “anxious situation.” The tendency is to act quickly, swiftly, aggressively to solve these anxious situations. In my own moments of high startup anxiety I’ve responded by working longer hours, setting up elaborate tasks list, creating crazy work rules for myself, and lost hours of sleep. The funny thing is those all actually increase the anxiety. Why? Because my work or work ethic was not the issue, the anxiety was the issue. I’ve learned you need to work through that first, which often times requires a break and a breather, and then you can come back and deal with the tasks at hand (which usually are NEVER as bad as they look when you were anxious). Or as Jerry put it in an email conversation earlier:
In fact, some times the anxiety can be so high it can actually prevent you from putting together the structure you need (to make you feel less anxious!).
There’s a big difference between the anxiety and the situation. The anxiety is not tied to the situation, the anxiety is your reaction to the situation, and the anxiety makes dealing with the situation more difficult. Step back, reflect, separate the two, and move forward…