When giving up seems easier than sticking it out — 5 Things I use to overcome Anxiety!

Courtesy of the Huffington Post

We’ve all had that feeling. The feeling of anxiety in the middle of the night or first thing when you wake up. The thought that you were wrong about that business idea, taking that job or doing that “thing” you’ve always wanted to do.

Through my experiences in life, I’ve come to an astounding conclusion:

“The fear of failure is often greater than the reality of it!”

However at the time the fear appears real, our brains have difficulty discerning or distinguishing the difference. Only after time has passed do we realize the thing we feared wasn’t as bad as we initially envisioned.

I’m going to share my theory for why it happens and what one could do to mitigate it….because I don’t know if it’s possible to completely eradicate fear.

Why I’m writing this now:

Most of the emails and messages on Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, YouTube etc. I receive are from people who tell me my videos and online content has helped them through an extremely difficult time.

Sort of reminds me of PostSecret and people who send anonymous post cards to a gentleman named Frank Warren in Maryland. The revelations are riveting!

I recently received a message from an entrepreneur who was struggling with self-sabotage, self doubt and an inability to see the growth in their business. I’ll share below what I would do and have done to overcome the fear, anxiety and self-sabotage.

I’m fascinated by the concept of fear, how it affects our actions and how some overcome it.

In my opinion, fear happens as a mechanism to protect us from making mistakes. It’s an early warning system to remind us that there’s danger out there and to beware. In many cases, inaction is better than taking action that results in a negative experience.

We’ve all experienced fear and anxiety at work and in life. Over a decade ago, I used to experience crippling anxiety going to work for a large accounting firm. Everyday was a struggle to get out of bed (if I even slept), to get dressed, to drive to work, to smile and talk to colleagues. The end of every work day was a tremendous relief. Unfortunately, I had to repeat the process all over again.

Groundhog day from hell…..until one day I made a decision for it to stop!

To be clear, it wasn’t the firm I had a problem with but a person I directly reported to. In the grand scheme of things, that event only mattered in the sense that I learned a new skill. I learned how to overcome a difficult situations.

Fear and anxiety doesn’t discriminates based on color, socio-economic status, gender or age. It happens regardless of being an employee or an entrepreneur. It happens…

Here’s what I do to address the fear and anxiety in my life and what I’ve suggested to others who’ve reached out to me.

  1. Gratitude — First thing every morning, I remind myself of 5 things I’m grateful for. The gratitude gets my mind immediately off of self loathing, worry, anxiety and doubt. It may be a temporary thing but over time it becomes permanent.
  2. My Current and Past Wins — I make a list of my current and past wins. In other words, things I’ve succeeded on or have made progress with. The idea is that I have to remind myself that I have made measurable progress in a particular path. “There’s pleasure in measurable progress”. You have some wins….don’t be lazy with this exercise and please do it.
  3. My Why — On any path, I also remind myself why I started to begin with. When I had difficulty at the accounting firm I mentioned earlier, I worked there for the experience. That experience created better opportunities in the future. If you’re starting a business answer the following questions: “Why am I doing this? Who am I doing this for? What legacy am I leaving behind?
  4. What does my Path look like? — Distractions and missteps are more likely if the path is unclear, unfocused and poorly define. I use the “Trip Baltimore” example in most of my speeches. I live in the Washington, DC area and Baltimore is approximately 40 miles away. One can use street signs, people on the street, and past experiences as navigation to Baltimore. Or you can use your Waze/Google Maps which shows you the quickest and most direct route to Baltimore. The first way will eventually get you to Baltimore but it will most likely be longer and filled with unnecessary detours. Using Waze/Google Maps, on the other hand, will get you there in less time. Make your path clearer and identify what your destination looks like!
  5. Mentors and Cheerleaders — Pretty self explanatory but many people don’t have mentors and cheerleaders. Mentors can be people you personally know or people whose work you study and follow. I like mentors who can teach from experience and are like the Christopher Columbus of my journey. I tend to learn from so many people but I intently listen to few!

When you feel like giving up, try these five things that I use. You may still want to give up after you’ve tried the 5 steps but at least you’ve taken the initiative to control your situation. I can either be the cause of what happens to me OR at the effect of what happens to me. I choose the former and I want you to do the same.

You have everything you need to succeed! You only have to remember, realize and respond.

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About Ebong Eka, CPA

Recently named one of the top leadership experts to follow online, Ebong Eka is a certified public accountant and keynote speaker on leadership and sales. He is the President of Ericorp Consulting, Inc. (EKAnomics) which provides training and development in the following areas: employee leadership, employee engagement & improvement, guaranteed improvement in the performance of organizations’ sales team and customer service.

Ebong is a leadership and customer service, and small business expert who regularly appears on MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business Channel, NBC and CNN. Ebong is also an accomplished TEDx Speaker, motivational speaker, Huffington Post Small Business Blogger and Office Depot Blogger.

Ebong is also the author of the book, “Start Me Up! — The No-Business-Plan Business Plan”, published by Career Press!