I Gave Myself An Anxiety Attack Because I Tried To Do Too Much
When I first started thinking about this experiment, every idea came into my head. I was going to start a store, consult, blog, public speak, podcast, vlog, and go to every party ever.
I was going to do it all. Because I am an entrepreneur (dammit).
For those of you seeing this post for the first time, it’s part of the Great Canadian Tech Experiment, where I’m blogging through my journey of trying to build a company using only Canadian technology
I was so excited. Nay — elated — at my newfound genius. I’d become a marketing guru in about the 20 minutes it took me to think of all the things I should be doing.
And you know what happened? I got an anxiety attack.
I kept thinking about everything that could go wrong. In my mind I was suddenly spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars (Shopify subscription + inventory + apps, premium blogging subscription + multiple domains, travel + food for public speaking engagements that didn’t pay, camera/mic for podcasting and vlogging. The list goes on).
Suddenly, I had another full-time job between writing, editing, meeting with suppliers, setting up my store, and responding to customer requests (oh, and finding customers).
It was painful. I nearly quit. All because I had good ideas.
That’s when I realized: Grand ideas are bullshit.
They don’t get you anywhere. They especially don’t help you take action. They sit, gold and shiny on the shelf… in the bathroom, collecting dust. Like Kate Winslet’s Oscar.
So what did I do? I parsed out my project and then started talking to people only about the first section, being the idea for the experiment.
My grand idea of being a tech whiz got boiled down to being a blogger, to start.
I told some friends I was looking to write more about the Canadian tech ecosystem and see if I can build a company using only Canadian technology. That was it. No grand idea. No podcasting, vlogging guru here.
Suddenly, the ideas started flowing.
I’m a consultant, if you believe my resume, so I brought in some frameworks to help organize my thoughts. My friends saw that framework, and instantly started asking me why I hadn’t written about subject A or B yet (ok, hyperbole a bit — they asked if I thought writing about subject A or B would be in line with my goals. I said yes, meekly).
This is how I set up my initial posts. This was the push I needed to get going. If you can believe it, I hadn’t even bought the domain of thegreatcanadiantechexperiment.com before I started planning my guru-dom.
But now, with a few blog posts to write an a couple friends who actually said they’d read them (god bless friends), I had work to do — and I needed a place to showcase that work. That’s how the website got started (and my sob story about needing to use WordPress because no Canadian alternatives exist and/or are findable).
It really can be that simple, folks. If you’re stressing about your big idea, break it down into parts and only talk about the first part.
I take an adage from Reinventing Organizations, one of the best books I’ve ever read — “Think 30 years ahead, and plan for tomorrow”
What are you going to do tomorrow that will make you the person you want to be in 30 years?