While many entrepreneurial personalities are hailed for the success of their company, a huge chunk languishes in the misery of their thoughts.

Heart-wrenching articles like ‘when death feels like a good option, by Ben Huh (Cheezburger CEO) coupled with the uneventful demise of Jody Sherman (Ecomom Founder) and Ilya Zhitomirskiy (Diaspora Co-founder) highlight the grim reality that entrepreneurs have to go through to scale their businesses.

While working for yourself can be a dream come true, studies indicate that entrepreneurs are more susceptible to stress related disorders leading to anxiety, depression and more.

In light of these poignant facts, I’m going to relay to you the signs that you should be on the lookout for in your entrepreneurial life and how to combat them to ease your anxiety.

5 Signs of Anxiety to Watchout in Your Entrepreneurial Career

Anxiety is a common denominator affecting the human species in this day and age, more so for entrepreneurs. Running a business encompasses many things, especially in its initial stages, when you have to be on top of everything as you scale.  

The rate at which entrepreneurs experience stress-related disorders is mind-boggling. While it may not be a new trend, taking care of anxiety should be your priority because if left unchecked, it can transcend to a more gruesome experience affecting not only your business but your family.

Signs to be aware of;

  1. Obsessed
  2. Overplanning
  3. Deteriorating physical health
  4. Restlessness/Constant worry
  5. Ignoring the necessity
  1. Obsessed

When you find yourself deliberating on something to such an extent that it plagues your mind then there is cause for alarm.

Character of an obsessed person

While meticulosity can be passed on as obsession, the below traits should reveal if you’re an obsessive person;

  1. Rigidity

Same as personal development, professional development stands at risk when you’re too rigid and cannot fathom an inclination to conform to other methods of doing things. Often confined in your cage of thoughts, fixated on a particular methodology at the expense of losing anything and everything.

  1. Dichotomous thinking

Everything you perceive is simply black and white and no grey area in between often clustered as leaving nothing to chance. While organization structures are often implied to be bullet proof, however, having the inability to see beyond your own set standards is a red flag. 

This becomes detrimental in case there is an opinion that challenges your set standards and always meets the suggestions with a lot of resistance and anger. This all-or-nothing set of guidelines gives you the element of control and becomes frustrating if they’re not met leading to dismissal.

  1. You’re always right

When only your perception and method are correct without having the logic and evidence to back it up, is a clear indication, things aren’t good. Relationships, be it professional or personal, suffer a great deal when you have the inability to shift your attitude.

  1. Interpreting criticism as an Attack’

An obsessive person perceives criticism as an attack on their perceived standard, given that they have a low threshold to get hurt. To counter such a scenario, they often remain indecisive, exercise caution, or take a long time before making a decision. 

  1. Overplanning

Overplanning occurs when you try to account for everything, by speculating on what could go wrong rather than what’s likely to go wrong. 

This leads to;

  • Exclusively complicated process
  • Planning for the wrong thing
  • Wasting time
  • Losing clarity

Your plan should cover strategic, tactical, operational, and contingency factors. Having to over plan you are at risk of increasing stress, as you tend to overthink and worry a lot.

Signs you’re overplanning;

  1. Insomnia

A definitive plan is clearly laid out in stages and brainstorming and tackling each stage at a time as you learn and adjust is an efficient way to set out on a plan, but if for one reason and other you lack sleep because of your plan, then clearly you must be obsessing over irrelevant issues that will make little to no impact on the plan. The ‘what if’ question to determine as many variations as possible will simply derail you and cause you more anguish.

  1. Freakout over the small things

Having the understanding that no plan is bulletproof and even the best-laid plans can go awry, it is prudent to create a flexible plan that you’ll be able to improvise to circumvent any hindrance that may arise.

  1. Scared of change 

If you encounter even the slightest curveball and you’re in an uproar, this could mean that you’ve over-planned and you’ve left out the key ingredient in a plan; adaptability to the situation. As it’s often stated, change is inevitable, and companies are often vested in crafting a new and better method of doing things. While laying out your plan, it’s fundamental to ensure that your plan is adaptable to change.

  1. Planning without action

If you tend to over plan, it can also be an indication that you’re afraid of implementing what you’ve come up with by infusing minute assumptions that have no chance of even actualizing. This Can be evident if you plan a lot but have little to show for it.

  1. Physical Health Deterioration

Besides the cognitive and emotional strain caused by anxiety, your physical health is also at risk. 

Signs that you may experience physical health deterioration include; 

  • infections and frequent colds 
  • Grinding teeth and clenched jaw 
  • Headaches 
  • Rapid heartbeat and chest pains 
  • Tense muscle, body aches and pains 
  • Stomach upset 
  • Low energy 
  • Low libido 
  • Dry mouth and swallowing difficulty  
  1. Restlessness

This is the discomposure caused by one or several events making it hard for you to concentrate on a given task.

Signs of restlessness are;

  1. Being on edge

This is very common when you’re waiting for a very important conference call with investors or a company tour where you’ll need all things to be crisp and up to par with the expectation. You may find yourself on edge before that big encounter.

  1. Impatience

Entrepreneurs are always on the verge of making the next big move or expecting the growth after a move that you expect to break even sooner rather than later. When things don’t work out as planned, negative emotions may crop in making you easily prone to anger and irritability.

  1. Lack of Concentration

When your body is in a fight-or-flight mode, in anticipation of a threat, your focus diminishes and even the basic task can be hard to maneuver.

  1. Irritability 

A tendency to lash out, causing your temper to flare, especially when you’re impatient and can’t concentrate.

  1. Losing Sight of What’s Important

Bombarded with the ingredients that cause anxiety including, restlessness, obsession, and impatience, you’ll find yourself avoiding the key fundamental basics to free yourself of the anxiety and stress. 

Cocooned in your melee of thoughts and ‘busyness’ with the assumption that you’re deliberating and planning for your business. You end up in the quicksand of anxiety problems and troubles – not freeing the time to seek guidance from a professional who will aid you in managing your anxiety and stress-related disorders. 

While in yesteryears, entrepreneurs bore the armour of ‘I’ve got this figured out’ is long gone and more are seeking out for assistance. It’s evident through Shikhar Ghosh research that entrepreneurs go through a lot with 95% of startups falling short of their initial projection and three out of four, prone to fail.  

Dealing with issues like lost customers, partner disputes, staffing problems, payroll and increased competition can be hectic for an entrepreneur. A prolonged and chronic stress disorder can be severe and detrimental to both your life and the company’s productivity. 

Solution to Your Entrepreneurial Anxiety

Anxiety disorders often require a specialized approach to treat with combined modalities. But here are some practises that you can work or with a professional stress management coach to support you…

  • Practising relaxation techniques (like deep breathing)
  • Addressing the root cause 
  • Exercise  
  • Avoiding stimulants (such as caffiene)
  • Maintaning a healthy sleep schedule and diet

As you strive to build the next billion-dollar company, you’re now aware of the downside of an entrepreneurial venture, be proactive and take precautions early enough.