This week, I define the concept of visibility anxiety after having 3 separate clients bring up this feeling. While anxiety is often a normal part of our lives, visibility anxiety comes from a heightened awareness of new eyes on us in a new way, whether it’s quantity of eyes or the quality of someone’s view. From high profile interviews to probing questions from friends, avoiding the cyclone of visibility anxiety will help you live a successful entrepreneurial life without unnecessary stress and fatigue.
In this episode, I cover
- [01:46] Defining visible anxiety and identifying the situations where it will most likely arise for entrepreneurs
- [06:09] Resisting the emotions of visible anxiety and the cyclone that continuously makes anxiety worse
- [08:41] Anxious reactions of fleeing or fighting in an anxious situation and how it can take away from the growth of increased visibility
- [11:18] Acknowledging the visible anxiety, naming it, and identifying what’s happening underneath that’s causing that anxiety
- [17:32] Explaining where my personal moments of visibility anxiety have come up and giving you the tools to embrace mindset exercises like this in The Residency
Recognizing and acknowledging the anxiet
The worst part, in my opinion, of visibility anxiety is recognizing that it’s happening in the first place. We tell ourselves that things are fine and that we’re overreacting, that we don’t know why something is stressing us out and that it shouldn’t be making us feel anxious at all. However, when we take a second to evaluate ourselves and to get in touch with our bodies, it becomes clear that our anxiety and our inability to acknowledge it is exhausting us.
“There is an upper limit and an additional stretch that happens around this dollar mark when you’re increasing the volume of eyes on you, or you are increasing the depth that someone knows or understands you as an entrepreneur.”
Understanding the pressure you’re putting yourself under
Anxiety is hard enough without invalidating why you’re feeling anxious, but many of my clients fall into the vicious cycle of telling themselves that they shouldn’t feel anxious at all, which only succeeds in making them more anxious. When you refuse to see the pressure you put on yourself, you can’t stop the cycle from continuing. “I shouldn’t feel anxious because,” is a lie we tell ourselves, when there’s plenty of reasons to feel anxious about increased visibility.
“It’s the resistance of emotion that is creating the anxiety. It’s not seeing that what’s happening is you’re having anxiety about the new levels of visibility, and shoving it to the side, that creates this ongoing anxiety pattern.”
Discovering what’s underneath the anxiety and the pressure
Your friend is shocked at the money you’re making, or an interviewer in a podcast you’re recording asks you about your metrics of success, and afterwards, your anxiety is through the roof. When we stop to dive deep and ask why, you might come up with the same feelings you’ve been trying to avoid from previous experiences: feeling invalidated, unworthy, and unsettled. Even if the smallest emotions are behind it, visibility anxiety is still valid.
“It’s really challenging, actually, I think for entrepreneurs who are in it to realize that their success is the thing that’s causing their anxiety, or is the thing that is connected to their anxiety.”
Examining your thoughts around this entire experience
It is not your job to make yourself feel worse about the anxiety you feel, and beating yourself up about visibility anxiety will only succeed in driving you away from opportunities for your business to be visible. I liken this entire experience to coming up to the surface after scuba diving; coming up too fast leads to too much of a pressure shift and can make you sick. When you’re coming up to a visible moment in your career, take it slow and check in frequently with how you’re physically feeling and with what thoughts those feelings are inspiring.
“It might just be nerves, but your job is to look at them without judging them. Look at them, and give yourself compassion and care over them, and not judge them.”
The Residency is a 12-month, cohort-based program specifically built to help first-generation entrepreneurs gain the business acuity and mental-emotional maturity to build their next high-impact, high-profit asset…and whatever else they want for the rest of their lives. Join the email list HERE to get application details for the next cohort.
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