I’ve been anxious! …and this is what I do about it.

You probably view me as strong and confident. These are the two words most people use to describe me. I would probably use sensitive and introspective. This seems completely contradictory, and I guess most likely a case of both/and.

Last week I wrote to you about how we can trick our brain into believing we’re excited when we’re actually nervous, and not a day later I was faced with a real-life opportunity to test this out. 

At first, I will admit, it doesn’t work to just try and convince yourself that you’re feeling one thing when you know you’re feeling something completely different. I think we are so used to gaslighting ourselves with positive thinking, sucking it up, not sweating the small stuff, and telling ourselves things are ok when they aren’t. Let’s get honest with ourselves here… the positive thinking isn’t working anymore, and perhaps it never did. 

Before I drift off onto a tangent, and we all know I love me a long and winding tangent, I wanted to share a vulnerable story about when I was most recently faced with anxiety and how pretending I was excited didn’t work, but what actually did…

I’ve been preparing a workshop for the last few months; it’s been in the pipeline and I’ve been slowly forming the pieces together before delivering this idea out into the world. My partner is a brilliant marketer and owns a digital marketing consultancy, and so with his comforting hand, he insisted we go big with this idea and launch it with Facebook ads! I honestly think the reason this idea has taken a few months to come to fruition is because of the potential that Facebook ads bring with them… trolls!

The last time I ran Facebook ads a few painful things happened, I created a beautiful workshop called Beloved which was to guide her participants to reconcile their regrets from the past, bringing them into the present so that they can move forward with their dreams and goals without the weight of should have’s and could have’s – I’m realising the irony of this as a write… I talked about my beloved Beloved all over the internet, I prepared gorgeous guiding processes to support the experience over 3 days. I poured my spirit and soul into the teachings that I planned to offer and thought through each detail from the writing to the imagery, the music, the dates, everything. And no one joined. I had not one person choose to walk with me, and now looking back I realise I needed the support of my Beloved workshop probably more than anyone else. It was painful, I pulled back, I thought no one would want to invest with me. I thought I probably didn’t know enough, I didn’t do enough, the bubble had burst, and the magic was lost. And from there I began to create a meaningless company modeled off industry greats who have turned out to be more full of hot air than their 1 M balloon posts on Instagram. 

I took some time off to assess (not even reassess), what it is that I want, how I want to create the company, how I want to serve and support, how I want to lead my legacy, how I want to craft my mission success… and here I am. Mostly shaking in my boots afraid of the cast of Karen’s that live in my mind spewing unhelpful rhetoric about “no one will pay for this…” “Are you even qualified…” “Why are you charging in dollars…” and so on, and so forth. 

So no, when I was on a call last week briefing my partner’s team for the Facebook ad campaign I am about to launch, as that excitement began to shift into anxiety, I was not able to tell myself I was excited when I wasn’t. As we discussed the ideal target audience, I realized that I would be putting my name out there again, and there was a good chance it wouldn’t work again. There’s a good chance some real-life Karen’s come out of the woodwork and ask whether I am qualified, why I charge in dollars, and query why I am charging when so many people battle with anxiety – shouldn’t it be free? 

As I began to realize the symptoms of anxiety thwarting through my body… I felt agitated and defensive, I literally began to shift in my chair. I could sense my breathing quicken as I fidgeted with my hair and wrung my hands together… I couldn’t tell myself I was excited anymore – so what did I do??

I began to share how I felt. I said out loud I feel really anxious about this, I am afraid that people won’t join and that we will waste all this money. I explained that I was scared that people would say negative things about me and the workshop… and as I began to bring these feelings from the depths of an unconscious program, and consciously articulate them, the shame of what I was feeling began to dissipate. The sensations of anxiety started to dribble out of my nervous system. I could feel myself come back to neutral. 

“I didn’t think I’ve ever had anxiety Sabrina until you read the landing page,” said one of the team. “It’s good for you to acknowledge that you also experience anxiety, that way people know they can trust you to know what they’re going through.” said another.

It became clear that people need this work more than I need to feel safe from the Karen’s of the world.