Our mind is the biggest barrier to success - it tells us that we are not good enough, or we're not ready for a challenge. Because of our minds, we give up too easily. Being an entrepreneur is about learning to ignore your doubts. Occasionally, we just need to trust, and jump.
According to Mind, a mental health charity, one in five adults suffers from anxiety. It can be crippling and debilitating, but it can be controlled. You should probably consult a doctor if you have severe panic attacks, but low, to moderate anxiety can be controlled. Try exercise, food, mindfulness, and hobbies, all of which can boost productivity and help make a lifelong business dream a reality.
Here are some suggestions to help you stop saying ‘no’ to opportunities, and to give you the confidence to break past your mental barriers and keep going, or even start, a business.
What you eat
It sounds a little mad, but what you eat can have a serious impact on your mood. Foods that make you buzz, and generally feel a lot more positive, are what you should be eating while trying to drive creative thought. Green leafy foods like kale are a godsend, while dark chocolate, oily nuts, and other nutrient-rich foods will release dopamine and give you a buzz. Omega 3 rich foods are also super helpful at boosting brainpower - eat salmon, trout, and mackerel for the best results.
Drinking to control anxiety is not a permanent solution, but a study has shown that having a slight alcohol buzz can boost creative functions. If you’ve had a particularly stressful day at work, studies have shown that having a glass of red while jotting down some ideas.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, everyone knows that doing exercise is a good thing. Working out increases endorphin production, which in turn can lead to increased positivity. Exercise has been shown to also increase self-esteem, so doing a quick workout or going for a run before doing a pitch will work wonders. Studies have shown that those who exercise until exhausted on exercise bikes and then do a simple problem are much more receptive than those who have sat quietly and are then given the same problem.
Exercise could help you overcome a mental block, so even if you struggle to fit an exercise regime into your busy life, it will help in the long run. Nicki Cresswell, a wellness coach, says: "Find time in your day to eat healthy, rehydrate and get fresh air. Use scheduled break times to undertake some physical activity. Exercise relieves tension, releasing feel-good endorphins. If you’re less stressed, you may have more energy for fun activities outside of work. Regular breaks will improve your focus when it comes to concentrated periods of work. Implement rules on when best to contact you out of hours. If your employees know you will not be checking emails and texts at advised times they won’t expect you to interrupt your time with family and friends."
Go offline when you can
It can feel overwhelming when you’re online all the time. Taking the time to go offline occasionally can put your day-to-day in perspective. If you’re on Twitter, it can feel like everyone you follow is making it big. Go on other social media and it seems the whole world can afford to travel or take a holiday. Perhaps that’s inspirational, but for many, social media creates negative feelings that aren’t easily dispelled, especially if you need to spend hours each evening building a business. Plus, social media can be enormously distracting. Think of all the time you’ll reclaim if you switch off. Anything that gives you more mindspace to boost your chances of making it and breaking through, should be tried.
Entrepreneur Howard Lewis, founder of OFFLINE suggests making time in the middle of other activities to increase your headspace: "A three day business trip should, if at all possible, include an hour or two at a gallery or, frankly, a zoo. Open your eyes and ears and start living an offline life!"