How to Deal with Anxiety As a Freelancer

Austin L. Church
January 24, 2017
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When you run your own business, you have ample opportunity to feel anxious…What if you don't get the project? What if the client is disappointed in the work and you have to redo everything? What if you can't pay your bills? What if harpies from Greek mythology show up at your house and steal your food? What if you end up destitute?All those "What Ifs" can kill your productivity. You waste your time and energy mind-tripping about what might go wrong instead of maintaining ruthless focus on what you can control.Yes, anxiety is the enemy and antithesis of productivity, yet once that it has talons in your shoulder, it is hard to shake off. In order to thrive as a freelancer (as a human, really), you must learn how to deal with anxiety.[caption id="attachment_2127" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

how to deal with anxiety

Photo Credit: Toa Heftiba via Unsplash[/caption]

How to Deal with Anxiety

You can sit there like a terrified kid watching the shadows of robbers, shadows, and boogeymen dance across the wall. Or you can choke down your anxiety, throw off the covers, and turn on the lights.Try this exercise: Allow yourself to think about the very worst thing that can happen. Mind-trip into your worst nightmare…

  • You don't get the project.
  • Your business doesn’t receive that much-needed transfusion of cash.
  • You overdraw your checking account.
  • You must cannibalize your savings account to make up the difference.
  • Without any savings, you're now living paycheck to paycheck.
  • You watch from the outside as other people enjoy the kind of success that you want.
  • Another client disappointed with your work loses patience. She fires you.
  • Your pride is hurt, and you are embarrassed. You are also angry that he didn’t acknowledge the part he played in micromanaging you, being very slow to make decisions, and constantly changing his plans.
  • Your reputation as an artist and professional suffers.
  • You lose your mojo.
  • Freelancing dries up altogether.
  • Desperate for cash, you take a job delivering pizzas.
  • You can’t replace your income fast enough, and you’re late on several bills.
  • You now have to pay penalties on top of what you originally owed.
  • You lose your house.
  • You declare bankruptcy.
  • People you thought were friends keep their distance.
  • You are broke and alone.

All of this sounds terrible. None of these events will kill you, and most of them are unlikely to happen in the near future—if at all.

  • You can and will survive.
  • You have enough bravery to face the day.
  • You have enough time and energy to accomplish the most important tasks.
  • You have enough strength to endure.
  • There's dignity in delivering pizzas.

So gather all of your bravery, slip out from underneath the covers, and look under the bed.Flip on the lights, and open the closet.Go there. Once you see it for what it is—a dirty t-shirt, not a true threat—you'll know how to deal with anxiety. You can take a step back and remember that the vast majority of bad things never happen, and many, many good things that you never anticipated do.Lastly, if you found value in this blog post, please sign up for my weekly newsletter. I’ll send helpful freelancing tips your way.