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12 of 100 – Why Am I So Panicked

Entrepreneurship plays on my most primitive emotions. I plan out my week. I work to keep myself and my team organized. I work to run my business like a real business.

Then something unexpected happens and my first response is PANIC. It could be something as simple as a key client reporting a customer service issue. It could be the delay of a payment I was planning to use to cover expenses. It can be that key employee reports not he cannot come in for work when customer deadlines are tight. My instinct is to jump into fight or flight mode.

If I explore that, it's driven by something very primitive in me. I'm like my caveman ancestors unexpectedly encountering a wild animal that threatens him or his family. It hits me at my fear of annihilation.

I got my last corporate job through a friend that referred to one of his coworkers. Prior to us working there, we were both on our own. We'd run into each other in the hall and ask each other, "How are you doing?" The pat response was, "Getting a paycheck every two weeks." We had both gone from the unpredictability of running our business to something that rarely forces you into that panic response I describe here.

Setting aside the fact that corporate America ended up laying me off (a few times), the perceived security of that steady paycheck gives you some sort of emotional stability. Once you gain experience doing your job and understand your environment, the worry of "am I doing OK" goes away. Other things may unsettle you, but it's not on the scale I experience now.

I met a fellow business owner for coffee a few weeks back and we were discussing what we had done before. We both as if by reflex said, "I don't want to go back there."

I really enjoy what I do now. Running my own business is here to stay. But I have to battle my insides. I have to relax and hold off that panic response. When I think about it and stay level headed, things have a way of working themselves out.

I'm going to be alright.