Have you ever thought of anxiety as a creativity thief? I am not talking about lightbulb_in_box_pc_400_wht_2836concerns, I am talking about the wake up in the middle of the night can’t think about anything else anxiety. As a business owner, I understand anxiety, and more importantly, I see it when I talk to my clients.

So what are we so afraid of?

Typically we feel threatened by the unknown. I hear questions like:

  • What do I do with social media?
  • How can I compete with all the online options available?
  • Am I spending my marketing dollars the right way?
  • How can I generate more leads? More business?
  • How can I possibly produce enough content?

And the list goes on.

Anxiety causes a physiological response

You may be familiar with “fight” or “flight” terminology. Basically our bodies respond to fear, the part of our brain called the amygdala, this is the part of our brain responsible for managing our emotions.

When we are anxious, the amygdala takes over and our bodies produce adrenalin preparing for the fight or flight. When this happens our ability to reason is significantly diminished.

So basically when we need to think creatively, our physical response can be working against us.

Isn’t any response better?

Not necessarily. When the adrenalin is pumping it’s easy to feel our only option is what’s commonly called a fools choice. These choices are often all or nothing responses.

At the extremes we may do absolutely nothing or may rash decisions we’ll later regret.

What are some alternatives?

Here are a few suggestions that have helped me.

  • Don’t isolate yourself, connect with others; challenges have a way of driving us to isolation as we attempt to work our way out of the situation. Don’t just connect with those in your industry.
  • Be curious, ask a lot of questions; this can be especially enlightening when applied to internal stakeholders and customers.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Experiment. Try some new things without completely overhauling a system or process.
  • Try making incremental changes. Too often we fall into the “all or nothing” trap, or at least I do. Many times a series of small incremental steps contributes to more effective substantial changes. These are more manageable and typically incur less risk too.

Don’t let fear keep you from taking the first steps

If I could impart one idea it would be this, we seldom view staying the course as risky. It’s familiar, it’s working, etc. etc. you can add to the list. But what if it only feels safe because of these factors. Technology and the Internet are driving changes in consumer behaviors at unprecedented rates. Now is the time to learn and explore, because many of these changes offer significant advantages for those willing to learn and experiment.

What do you think?