Momentum Podcast: 96
In The Absence Of Priority There Is Panic
by Alex Charfen
Last week, I had massive, overwhelming anxiety. Here's why, I was sick. I was actually sick from before the 1st of July, until about Saturday or Sunday, so over seven days.
Entrepreneurial panic is real and it can come out of nowhere. As evolutionary hunters, we are compelled to go forward, achieve, and create new outcomes in the world. We are hardwired to create momentum and anything else makes us feel like we are standing in place.
When we don’t create the momentum in progress we want in the world, we can feel the panic of the motivation we naturally have, not having anywhere to go. If you are an entrepreneur and you’ve never felt the panic of not knowing where to go next, you are fortunate.
Use the strategies in this podcast to make sure things stay that way. If you have, you will be shocked at how easy it is to take the feelings of entrepreneurial overwhelm and turn them into confidence.
Full Audio Transcript
Welcome to the Momentum podcast. This episode is In the Absence of Priority, There is Panic. Entrepreneurial panic, panic attacks, overwhelm, anxiety. Those are all real. We are that small percentage of the population that has been programed, pre-programed, like we are hardwired to create momentum, go forward, make progress, make things happen in the world. And because we are this small population that has this engine that doesn't turn off ... like you ask any entrepreneur, "Can you turn it off?", and they'll tell you no. When that energy, that force, that push forward, that innate motivation we have doesn't have a logical next priority to go to, we can panic.
Just a few weeks ago I was on a call with a client of mine. She has multiple businesses. They're all doing well. All told, they're almost eight figures together. We got on the phone, and I said, "How are things going?", and we had our initial pleasantries. Then she said, "You know, Alex, I feel like I'm so overwhelmed, it's almost like I'm panicking two or three times a day, and then I have to look at everything and calm myself down." I said, "It sounds like you don't really have your priorities outlined." We were on a Zoom call, so she looked at the screen and had this realization and she said, "You know, you're right. I have all these businesses and I don't know what the most important thing to do in each one next is, and that's causing me anxiety."
Well, that is the very definition of anxiety for entrepreneurs, when we don't know what to do next. In fact, we have this content that I share with managers, with leaders, with you. You should understand this. It's called the overwhelm equation. See, overwhelm, entrepreneurial panic is simple. It is pressure and noise. You add an unknown outcome, and you get overwhelm. Let me explain that.
So first, pressure and noise. In our lives when we get pressured, when we get noise, when we have too much going on, when there's too many different priorities, when people are pulling at our attention, when people want our time, that causes pressure and noise. And if we have an unknown outcome ... in other words, we don't know our next step, we don't know where we're going, we don't know what we can do next to achieve the hunt, to win, to move forward, to create momentum.
Remember, we're evolutionary hunters. You know and I know that there's a part of you that is innate. It's not something you developed, it's not something you created. That motivation to go, that press forward, that innate motivation that doesn't even really need a reason to be there is just there, that's who we are.
When we get too much pressure and noise and we don't know our next moves, we have an unknown outcome, an unknown next step, we get overwhelm, panic, anxiety, call it whatever you want. There's plenty of fancy names for it now. There's so many names they can now assign multiple drugs to you when this happens to you.
But here's how easy it is to take overwhelm and find confidence. On the flip side of overwhelm is confidence, and here's what you do to turn it into confidence. You take your pressure and noise and an unknown outcome, which creates overwhelm, and you sit down and clarify today, create a partially known outcome, and you will have confidence. Write it down. Clarify today, partially known outcome equals confidence. Add those two together and you have confidence.
Here's what that means. Clarify today: You sit down and write out all the things that are taking your attention, all the things that are causing pressure and noise. What are the things in your life that are making you feel overwhelmed, and just keep writing. Don't stop until you look at the sheet of paper or sheets of paper and feel like okay, I've got it. This is what I'm doing, this is where I'm going, this is what's going on in my life.
Then sit down and go through a simple exercise just for the sake of removing the overwhelm in the moment, prioritize the list that you have, decide what the absolute first most important thing is. You will create a partially known outcome because you'll know your first next few steps, and I want you to watch as that feeling of overwhelm melts away, and the feeling of confidence emerges in its place.
Because so often as entrepreneurs, when we are overwhelmed, it's because that innate motivation, that energy we have as entrepreneurial hunters, that drive that turns on and can't turn off, is trying to find an outlet. It's trying to find a place to go. It's trying to find where it's going to push you next, where it's going to take you next, where it's going to compel you forward. And if we can't understand what our next steps are, if we don't see a clear path, that innate motivation will cause that anxiety, that overwhelm, that pressure and noise that we all feel, and it can hit any of us at any time.
If you've never had an anxiety attack or been overwhelmed completely or had that feeling of not being able to take your next steps, then you're fortunate as an entrepreneur. You can fight it by making sure you always know where you're going. You clarify today and you have a partially known outcome. All of the systems that our organization teaches entrepreneurs do exactly this. They keep you very clear on today, and they give you the steps to get to your longterm outcome so that you don't ever get in that place of feeling stuck, anxiety, anxious, and overwhelm.
This is what it feels like for people like us. We're evolutionary hunters. We are physiologically sensitive, momentum-based beings. If there's a condition in our lives that's causing us to feel overwhelmed, if there's a condition in our lives where we don't see our next steps, where we feel constraint, where we might even feel stuck, we might even be in full constraint.
The feeling of overwhelm, the feeling of anxiety might not set in right away. You might be able to go a couple of days and outpace the lack of organization, the lack of priorities that you have, but then what happens is ... and by the way, this can happen in any situation. You can be walking into a building, you can be going into your office, you can be getting home. You can be walking out to the parking lot where your car is, and suddenly there's this overwhelming feeling of anxiety. Little heart palpitations, maybe a rapid heart beat. There's this feeling of what do I do next? Where should I be? What am I doing? And it can just feel completely and totally overwhelming.
We're on vacation, and Cadey actually had a very brief but very real moment like this yesterday. She was talking to our bookkeeper. She had tried to make a couple of phone calls really quickly so that she could get things done and we could go on vacation, and she realized there was just too many things floating around for her that weren't prioritized. So she sat down, took about 25 minutes, made a list, wrote it out as much as she possibly could in her Momentum planner, prioritized what was important next, and that feeling of panic, that feeling of overwhelm, that feeling of having too much, that feeling of not being able to see your next steps, went away.
Here's what's so important for you as an entrepreneurial personality type, as an evolutionary hunter: You don't need to know how the story ends to make overwhelm go away, you just need to know your next few steps in the hunt. So if you're feeling anxious, or if you don't feel like you have as much momentum as you should, or if you haven't felt that drive pushing you in the right direction, you feel like it's just been pushing you but you don't know which way to go, sit down right now and go through this exercise. Take your overwhelm, which again, is pressure and noise in an unknown ... Pressure and noise plus an unknown outcome equals overwhelm.
Go through the exercise. Clarify today. Sit down right now, write down all the things that are taking your time. Write down everything that's taking your effort, your energy, your focus. What are you spending your money on? What are the things that are coming up next? Write them all down. It doesn't matter how big the list is, because when you start prioritizing, you will get to the point where you know what your next few steps are, and that in and of itself will take you from overwhelm to confidence, will take you from feeling constrained to feeling like you're moving forward, will take you to feeling like you're stuck in place to feeling the momentum of the entrepreneurial personality type.
We are physiologically sensitive, momentum-based beings who are highly reactive to constraint. When we clear that constraint by sitting down and creating priorities, we can't help but put ourselves and our lives back into momentum. And if you're sitting there thinking can it really be this easy? Can it really make such a huge difference? Try me.
I've been working with entrepreneurs for a long time, and I've been in so many situations where an entrepreneur's been overwhelmed to the point of feeling sick, or overwhelmed to the point of feeling fatigued, or exhausted or panicked or heart palpitations or trouble breathing or chest pains or twitchy eyes or headaches or fuzzy vision, fuzzy peripheral vision, brain fog, irritation, reactivity, irritability.
All of these things come from feeling overwhelmed, not knowing where we're going to go. The overwhelm that we feel in the world shows up in our body as these symptoms, and it's shocking how every one of them has been able to not just be made better, but be driven away through the simple act of clarifying today, getting everything out on the table, prioritizing, and understanding what to do next.
As an entrepreneurial personality type, I believe your natural state of existence is being in momentum. You know what this feels like. It's that feeling when the world is following in your wake, when you're getting what you want done, when you're accomplishing, when you're achieving, when you're moving towards your greater goal, when you're making the outcomes that you want in the world happen, when you are making things, or when you are creating things that are moving the world forward, when you are making an impact, making a contribution, making money, that's when we feel most alive. That's when we are in the momentum, and I believe that is our natural state of existence.
So don't let anyone tell you that flow or momentum or that feeling of getting things done and making things happen is a temporary condition for people like us. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, that is when we feel most alive. That is when we are most alive, and that is how we should be all of the time.
So after you sit down and create your list and get everything out on the table and clarify today and prioritize your few next steps, and you feel that confidence ... and I know you will. Don't just take my word for it. Grab a sheet of paper and do this. You will see your entire impression of where you are in the world right now change.
Then, once you've done that, go to momentumwebclass.com and check out the Momentum Master class. It is a course all about putting the systems in your life that do this for you on a daily basis without you having to think about it. What would it be like if you woke up every morning knowing exactly what your priorities were for that day, and what would it be like if you knew that what you were going to do that day, the tasks, the activities, the calls, the energy you were going to spend that day, 100% of it was going to contribute to your greater goals, to the outcomes you want to see in the world, to the change you want to make on this planet? That is one of the most powerful feelings of entrepreneurial confidence you can get.
And if you want to get into and live in momentum, go to momentumwebclass.com and join me. Let me show you the systems and strategies that multimillionaire business owners use on a daily basis to manage their teams, grow their impact, grow their influence, make a massive contribution, generate incredible amounts of wealth, and stay in momentum. Momentumwebclass.com. Thanks for being her with me today. I look forward to talking to you again soon.