Category: <span>Women empowerment</span>

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5 Actionable Steps to Overcome Fear and Anxiety

Fear is a powerful emotion that we all experience in our lives, and it is something that can be very challenging to deal with, but you can learn how to overcome fear and anxiety.

When we are pursuing a new experience, like a new job opportunity, relationship, or starting a business, fear can hold us back. It can make us see challenges as insurmountable or make us over-prepare to the point that it slows our growth.

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Fear and Anxiety

Quote: Every time your fear is invited up, every time you recognize it and smile at it, your fear will lose some of its strength

“Every time your fear is invited up, every time you recognize it and smile at it, your fear will lose some of its strength.”

Thich Nhat Hanh 

The best way to deal with fear is to face it. In facing it, you get to see if the story you made up around the issue is true or what you may be lacking to help you move forward. The more we avoid the problem, the more anxiety we consequently cause around it. For example, if you are constantly thinking about whether you will do well on an upcoming exam, you can’t sleep. The consequent exhaustion then triggers even more anxiety because you can’t concentrate and study, further impacting your sleep– and just like that, the worry has just become a debilitating cycle, confirming your worst fear- you won’t be ready for the exam and will fail.

Instead, the goal has to become to lean into the fear so you can disarm it. What if you acknowledged what your worry and fear was in the first place instead of reacting to it. Could we possibly find a better response so it loses some of its strength?

How do fears get in the way of being successful?

Culturally, I’ve been raised to not speak over others, and I think I have this natural resistance to being seen, and it’s my kryptonite that shows up at the wrong time. I can still recall moments sitting “at the table” with people in my profession and listening to them give their opinions on things and wanting to give my two cents but struggling within myself to speak up. 

Fear and anxiety work like that to cripple you within yourself. 

Those experiences can be triggered by various fears like the fear of judgment, failure, or the fear of being alone, and sometimes even the fear of being successful. 

When challenged in that space, it can have this counter-response that looks like overthinking, avoiding opportunities, missed deadlines, low energy, feeling disconnected from your work, procrastination, perfectionism, irritability, or indecisiveness.

How can we overcome fear and anxiety?

Fear is a built in instinct to protect you, so we don’t want to get rid of it, but we do want to help our brains understand the moments we are in fact safe and don’t need that fear reaction. The most effective way to overcome fear, in that case, is to repeatedly do the thing that causes it, but in a safe and controlled way. During this process of exposure, coupled with some skills, you can learn to ride out the anxiety and fear until it naturally subsides.

When the emotion of fear or anxiety seems overwhelming, try to shift your focus to a healthier thought or a skill that will reduce the feelings, so it is more manageable. A stress-reduction approach like mindfulness or simply taking a break and disconnecting from the issue and going for a walk may help you better take the actions you need to be successful. I would also add to be patient and add some compassion into the process. Your mind is working to keep you safe when these responses are triggered. It can’t always tell the action you want to take isn’t a dangerous risk but one you can handle and necessary to improve your current situation.

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How to overcome the fears of growth as a professional

Start by identifying the fears holding you back from reaching your next level. Our thoughts are powerful, but they can be damaging and limiting when building out your dreams. The fear of failure is like the dark cloud that follows most professionals as they work on advancing their careers, especially through entrepreneurship. Rather than simply stopping people from being entrepreneurial, fear of failure can also serve as a motivator for success with a better understanding of your response dynamics. To help you better recognize and challenge your internal reactions to growth we put together some exercises to help you find those fears with the Believe Bigger Workbook available here.

Here are a few prompts from the workbook to challenge your mindset:

  1. Once you’ve identified a few of your fears, can you think of specific experiences from your life that might have formed these fears?
  2. What do you feel is holding you back from more significant success?
  3. Recall a time you were afraid. How did you move past the fear?
  4. Pause for a moment and identify and write about five of your strengths.
5 Actionable steps to overcome fear and anxiety. Prompts and steps to reduce fears and challenge your mindset.

To deepen this practice and find the root of self-sabotaging behaviors, try keeping a journal over a period of two or three weeks. Look for any patterns you notice, the source of those fears (family, culture, financial, criticism, etc), and their validity. Fear is often fed by false stories making your experience seem much worse than it really is.

In Summary:

  1. Lean into your fears. Figure out what it’s about, and if it is valid for the direction you are going.
  2. Practice stress reduction techniques like mindfulness or disconnecting from the source of distress at the moment.
  3. Shift your focus to more positive thoughts or emotions. Use your imagination or visualization to picture that same fearful experience with a positive outcome, and embrace the positive emotions you anticipate feeling with your successful outcome. The control and calm you experience during your visualization can actually help you get through the actual ordeal with more ease.
  4. Challenge your mindset around the fear with journal prompts like the one above and other exploratory resources like the Believing Bigger Workbook for Women in Business.
  5. Practice Compassion. Your mind is only trying to keep you safe.

Related Reads:

How to know if negative thinking is affecting your business

Why do we let ourselves down

At home treatment for children with anxiety

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed therapist, speaker, and Mindset Coach for high achieving women in business. Her joy is addressing mental health on multiple levels from the boardroom to your virtual office.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you decide to buy to support our tea-drinking habits at no cost to you. 

20 Encouraging Quotes From Phenomenal Women of Color

Being authentic is not easy, especially for women. They have to break norms and find the courage to walk the path less traveled while navigating perceptions of what they are capable of being.

“I am not less, because I’m Black. And I am not less, because I’m a Woman.” – Marian Wright

If today is one of those days you are tired of fighting for your value, motivation is running low, or you are just looking for self-assurance, we hope to inspire you with the words of other phenomenal women of color as you continue to create the change you wish to see.

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

To all women who are experiencing inequalities and injustice in the pursuit of their dreams, a few encouraging tips:  

  1. Don’t stay where you are not valued. Think about how much time and energy you are wasting navigating that. Take a breath, and get grounded in your worth.
  2. Money isn’t everything. Your mental health and overall well-being are priceless and your expertise is valuable.
  3. Watch for complacency. It’s like drinking the Kool-Aid in a cult. As much as you dislike the experience and recognize the emotional exhaustion of your current situation, it’s easy to put your needs second and make yourself small for the benefit of the culture.

In whatever season this finds you, I hope these positive quotes by other women of color will help you feel motivated and inspired enough to reconsider your possibilities.

(1)

“It’s time for you to move, realizing that the thing you are seeking is also seeking you.”

— Iyanla Vanzant

(2)

“You can fall, but you can rise also.”

– Angelique Kidjo

(3)

“If you prioritize yourself, you are going to save yourself.”

– Gabrielle Union
Quotes of encouragement for women of color. Prioritize yourself. Dress for success and a great mood.

What I will say is that what I’ve learned for myself is that I don’t have to be anybody else and that myself is good enough; and that when I am being true to that self, then I can avail myself to extraordinary things. You have to allow for the impossible to be possible.

Lupita Nyong’o

Stepping Out In Style

(4)

“Life is short, and it’s up to you to make it sweet.”

– Sadie Delany

(5)

This is your moment. Building courage for women. Women in business coaching.

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”

-Oprah Winfrey

(6)

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

Angela Davis

(7)

A reminder that you are good enough. Your worth is important.

“Am I good enough? Yes I am.”

Michelle Obama

(8)

Empowering quotes. Quote of the day

“Walls turned sideways are bridges.”

Angela Davis

(9)

“The way to win is to try.”

Stacey Abrams

(10)

“Determine to live life with flair and laughter.”

Maya Angelou

(11)

“When the heart is right, the mind and body will follow.”

– Coretta Scott King

(12)

“I got my start by giving myself a start.”

– Madam CJ Walker

(13)

“Only make decisions that support your self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth.”

– Oprah Winfrey

(14)

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

– Maya Angelou

(15)

“You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.”

– Oprah Winfrey

(16)

”Don’t listen to those who say YOU CAN’T. Listen to the voice inside yourself that says, I CAN.”

 – Shirley Chisolm

(17)

“Let nothing dim the light that shines from within.”

– Maya Angelou

(18)

“Be healthy and take care of yourself, but be happy with the beautiful things that make you, you.”

– Beyoncé Knowles
Spring collections?Being what you want!!

(19)

This blog provides inspirational quotes and messages to all young women of color. I

“I am no longer accepting “Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.”

– Janelle Monáe

(20)

“Some of your goals are buried so deep in fear it doesn’t have access to what it needs to grow”

-Amanda Fludd

Did you find at least one encouraging quote that resonates with you? Take that quote and say it out loud to yourself when you need a little encouragement and better yet, share it with other phenomenal women of color. Black women need to feel inspired and encouraged every day.

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Speaker, and Mindset Coach for high-achieving women and professionals venturing into business. Her joy is tackling mental health on multiple platforms and she is available for speaking engagements and training.

Related Reads:

Dismantle The Doubt and Build Your Dreams

How to Follow Through On Your Goals

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission for anything you decide to buy.  We only recommend quality products, but you should do your research before making a purchase.

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15 Quotes to Calm Your Anxiety When Stressed Out

Cheerful stylish African American lady. Able to manage stress and anxiety.  Happy.

These 15 anxiety quotes are meant to encourage you and help calm that feeling of overwhelm when anxious or feeling like life is out of control. Understanding how your mind works and how you talk to yourself when stressed out is key to reducing Anxiety in your life. 

We all have that humble inner voice that tells us what we should be doing with our lives and who we ultimately want to be. Unfortunately, many women push this inner voice aside and instead listen to the one that says things like, “You can’t do this”, “How am I going to make money from this?”, “What will people think of me?” “I feel like a fraud,” “This is too difficult”, and “What if I fail?”. 

That critical voice is like a neon yellow highlighter finding all the negatives. Its presence can be painful, limiting, and paralyzing. What you may not know is it is often connected to anxiety or depression and fuels destructive habits shortchanging your progress, and the progress of the other 40 million adults in the United States alone that are diagnosed with Anxiety or Depression (and that’s just those who know). 

The Thought, Attitude & Action Connection

Anxiety is pretty common, and a hallmark trait is the fear-based worry thoughts that hold women hostage creating doubt, imposter syndrome, and not much action. See your thoughts, attitude and actions are strongly related, and you can take a look at an example of that hereNegative self-talk triggers emotions like worry, anger, or sadness, kicking up a negative or defeated attitude, which then causes you to engage in self sabotaging behaviors with things like procrastination or avoidance. Sounds familiar?

Learning to correct negative thinking patterns and your response starts with understanding the source of these unhelpful stories running around in your mind and beginning to seize control of your inner mean girl. If you want to take a closer look at what this means for you, download the free inner critic workbook to help you calm your inner critic. 

I’m curious, what would you be doing if you didn’t second guess yourself? Or talk yourself out of amazing opportunities? Share those thoughts in the comments below

Retraining Your Brain

As you ponder the impact of your inner mean girl, please note the good news- changes made to your brain by negative thought processes are reversible. While we use strategies based on cognitive behavior therapy to do this with clientsyou can start to do some of this work yourself simply by introducing more positive comments to your life. The research has found the more you engage in positive thought work, the more it stimulates the front of your brain or the pre-frontal cortex- positive self-talk is like a workout for your mind. 

And real talk, reading something positive is just uplifting and is a powerful way to help you feel calm and in control when stress or Anxiety threatens to overwhelm you. 

Managing Stress

Navigating anxiety, stress and overwhelm in the moment is critical. Here are a few ways some of our clients do that:

  1. Embrace mindfulness or regular meditation practice (try apps like stop, breathe, think or calm.com)
  2. Schedule breaks within the day
  3. Brain dump to-do lists and work on the top 3 items at a time instead of being overwhelmed by EVERYTHING on the list
  4. Eat junk free snacks throughout the day to support a consistent mood 
  5. Learn to say “no” and assert boundaries with significant others 

Embracing the positive

Using affirmations, mantras, the above approaches, and working with a therapist or a business mindset coach may be the missing element to fighting against your mind and consistently showing up for your self and your business. As you continue to work on yourself, here are a few positve quotes to get some perspective on your Anxiety and soothe your soul!

Quotes to Navigate Anxiety and Lift Your Spirits

This one is one of my favorites from the Inner Critic Workbook for Ambitious Women:

1. “Thoughts are not facts or realities. They do not define you” ~Amanda Fludd

anxiety, dealing with stress

2. “I give myself permission to suck…I find this hugely liberating” -John Green

3. “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”

—Charles Spurgeon

4. Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot, and you’ll survive whatever is coming. – Robert Tew

5. Smile, breathe, and go slowly. — Thich Nhat Hanh  

6.”You can have it all. Just not all at once.” ~Oprah

And another from the Queen herself: 

7. “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” – Oprah Winfrey

8. “You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits.” – Michael Phelps

  1. “Just believe in yourself. Even if you don’t pretend that you do and, and some point, you will.” Venus Williams

10. “The only person who can stop you from reaching your goals is you.”

— Jackie Joyner-Kersee 

11. “You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.

– Dan Millman

12. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. Isiah 41:10

13. “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” – Roy Bennett

14. “It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” – Mandy Hale

15. “The way you tell your story to yourself matters.” – Amy Cuddy

That said, continue to challenge that inner critic and the mean girl stories it tries to tell you. It’s most likely not true, and you are more powerful than your mind will have you to believe. 

If any of these quotes or parts of this blog resonated with you, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Also, if you like any of the images featured in this post, sharing it through your favorite social media platform like Pinterest or tagging @amanda.fludd on Instagram is appreciated.

Related Articles:

Calming the Anxious Mind

Getting Clear on Goals to Reduce Overwhelm

Ending Self Criticism and Liking Yourself More

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed therapist and coach for high-achieving women. It’s important to note when resolving complex thoughts, it can be challenging, and it is helpful to enlist the support of a therapist or a coach. If you are unsure what you need, reach out, and we can help you figure that out.

Note: There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you decide to buy to support our tea drinking habits at no cost to you. 

Do You Have an Unhealthy Relationship With Your Business?

The Relationship Between Your Business and Your Mindset Can Be Toxic

Entrepreneurs are one of my favorite people because they’ve consciously decided to carve their own paths and take full responsibility for their success. Yet, as creative, driven, and ambitious these phenomenal humans are, they still encounter challenges in their growth that, just like you, they may not realize is an unconscious habit holding them back.

When you eat, sleep, and breathe your business, it’s sometimes hard to see the emotional patterns at play that often contribute to those moments you feel anxious, frustrated, stagnant, or stuck.

Allow me to help you out.

Here are three bad habits that may be compromising your entrepreneurial success:

  1. IGNORING THE INNER BULLY 

Everyone struggles with fear and self-doubt from time to time, and entrepreneurs and young leaders experience these emotions more frequently than others. When our performance and decisions do not meet expectations, our instinct isn’t always compassion and praise but self-criticism. When you say “I can’t” do this or embrace other negative internal dialogue, it flames the fire of imaginary catastrophic situations and leaves you susceptible to limiting beliefs. Negative and self-deprecating thoughts tend to keep getting bigger and ultimately put a wrench in progress if you aren’t intentional with addressing it.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

  1. NOT USING THE RIGHT PEOPLE 

You can’t start [or grow] your business with friends alone. A challenge for most entrepreneurs is recognizing their current circle may not have the knowledge, expertise, or even care to support their growth. No hard feelings towards them, but they can’t help you go to higher levels if they have never experienced that themselves. You may need friends in leadership, marketing friends, investor friends, social media friends… it’s time to diversify your friendships.

The reality is that there’s an entire community of other entrepreneurs behind almost every successful entrepreneur who understands the grind and can expedite your learning curve. The best of us recognize that we genuinely can’t do it by ourselves or with our walking friends.

  1. BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL AND DOING IT ALL

Let’s face it, work is never-ending, especially when success is dependent on you, and more often, that pressure can trigger our over-achieving perfectionism and push us onto the path of exhaustion. Burnout is real in this arena, and so is frustration with the hustle, stress, and losing the connection to why you started in the first place. That’s usually when coaching clients come to me when they don’t even know why they are working so hard anymore, and the stress and anxiety are overwhelming. What’s usually very evident is poor boundaries.

A good strategy I recommend is to commit to taking a few minutes each day to reboot your brain and reenergize your body. Most people ignore the importance of taking time away from their desks or implementing a hard stop time when doing work (or working from home).

When was the last time you took a weekend off?

The barriers between work and personal life can blur for many ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs, but the word is balance. I am the most creative and inspired when I take intentional breaks and travel, read, ambush my kids with nerf guns, engage in focused breathing exercises, or just nap.

A quick workaround here is to schedule time for fun just as you would professional tasks –whether it’s a call with friends, hanging at a new café, or that mindful moment, put it on your calendar. I think it’s also essential to build it into the workday- incorporate music into meetings, or end with a quick mindful minute. The pauses should be built into the work experience. Socializing, laughing, and relaxing is an excellent prescription for the entrepreneur’s soul.

Final pop quiz:

  1. What sabotaging patterns do you recognize in yourself?
  2. Are you in an unhealthy relationship with your business? What is something different you can do today to better navigate habits that self-sabotage your success? Take a moment to create a reminder for that one thing and schedule it on your phone. You may not be able to make a huge shift right away, but a shift is a start. And it’s a start in the right direction.
  3. How can you recognize these patterns in the future?

I hope that you enjoyed this week’s blog post on the importance of emotional awareness in business. I’ve written in the past about how important it is for entrepreneurs to remember that it’s okay to be vulnerable, to trust your gut, to take risks, and to go outside of your comfort zone. Hopefully this post has helped you rethink your inner-entrepreneur so that you can start focusing on the things that need to be done rather than the things that are holding you back.

If you’re looking for more information about business psychology or need support, you can connect with me here.

Let me know if these tips and the review questions were helpful in the comments below!

Cheers to your success, Amanda Fludd

Lean into Discomfort to Achieve Your Goals

Photo by Barbara Olsen from Pexels

I’m not sure who in their right mind chooses to be uncomfortable, apart from exceptional people who understand that whatever we don’t face becomes our limits.

If you want things to really be different and grow personally and professionally, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

The feeling we associate with discomfort is fear or anxiety. As creatures of habit, we prefer safe and calm, but as you go after your dreams, it requires risk and uncertainty, which can be scary. People don’t always realize that any perceived fear can trigger your internal fear response, prompting avoidance or withdrawal. That fear response can look like: Overthinking, procrastination, headaches, unnecessary mistakes and trouble focusing, to name a few.

The more we back off in the face of discomfort, the more we reinforce our fears and limits. The antidote to that is actually to partner with our fear.

Making Friends with Fear

Declare a truce between you and that feeling you’ve been fighting for so long. I use a great book in therapy and often discuss with coaching clients, Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein. Essentially, it invites you to think of the feeling like a friend who is visiting- would you answer the door and ask what the hell are you doing here? Or maybe you are the type not even to answer at all? Maybe close the windows, slide down the couch and hold your breath as if the friend wasn’t even there? Hopefully, if an unexpected visitor showed up, you would open the door and get curious about why they came to see you or even get excited to engage in a conversation. With that same spirit of exploration, you can learn to befriend even the most difficult emotions with acceptance and equanimity, giving space for a more considered response to the feelings.

But won’t that make things worse?

Your anxiety won’t escalate if you acknowledge it as you take risks, embrace failure, mess up big time, and manage distress. It’s when we fight against it or run from it that we reinforce adverse outcomes.

Each time you face the fear, it reduces the emotional reigns it has on your life.

Let’s take a look at three approaches to intentionally confront the fear standing in between you and [enter goal, task, or project here].

  1. Just Breathe. Our conditioned response to fear is to speed things up. Your breath is the most powerful tool you own that can slow down your internal reaction. Use your breath to settle the excitement of seeing your friend (aka fear). Visualize each deep inhale, connecting you back to the moment, and each complete exhale providing relief.
  2. We tend to overthink and not act. Sometimes the more you accomplish, the more you feel like a fraud and doubt your abilities, but feelings aren’t facts. Rely on the facts, not your emotions or catastrophic thoughts. Instead, think about another time you were successful, what worked for you then, and how you could that possibly apply now to support continued action.
  3. Plan for the obstacles. You eventually will confront the beliefs and reactions that typically show up to hold you back. So plan ahead.  Try listing your fears or concerns and for each note your typical reactions that make it difficult for you to proceed. Now for each, write a plan of action to respond. A part of that plan should include acknowledging the fear and defusing it with a curious, good to see you attitude, as well as using your breath (you always have that with you).

It takes consistent work and awareness to notice and better respond to the experience of discomfort. Still, it is in partnership with that experience that you can take charge of your life and lose the fear of stepping outside of your comfort zone.

What’s your favorite way to handle discomfort? Let us know in the comments below.

Cheers to your success, Amanda Fludd.

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women through coaching, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply get you out of your head, so you can stress less, and focus on your success.

Make sure to register for “Catch your Breath” a free live mindful practice series for Minority Women Who Lead running through the end of  2021. #minoritymentalhealthmonth #strongcommunities

extreme close up photo of frightened eyes

5 Actionable Steps to Overcome Fear and Anxiety

Fear is a powerful emotion that we all experience in our lives, and it is something that can be very challenging to deal …

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20 Encouraging Quotes From Phenomenal Women of Color

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