Journal Entry: Struggling To Finish Projects As An Entrepreneur

Journal Entry - Anxiety, stress, and overwhelm

Date: 2017-10-19(+20)

This article or journal entry is a bit of an experiment. Maybe you will like it; maybe you will not. Just let me know afterward in the comments 🙂

I tend to avoid writing my journal entries on my blog. Partly because I’ve been writing in my physical journal, and partly because I’ve written those in Swedish.

Today, I feel a bit different. I want to share my struggles, and I want to write about them on my computer. If this will end up as a journal entry on my computer never to see the light or if I publish the entry on my blog the future will have to tell. But if you’re reading this, I guess I decided to release it on the Internet 🙂

I will write the entry for myself with no intention of publishing it. I think this will allow me to be more truthful to myself.

No obvious red thread

A short disclaimer. When I journal, I go into a flow. In this stream of consciousness, I often jump between subjects a lot, and the topic can go in many weird directions. This jumping around can make the entry hard to read. But it might as well make it easier to read since there is a sense of flow throughout the text even though there is no clear red thread.

The beginning: A feeling

As always when I write these journal entries, I don’t know where to begin. Where should I begin?

Yesterday I tried tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) for the first time. I focused on my anxiety and why I don’t want to work. I feel overwhelmed by all tasks, even though there aren’t many.

I’m working on a coaching program about productivity, and ironically, when I’m working on a course about productivity I’m super unproductive. It’s not that I don’t want to create it, this time I feel that the program will be transformational. It will help many people, and I genuinely believe in its ability to help people. So why can’t I work on it? Why is it so hard?

“I don’t want to.”

I don’t know. But during the tapping exercise, a feeling or thought came to my mind “I don’t want to.” What is it that I don’t want? What am I afraid of will happen?

Maybe I don’t want to work. But I want to work, or I want to do fun and light things. Perhaps it’s because I put up these expectations on myself. When I don’t have any plan and just do whatever I feel like doing or challenge myself everything is super easy. But whenever I feel I have an obligation to do something I just freeze and don’t want to do it.

Why is that the case, why am I so stressed out about it?

Another problem: quitting at the finish line

Another problem I’ve had is that whenever I get close to releasing or finishing something I stop. I think I gained an insight when I had a chat with a friend. I thought I was afraid of succeeding, but I’m scared of failing. I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself and the product I’ll release to be a success.

My friend and I went through an exercise, or rather she talked about the exercise, and I went through it in my head. You start by thinking about earning $500 in the whole year from your business or hobby. How does that make you feel? You then continue up to $1 500, $3 000, $10 000, $25 000, $50 000, $75 000, $100 000, $200 000. (I don’t remember the exact steps you took.)

What I found interesting was that it was the first few steps that stopped me whereas for my friend it was the other way around.

Fear of failure, where’s my pain point?

I felt a gutwrenching feeling when she mentioned $500 in a year. That’s failure to me. I got comfortable when I reached $50 000. $25 000 is okay as well, but I still feel a bit of failure from that one.

I wonder where my pain point is, or how low I can go before I feel like it’s a one-hundred percent failure. $17 500? It’s hard, in one way $17 500 feels like success, but in another way, it feels like one-hundred percent failure. So the pain point is probably around $25 000. More like $30 000.

But I need to begin somewhere. I can’t start with getting an income of $30 000 in the first year. It’s not impossible but very improbable. I have to make mistakes and usually, I embrace mistakes. Why do I fear these kinds of mistakes?

Why do I fear these kinds of mistakes?

If I were to guess, I’d say because I set out to be an entrepreneur and I want to succeed. I want to prove everyone, especially my family, that I can make it, that this was and is the right path for me.

Two different paths

I can see two different paths ahead of me to solve this problem. At the same time, I’m not sure this is the underlying problem, I better get back to the main problem “I don’t want to” later and see if it was the case.

The first path is to go deeper into the fear and to resolve the belief that I need to prove to everyone that I can make it. To accept that I have failed. Or not put that pressure on me. I think this is something I can do, but I’m not sure how long time this will take. I might be able to change this belief in a few days, or it might take months. I’m not sure.

The second path is to conquer the belief by action. To practice failing, or putting something out there, especially a product that can generate income. I just have to earn something. Earning something will probably change my beliefs. If I go through the experience, the fear it won’t be as bad as I thought it would be. I know that because that’s always been the case.

What belief would I want instead?

What belief would I want to have instead of being afraid of failing? Can I adopt a view that would serve me better? The first thing is to think of it as a game.

I love games, especially the hard and frustrating ones. A game where I often am incredibly frustrated. I love these kinds of games. Even as I’m writing about this, I feel excited and a bit better, but the anxiety is still there.

But I’d love the idea of adopting this belief. Now, how can I go about and replace the belief of fear of failure with that the business is just a game. The business is not real. It’s just a game I can quit at any time I want. It’s just that I want to continue; I want to complete the business game.

Achievements

How about if I were to set achievements for myself. That would be cool. I wonder if superbetter.com has achievements. But I’d probably want to develop a system of my own. So how would I like to have my system?

I have already gamified my TODO-list, which is fantastic.

Where and how will I display the achievements? Do I print them out and fill them in when I have accomplished them? Or do I create a super simple app for this purpose? And maybe even release it to Google Play? Hmm, perhaps there is already an app that does this? Oh, there IS a great app for this already 😀

Okay, achievements have now been sorted out. Or at least I know where to write them. But what kind of achievements will there be?

Achievement system

  • Each achievement should give me points for my TODO-system. This makes it a lot more fun 🙂
    • Bronze: 50 TP
    • Silver: 100 TP
    • Gold: 150 TP
  • Achievements should not be easy to complete. It should be a challenge, especially the golden ones.
  • Maybe I can have two achievements of each type, or perhaps even just one. This makes it easier to know which one I should focus on next. If I feel like doing a simpler challenge that should suffice.
  • Perhaps the achievements list is reset every week?

I don’t want to have long-time achievements. Maximum 30-days would be awesome. Those should be the golden ones. Or it depends on the difficulty of the achievement. But the achievement should require time or effort to complete. One achievement could be to do five energy debt tasks in a day. But that should probably be a bronze one.

Practice failing

Practice failing with the business game would be good. I.e., to publish things, get out a product there fast, and then continue to improve on it through iterations.

Getting out a product fast will help me conquer the fear. But maybe not have a full-blown release. And not release anything subpar. At the same time, I should set low expectations and have early-bird try-outs. Should I charge something for these products in the beginning or not? I don’t know, for the launch I want to, but maybe not for coaching.

So what can I put out there that my readers want and that is valuable and at the same time takes no time for me to do? To try it various times? Coaching. I don’t have to prepare anything from the coaching. Coaching it is.

Game system and belief

If I try a new boss in a challenging game (like Dark Souls), I don’t expect to be able to beat it on the first few tries. So I’d like my belief with the business game to be similar.

How can I play the business game? What are the game mechanics? What are the bosses, how do they look like, and behave? What’s in-between the bosses, or are there only bosses in the game like Titan Souls.

I should probably apply this belief to other areas in my life too. A game belief would make living more fun, and the highest value in my life is ‘fun.’

Game mechanics

I can treat various areas in my life and business as skills. I can have a release skill, a marketing skill, a writing skill, etc. That way I can practice on a specific power and try to improve it. There would, however, be good to have a sense of how good I am at a skill and see the progress I’m making. Productivity could also be a skill.

Then there are bosses in the game, what is a boss?

Bosses

Bosses are obstacles that are extra difficult. Bosses require several tries before I can defeat the boss. A boss forces me to learn and improve new skills.

The problem I can see is that in games I can fail with a boss, but then I have to start over from scratch. Starting over doesn’t make sense in the real world. Perhaps there exist several bosses for each big task. Like launching my productivity coaching program.

One boss could be to write the script for the pre-launch videos. Another boss could be to record the videos. Another for clipping and uploading the videos. Another one for finishing the pages where the pre-launch videos and information will be.

I kind of like this idea of splitting it up into smaller bosses. Or maybe parts of the same boss.

Intermission

I decided to take a break in the writing since I was getting tired and hungry. After eating, I went out for a quick walk and finally ended the break with a sauna session. Instead of continuing to write here I decided to take some help from my girlfriend. As I’m writing this, it’s the morning of the 20th of October.

What I learned yesterday

I don’t want to do boring and laborious tasks. The funny part is that I say to myself that they are tedious. I’m often quite good at shifting my view to make a boring task fun. Like cleaning, or just riding a train for 8 hours without nothing to entertain me more than my mind. I can make these tasks fun and easy.

I didn’t feel I got to the root problem though. I’m not sure why I invent the idea of the task is boring. One idea we had was that I don’t have many planned fun activities during the days. So I want to have fun during the day.

Even though I’ve taken week-long breaks to play games and do other things, it might have been a form of escapism and not really because I thought it was fun.

Instead, I’d like to spend more time with my close friends, especially seeing my friends one-on-one as there haven’t been many of those occurrences of late.

Setting deadlines doesn’t work

I also noticed that it’s easy for me to work when I don’t set a goal and demand of myself to complete it within a specific period. There are a few exceptions to this though.

If I put a short time constraint like I want to finish this task within an hour that works well because that makes it a challenge. But having deadlines doesn’t work at all for me. The second exception is when it is a short-term consequence of me not doing the task, i.e., I must do it, there’s no way around it. Then I find it easy to accept and just do it, and even have fun doing it.

The are two solutions to this path. Either I never set arbitrary deadlines, or I find and adopt a belief for which deadlines serves me well.

Fear of being left out

I also found out that I’m scared of being left out of a group. Meaning I don’t want to finish my products because if I fail, I will be left out. I will not belong to the group of successful people.

The Enneagram test

From the enneagram test, I noticed I was a four. I didn’t do the test per sé, but I read “the underlying wish,” “the underlying fear,” “the subconscious message,” and “the missing message.” And after reading these, it was quite clear to me that I was a four.

The underlying wish

The wish to be yourself

The underlying fear

The fear to not be someone, to be without your own identity

The subconscious message

It’s not okay to be well-functioning and happy

The missing message

You are seen for who you are

Other insights from the Enneagram

I also found that I identified with “it’s not okay to be someone.” This subconscious thought could also be something that blocks me from finishing and releasing a product.

Although I want to be someone, it’s not okay to be someone special. I don’t want to take up space. So maybe my subconscious sabotage me because I’m not allowed to be someone, and I’ll be someone if I release a product.

Is that why I have the thought “I don’t want to?” Maybe, maybe not.

Why I’m obsessed with finding an answer?

Why am I so obsessed with finding an answer? For me it’s somewhat obvious, I’ve sabotaged myself a lot of times in the past. Both in my games and app business, but also in my personal development business. I’ve sabotaged myself in other areas of life too. This self-sabotaging is the one thing that is holding me back. And it’s so frustrating not to know what it is that is holding me back; if it’s just one underlying belief or many beliefs.

I’ve tried so many times to release a product, but I always fail at the finish line. Trying again and again with the same approach won’t work. I need to fix this. I need to take another approach. Finding a solution and what it’s all about is the top priority.

My next steps

My next steps will be to tackle the problem from multiple angles. I might not be able to find the answer if it’s not one but many limiting beliefs.

  1. Take a break from almost all normal work activities (except writing and publishing articles, the articles need to keep flowing.) And if I’m going through a change I’ll probably want to write about it anyhow 🙂
  2. Find a way of how I can adopt the game mindset to my business, and not just my business but other activities as well (e.g., Toastmasters)
  3. Catch up on things I’ve put on the backburner for too long. I.e., clean up all my energy debts I have accumulated in the last year
  4. Fix my working environment. Make it lighter and have fresh air
  5. Jumpstart my body by exercising every day, and doing the Wim Hof method
  6. Make time for fun and social activities with friends, and hang out with at least one friend every week
  7. Tackle the ‘not releasing’ problem head-on, by starting to coach
  8. Journal about the problem every other day and see if I can figure out the underlying belief

Taking a break & tackle the problem head-on

For the next two weeks, or until I’ve solved the problem, I will take a break from all regular work activities. The break doesn’t include writing and publishing articles. In reality, this means I will not work on my productivity program. Instead, I’ll focus on coaching someone, maybe even to release my half-finished Celebratorica app.

I need to take a step forward every weekday to coaching someone. Preferably I should have my game mindset ready when I start with this as it will make things a lot easier.

But I might not begin to tackle the problem head-on until the second week. The first week will probably be all about fixing the environment and my body.

The game mindset

The game mindset might be hard to find a good match and how I can think of it. After I’ve found a way to think about the business in terms of a game, I can start to imprint that belief in my mind. I’ve changed beliefs before so I know it can be done.

To change my beliefs, I’ll use visionary dreaming and the Lefkoe Method. These have worked in the past, and I’m confident they will work again 🙂

Energy debts & fix my work environment

Preferably I want to batch these tasks and spend a day or two completing these activities.

  • Bookkeeping for my business
  • Google account transactions in my business to Outsource
  • Cut my hair
  • Leave my jeans at a tailor to fix the holes
  • Put up my lamps
  • Remove my palm trees from the window (to let in more light)
  • (Change the lamp in the ceiling if there’s not enough light)
  • (Buy new bedspread if there’s not enough light)
  • Book time for vaccination
  • Personal economic update
  • Fix shower curtains
  • Fix brightness adjuster in Linux
  • Check when the dive pool is available in the bathhouse

Morning routine with exercise

Mainly do these things every morning, except working out on Sundays.

  1. Get up at 6:30 am every day
  2. Miracle Morning
  3. Wim Hof
  4. Running or Monkey Bars (when I get them)

I’ll start with the morning routine on Monday, at the latest.

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