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Are You a Fighter or a Flight(er)?

Are you currently navigating the fight-or-flight rollercoaster as a young female(or male, I see you popping on here, too) entrepreneur? Hi, you're not alone. This stuff can be hard.

(Oh, hey! That's my friend Nada in the back!) Let's start here: your twenties. A whole decade buzzing with potential, a time to chase your dreams and build something extraordinary. This is especially true for the bold people who choose the path of entrepreneurship. But let's face it, the climb to success can feel less like a mountain trek and more like a white-knuckled ride on a rickety rollercoaster. There are exhilarating highs, moments of pure "I'm-on-top-of-the-world" power, but lurking around every corner are sudden drops that trigger the infamous fight-or-flight response.

Sometimes this feels like double-edged sword. It fuels the relentless drive that pushes you forward, the grit that helps you weather rejections and setbacks. But when left unchecked, the fight-or-flight response can morph into a constant state of hypervigilance, which I know all too well, leaving you exhausted and questioning your every move.

Decoding the Fight-or-Flight Frenzy:

The fight-or-flight response, a survival mechanism hardwired into our brains, kicks in when we perceive a threat. Listen, I had to go and study this stuff, so this is actually backed up by some science, which you're about to read. It's a biological marvel, releasing a surge of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, sharpening our focus and preparing us to either confront the danger (fight) or flee from it (flight). In the context of running a business, the "threats" can be anything from a looming deadline to someone utilizing your branding or your IP. These pressures trigger the fight-or-flight response, and suddenly you're operating in a heightened state of stress.

The Fighter:

Some young entrepreneurs transform into fighters. They're the ones burning the midnight oil, pushing themselves beyond what seems humanly possible. They thrive on the challenge, fueled by the desire to prove themselves. Deadlines become battle cries, and every obstacle conquered adds another notch to their "I conquered it" belt. While this relentless drive can be impressive, it's not sustainable. Like a car running on fumes, the body eventually gives in. Chronic stress weakens the immune system, sleep disappears, and decision-making becomes clouded. Before you know it, the warrior spirit has morphed into a burnout zombie. While I don't carry a chronic illness, I can tell you many stories of where my body physically made me "stop".

The Flighter:

For others, the fight-or-flight response manifests in a different way. The pressure becomes overwhelming, leading to a desperate urge to escape. Tasks are avoided, social media becomes a black hole(have you seen my latest posts on our Instagram? No?), and even the most basic decisions feel paralyzing. This is the flighter, the one who yearns to crawl under the covers and wait for the storm to pass. While taking a break can be beneficial, prolonged flight mode is detrimental to progress. Opportunities slip through the cracks, momentum stalls, and the dream that once burned brightly starts to flicker out, like a candle.

The Taming of the Tiger:

Oooooh, this one was fun to name; it's my Chinese zodiac, actually; The Tiger. It's time for some good news: the fight-or-flight response doesn't have to define your entrepreneurial journey. Here are some strategies to recognize and manage these reactions:

  • Become Your Own Stress Detective: The first step is awareness. Learn to identify your personal fight-or-flight triggers. Is it that first cup of coffee in the morning that sets off a chain reaction of anxiety? Or maybe it's the silence before a client meeting? Once you understand your triggers, you can develop strategies to manage them.

  • The Power of the Pause: Aaah. When that tightness in your chest hits, or the escape route becomes overwhelmingly tempting, take a deep breath. Literally. Deep, mindful breaths calm the nervous system and allow for a more rational response. Meditation and mindfulness techniques can be incredibly helpful in managing stress in the long run.

  • Prioritize Like a Pro: My cousin taught me the "MIT Method" which stands for "most important tasks". Not everything requires an immediate fight-or-flight reaction. Learn to differentiate between urgent tasks and those that can be delegated or rescheduled. Prioritizing your workload not only eases the pressure but also frees up mental space for creative problem-solving.

  • The Strength in Numbers: Building a strong support system is crucial. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded individuals who believe in you and your vision. These can be mentors, fellow entrepreneurs, or even a supportive friend group. Talk about your struggles, celebrate your victories, and tap into their experiences when the fight-or-flight tiger rears its head.

  • Self-Care Isn't Selfish: Did you know there's a reason flight attendants instruct passengers to secure their oxygen masks first before helping others? You can't pour from an empty cup. Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. Ensure you're getting enough sleep, prioritize healthy eating, and engage in activities that de-stress and recharge you. Hit the gym, join a dance class, or spend time in nature – find what works for you.

As always, remember to keep your personal cup just as full as your coffee cup.




Alyssa Manhattan.jpg

A note from the author:

I'm so glad you're here! Thank you for taking the time to check out this post. I cannot wait to continue to share even more with you!


As always, continue to keep your personal cup just as full as your coffee cup with unlimited refills.

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