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Navigating the Storm: A Business Owner's Battle with Anxiety at Conferences

I've debated for a while about sharing this part of my life, but I believe in the power of vulnerability and connecting through shared experiences. As a business owner, I've faced numerous challenges, and one of the most significant struggles I've grappled with is severe anxiety. Today, I want to open up about my journey and specifically address the unique challenges I face when attending large conferences and networking events.

The Overwhelming Storm of Anxiety:

Large conferences and networking events can be daunting for anyone, but for someone battling anxiety, the experience can feel like navigating through a storm. The sheer volume of people, the constant chatter, and the pressure to make meaningful connections can trigger intense feelings of panic and discomfort.

Dealing with Anxiety in the Crowd:

Over the years, I've developed some strategies to cope with anxiety during these events. Here are a few tips that might help fellow business owners facing similar struggles:

  1. Preparation is Key: Before the event, create a detailed plan. Know the schedule, layout, and key sessions you want to attend. Having a clear plan can alleviate some of the uncertainty that often fuels anxiety.

  2. Establish a Safe Space: Identify a quiet corner or designated space where you can retreat if the overwhelming nature of the event becomes too much. Taking short breaks to recharge can make a significant difference.

  3. Set Realistic Goals: Instead of pressuring yourself to network with every person in the room, set achievable goals. Aim to make a few quality connections rather than overwhelming yourself with quantity.

  4. Practice Mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to stay grounded in the present moment. These practices can help manage the racing thoughts that often accompany anxiety.

  5. Seek Support: Don't hesitate to confide in a trusted friend, colleague, or even a mental health professional. Having someone you can lean on during these events can provide much-needed support.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel:

Despite the challenges, it's essential to remember that anxiety doesn't define us. As business owners, we are resilient individuals capable of overcoming even the most formidable obstacles. Embracing vulnerability and acknowledging our struggles is the first step toward growth.

In the midst of my anxiety, I've discovered that these conferences and networking events are opportunities for personal and professional growth. Each interaction, no matter how small, contributes to our journey. Embracing discomfort can lead to unexpected connections, valuable insights, and a stronger sense of self.

So, fellow business owners, let's face our fears head-on. The next time you find yourself in the midst of a crowded conference, know that you are not alone. We are all navigating our storms, and the strength to overcome lies within us.

Remember, your journey is unique, and every step forward, no matter how small, is a victory. Let's celebrate our successes, support one another, and continue to grow as resilient entrepreneurs.

Wishing you courage and strength on your journey,

Carli Showmaker

Showmaker Productions


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