April 28, 2023

Does Entrepreneurship Sting?

By Jen Schappel

While I was sitting outside eating lunch, a honeybee landed on the ground near me.

I said, “Aw, hi!” (Because honeybees are pure gold these days.) And then it flew off.

When I was a kid and I saw a yellow and black striped flying thing, I immediately thought, “Ah! That’s a bee and it wants to sting me!”

But as I got older and paid closer attention, I learned that all the yellow and black striped things weren’t the same. I learned that some were really really important for life on Earth and I learned that others are just kind of jerks.

Over the years, I’ve worked with a lot of people who weren’t very embodied.

And what I mean by that is these folks, for one reason or another, were not at home in their bodies—they didn’t have a lot of experience paying attention or sensing what was going on in their bodies from moment to moment.

When they first start working with me and they feel an intense sensation in their body, they panic, “Ah! That hurts!”

But as they pay closer attention and condition their nervous system, they start to realize that these intense sensations aren’t all the same.

Some of the inputs really do hurt but some of them just felt initially overwhelming to their nervous system, which in turn made them feel unsafe.

There can be a lot of those “Ah! That hurts!” moments in entrepreneurship.

Quitting the 9 to 5 to start your own business can feel exhilarating—but it’s no walk in the park and it’s not for the faint of heart.

There will be lots of stressful times and scary moments. As entrepreneurs, however, we often have to lean in to the fear and take risks. It might even feel like a roller coaster of emotion!

So how can you help yourself feel safe and grounded in the tumult of entrepreneurship?

The simple answer is to take care of yourself the same way you would take care of your business.

Your business is your baby. You spend so much time caring for it and nurturing it and dreaming big dreams for its future.

Don’t forget to do that for yourself as well! Tend to yourself with compassion and care—make time for the things you love and that add joy to your life. Spend time in rest—reading for pleasure, getting a massage, taking a gentle stroll, or whatever self-care looks like for you.

And then, when something challenging happens with your business (aka a yellow and black stripy thing) you’ll be able to tackle it with calm confidence. You’ll have the clarity of mind to realize what you can and can’t control. You’ll enjoy the perspective that the discomfort you feel is temporary. You’ll be able to learn from your mistakes and fortify your processes. You’ll ask for help as needed.

As you continue your journey of entrepreneurship and encounter more and more of the challenges that come with it, you’ll start to notice that not all of them sting. Some of those challenges will help you grow or catapult you into a new and better direction.

So the next time you face a challenge with your business, take a moment to breathe. Practice a relaxing activity that helps your nervous system feel safe. Then look at that yellow and black striped thing more closely. Will this sting? Maybe. Will it feel uncomfortable? Probably. Will the pain last forever? Likely the answer is no. Will the experience season you and develop your wisdom? Definitely yes.

The creator of KindBody Movement, Jen Schappel is a licensed massage therapist and movement educator. Through her virtual wellness studio, massage therapy services, and 1:1 movement consults, Jen helps her clients move more and move better to manage stress, make change, and feel more at home in their bodies. Jen is also the creator and host of the podcast “Insisterhood,” which shares the stories of female entrepreneurs, artists, and change-makers. She lives in Knoxville with her husband and two kids where she enjoys gardening, hiking, and 30-second dance parties. You can find Jen on Instagram @thekindbodymovement and on the web at kindbodymovement.com.


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