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When Anxiety Becomes Your Entrepreneurial Superpower with Jessica Rodriguez

Anxiety can feel completely overwhelming which is why the idea of turning it into a superpower seems impossible. 

Today I’m talking with Jessica Rodriguez, owner, and CEO of Freedom Driven Success, about the importance of recognizing how anxiety shows up in your body, working through the thoughts that come up for you, and using those thoughts to make decisions for yourself and your business. 

Ready? Let’s get started. 

In this episode:

  • How to make your anxiety work for you instead of against you, both personally and professionally
  • Tips for managing anxiety on a daily basis
  • When you should seek out professional support

Listen to the podcast here:

When Anxiety Becomes Your Entrepreneurial Superpower with Jessica Rodriguez

Welcome. I’m very excited to finally have you on the podcast. I’m slowly going through everybody in the biz bestie chat here and I’m very excited to talk to you about this topic today because anxiety is a thing that I have and struggle with. And I know that you do, too. 

We’ve talked about it and I am very in awe of all the things you’re able to do despite your anxiety. So I’m really happy to be having this conversation today. 

Before we jump into all of that, though, tell us who you are and what you do on the internet.

My name is Jessica Rodriguez, I am the CEO behind Freedom Driven Success and our main mission is to help people get out of a 1:1 or done-for-you business model and create scalable offers. So essentially, bringing back the freedom that you originally started your business to have.

So many of us do that. We did this because we wanted to be our own boss and it turns out, being your own boss means you work 60 hours a week instead of 40 for someone else.

Hold on, Did I just become my worst boss?

Yes, I have totally been there. 

So, anxiety. I was doing some reading the other day about high functioning anxiety and high functioning depression, which apparently, the medical community doesn’t actually think of as a thing. I guess these are social terms that we’ve come up with. Urban dictionary if you will. But I know that I struggle with my anxiety when it comes specifically to making decisions in my business and that’s all wrapped up in my perfectionism.  

I’m very interested to hear about how I can make this my superpower and work with it instead of against it.

Yes, absolutely. 

We’ll take a little time travel here for some storytime for background purposes. I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I just didn’t have a name for it, especially when you’re younger. A lot of us are in a generation where we have had parents or family members saying oh, you’re fine. You’re fine. We don’t talk about it. And now we’re adults trying to unpack everything we didn’t talk about.

I remember when I was working full time. I was having constant panic attacks at that time. Thankfully, my little cubicle had a door that would go out to this back hallway that no one used. When I felt like an attack was coming on, I would just go out there, die a little for 10 minutes, and then come back in. 

I was going to the doctor and they were starting to test different prescriptions and medications and suggested therapy, as well. We don’t want to make you reliant on this and not dig into why it even happened. This medicine is a way to at least make it that you are functioning and you can go to work. 

I was in my 20s at that time and when I originally started my first online business, it was a mistake. I didn’t plan. I never thought I was going to be a business owner. I didn’t have all these stories of me being an entrepreneur as a child with lemonade stands. No, I sat inside and watched TV.

Yeah, I read books.

Originally what happened is I felt a lot of my life was out of control. I had a job that paid the bills, but I didn’t like it. Adulthood didn’t seem as fun as everyone said. 

They lied.

My thought was if I earn more, I'll never have to work for somebody else again. And I'll essentially cure my anxiety. Click To Tweet

I was supposed to have everything together by now and literally, all I have is zilch. So I don’t really understand what happened. 

I first started learning about the online space and that I could make money there. Anything that helps us pay our bills, even an extra 30 bucks makes a big difference when you’re really struggling financially. So I was like, I’ll do this. I work all the time anyway, what’s the difference? At least I can make some more money. 

When I started to see the potential in the online space and that I could make even more than my income, I was all in. Now the thing about my personality is that my “all in” was all the time. Everything has to be more and more and more. What I didn’t realize was happening, especially the first two years of my business, is that I went from working 80 hours a week for other people, because I had a full-time and a part-time job then, and I just moved it all to my business. 

My thought was if I earn more, I’ll never have to work for somebody else again. And I’ll essentially cure my anxiety.

Snap your fingers and it’s gone. Done.

This is the solution, right? I wasn’t working for somebody else. If I work for myself doing something I enjoy, then game over. 

But what happened was I bought into all the hustle culture. I was all about that life. You show up and you do the things. So as my anxiety is building, I push it down. We ignore this and we think only positive thoughts. You push through because that’s what winners do. 

And what actually was happening is that when I was in my third year of business, I didn’t know I hit my first magical six-figure income. I was running so fast and eventually, my body caught up with me. And it got to the point where, unfortunately, it was me sitting down on the couch, feet up, staring at the wall because it was silent. 

I started to feel this immense amount of guilt because you’re making more money than you ever have in your life. And you have the nerve to be unhappy. This resentment of oh my god, people told me this whole dream. They’re all lying. Everybody’s miserable. Behind the scenes, everybody’s stressed out, and they’re overworked.

What did I just do? Because now I have no other option. Once you start working for yourself, it’s very hard to go back and work for someone else.

I don’t know a single person who’s done it. Who’s gone the other direction. I’m not going to go back and get a job. I’m unemployable now. There’s no fucking way I can ever go back to that. There’s no way I could do it.

Unfortunately, it got to the point where it started to turn into suicidal thoughts. There’s nowhere to go from here. There’s clearly something wrong with me because other people are navigating it. As soon as I had that thought, I realized something was wrong. Clearly, something is very wrong when this starts to come up. 

What I didn’t realize was that since I spent years completely ignoring my instincts and following other people’s paths, I had achieved the success I’m supposed to have but it doesn’t feel the way I want it to feel, which then started turning anxiety into depression. It kept going into these deeper levels because I wasn’t facing it. 

I had achieved the success I'm supposed to have but it doesn't feel the way I want it to feel, which then started turning anxiety into depression. It kept going into these deeper levels because I wasn't facing it. Click To Tweet

I had closed down the previous businesses and started building what everyone sees today. It’s just this is now the years later evolution of it. And what I wound up doing was making a choice that I was going to create a business that I can change as many times as I need to based on how I feel. 

Instead of trying to ignore my anxiety or push it away or pretend it doesn’t exist, what if I started working with it? My anxiety shows in my chest. I will start to feel that heavy pressure. Sometimes I’ll take really deep breaths just because it feels like I need to push air. So for me, I started saying, that’s how my anxiety shows up. I feel it there. As soon as that happens, that becomes a red light for me. Instead of telling it to go away, I would reflect on it. What just happened before this happened? What has been happening throughout this week and starting to take a look and ask better questions.

Is it because something in my business is feeling heavy? Was I just scrolling the internet? And I started comparing myself to others. Do I need to unfollow people because clearly, this is triggering something.

At some points, it was offers I had. So I had offers that were selling and it felt good. And I’m sure a lot of us experienced that where you create an offer, and it’s really good at that time. But later, something shifted in it and it’s making money, but every time I get on calls, that feeling is coming. 

There’s something weird about it. And then I’d explore that. If we forget about money, which I know is a privilege, but if I took that out of the equation, if I took my ego out of the equation, or what I thought were people’s expectations and asked myself, do you even want to be doing this? Sometimes the answer was no. So I started making decisions in my business that way. As long as my anxiety is here, it’s shining a light on where the direction needs to change. 

It’s inevitable to hit the end goal. I know where I’m heading, however, I’m open to all the different directions that I’m going to get there.

As long as my anxiety is here, it’s shining a light on where the direction needs to change. Click To Tweet

I think this story is so common. You just described me and my own journey through this. When I had my first panic attack, I was driving my car. I was in my early 20s and I had no idea what panic attacks were. I never had them before and I didn’t even know I was anxious at the time. I had no words for any of this. I thought I was having a heart attack. I literally had to pull over to the side of the road until it stopped. I thought I was dying. That was like the first panic attack I ever had. 

I was a teacher. I hated all the red tape. I loved teaching but I hated everything else about it. I also accidentally fell into my business. I don’t know if I had consciously tried to start a business on purpose if I ever would have actually gotten this far because I think my anxiety would have seen I was trying to do something important and tried to stop it. 

Everything came up for me once I realized that this was something that was important to me. That this was something that I wanted to grow. I did the same thing you did, where I went hell-bent for leather, working insane hours. Up early at like 6 am because I was still used to a teacher schedule and working until one or two in the morning, which is insane. I do not recommend it. Please get some sleep and take showers. It was just awful.

Until I started asking myself the same questions. If I started dreading getting up and getting on the phone with a client, is this something I want to keep doing? I think the most important thing that stood out to me is when you said that people underestimate how difficult it is if you are a person who avoids your emotions and shoves them down and ignores them. How difficult it is to be able to recognize in the moment that you are feeling your anxious trigger. And being able to stop and identify it.

To get to that part of the process is such a journey, at least it was for me, because I didn’t know what emotions felt like in my body because I refused to feel them. If it wasn’t joy, I didn’t want it. Put it in the box over there. 

It took me a long time to realize that when I can’t sit still, that’s anxiety for me, because I’m not a wiggly person. If I’m touching things and I can’t focus on anything, that is anxiety for me. And that took me a long time to figure out. Would you say a good place to start with this is to allow yourself to be in your body and figure out what your triggers are?

Yes. I’m glad you said that because I really had to learn it because you spend decades of your life being unavailable if something’s uncomfortable. 

Well, what would happen if I sat with it? So for me, it was being aware. And this is why for me, anxiety became that superpower. Because it physically cued me in where maybe I wouldn’t have known to stop. So I don’t even have to do that work. I just outsource figuring out my problem. Cool, right? My body’s just gone ahead and gave me that little cue, which feels uncomfortable. But that’s my red light.   

And this is why for me, anxiety became that superpower. Because it physically cued me in where maybe I wouldn't have known to stop. Click To Tweet

That’s my new favorite way to think about this. Outsourcing.

Thanks for letting me know my issue of the day. And then it’s my job, no matter what’s happening, to remember I am the most important part. That was a very hard thing to learn. And I’m sure a lot of us don’t act that way. Or don’t deeply believe that. 

I am the most important part of me and I need to take care of myself in my life. That pause then allows me to think about what it is that triggered this. What am I making it mean about me? Or what do I believe to be true about me? I’m playing that game. Because a lot of times, at least for me, there are confidence issues and things like that. So realizing that triggered me and why. Because I feel like I’m not giving somebody enough of me? Exploring it and then going, is that 100% true?

If I had to go into a court of law and prove that I did a crappy job with that client, what’s the evidence? I’ll literally sit there in my head playing out like I’m in court. You go through that and you get to the point that you start laughing with yourself. And you realized what triggered it isn’t even real. It’s just my mind decided to play a new game. 

I was talking with a friend the other day and we have gone through a majority of business together, so we know all the ins and outs and everything. And we’re talking about money and I know her journey with her finances and we got to the point where we literally don’t have to think about money, which is interesting. What is our mind going to play with now that we don’t have that same money fear? What would you like to work on now?

That’s such an important part of this conversation. Because I feel like when people talk about it in the online space, they talk about moving through your blocks. They make it sound like once you get through them, you’re home clear and you’re never going to have another one ever again. That is the biggest lie. 

I don’t know if they’re doing that on purpose or if it’s the best way to market whatever it is they’re selling, but it’s just not true. You get through these blocks and you move up to a different level or you are in a different state of being, but then you encounter different ones. 

I don’t think we talk about that enough. Because I know for sure, the first time I heard that I was like, great. I’m going to be doing this every single time, but it’s always different. When you up-level, you leave these challenges behind, because you’ve worked through them, but then you are encountering new situations. 

For me, thinking I was going to have to do this forever was horrible, but then I realized, being there is better than being here. A lot of people stay where they are because it’s comfortable. They know what’s going to come up and they know what they’re going to have to deal with versus the unknown of what they’re going to deal with in the future. That’s what your anxiety is for. Your anxiety says “let’s stay here” where we know all the shitty things that are going to happen to us and the terrible things we’re going to think. We can deal with these things. 

That’s literally how your human brain is designed to function to keep you surrounded by the shitty things that you already know are shitty. And because you know them, you can anticipate them and you can deal with them versus moving forward. 

Being able to recognize this is what my body does when I have anxiety and then going into court with yourself, going through all the evidence of why you’re thinking that way, and how it is holding you back is such a valuable skill because you will need it forever.

Being able to recognize this is what my body does when I have anxiety and then going into court with yourself, going through all the evidence of why you're thinking that way, and how it is holding you back is such a valuable skill. Click To Tweet

When I was in my 20s, when the diagnosis and all of that good stuff was just starting, I was originally exploring how long will it be until it’s gone? Because if you always mess with it, eventually, one day you’ll be “healed”. I was thinking, I’m willing to do this for a year and I’m going to work through this therapy but as I got older, I don’t know if I’m actually comfortable with it leaving. 

I’ve learned to work so well with it. There are definitely days where it’s like, why do you have to do this? Go away. But then there are so many times when my anxiety hits and it is another opportunity for growth. Thank you for essentially reflecting something to me because it’s so easy to walk through life and be numb to everything. 

The fact that this has given me that ping of oh, you’re worried about this for a reason. Want to do some work? The answer is always no. Nobody wants to do more work, but I will go through it. So that then brings me to, what is it that I need to explore? If something is feeling heavy in business, then automatically I start writing down what it is that I want. And then see what happens. If I don’t know the answer, then what do I not want? Because if you’re anxious, you’ve got a whole list of those. So I started asking myself, why do I allow it? That’s what I need to work on.

That moment when you realize I’m creating the thing that I don’t want. I used to think that phrase with such bullshit, and to be fair, there are obviously systemic things that play depending on who you are and where you’re from. There’s so much in business that we have that we do create for ourselves simply because our anxiety is driving the bus and then the bus is careening out of control. And we’re like, I don’t understand what’s happening. 

We’re not driving. Anxiety is driving. We think we’re in control but we’re not in control because we’re letting a part of ourselves that is trying to keep us safe and small be in control, which means that we’re not going in the direction we want to go because we’re not driving the bus.

Think about it. Anxiety is, at least for me, a manifestation of something that’s not aligned for you. If it’s coming up, it’s letting you know something’s not right. So let’s fix it because it really wants you to be safe. It’s your deepest fear. We want to make sure we’re not dying. When you can have that conversation with yourself and ask what am I actually afraid of? Is this true? Is this not true?

Anxiety is, at least for me, a manifestation of something that's not aligned for you. If it's coming up, it’s letting you know something's not right. Click To Tweet

It’s so applicable to any kind of anxiety that you’re feeling. It’s anxiety in your business. It’s my newly developed pandemic anxiety that I have now. Social anxiety that I’ve had for quite a while. 

So, this is what I’m feeling in my body and what am I telling myself in this moment? And is that true or not? And then you get to decide, is that true for you? Is it not true for you? Does that mean you want to go through with it or not go through with it? And I think that the more we learn how to apply it in our businesses, the more we can apply it everywhere else. So it’s really a useful skill to cultivate so that you can apply it anywhere in your life. Pretty great.

We use this quote a lot in businesses: slow down to speed up. And anyone who would have told me that before I was like, I can’t. I don’t know how to mentally or physically slow down. I just run. I’m full force. I’m a super quick start and doing all the things. 

So how about the anxiety comes in to go, hey, slow down. Let’s work through this because if not, it’s going to show up in a different way down the road. And that’s going to be a big explosion. So how about we just handle this right now, in this moment? Everyone has different styles of how they work through things. If it’s talking it out on Voxer to somebody or writing in a journal, it’s just a matter of getting it out of your system, these thoughts, and these feelings.

I have talked before on the podcast about how I used to be like a geyser, where you just hold it all in and hold it all in until your body is literally like we can’t hold this in for you anymore. So now you are ill, a physical illness. Probably the most common way that my body says we’re forcing you to lay in bed for a few days, you psychopath. Go get in bed to drink some tea and rest. Because we haven’t given you any other choice. 

You bottle it up until you can’t hold it in anymore and you spew off on other people when you’re having a total breakdown on some poor, unsuspecting person in your friend group. You have to process it, eventually. It does eventually come to the surface. You cannot keep it down there forever. And usually, you process it in a way that is very unhealthy and or unsafe for you. 

You have to process it, eventually. It does eventually come to the surface. You cannot keep it down there forever. And usually, you process it in a way that is very unhealthy and or unsafe for you. Click To Tweet

And so doing this, as uncomfortable as it is because it feels so foreign, but the more you exercise the muscle, the stronger that it gets. It does become easier. And you do get to a point where you feel the anxiety and your first thought is not I don’t want to deal with this but instead, you think, that’s so interesting. It’s such a nice shift to get to that place.

I’m not in that place 100% of the time, but I do have moments where I’m like, Oh, that’s so interesting. And then you sit down and you figure it out and you deal with it. So speaking of dealing with it, what are some of your favorite ways, exercises, prompts, to talk yourself through this other than going to court? 

Speaking of journaling, I have never been someone who can make that a part of my routine. Anytime I go to journal, my hand hurts. So any kind of program I’ve been in where they give you prompts to journal, it is so much work for me. However, if I am in that state, whether I’m really angry or frustrated, and I feel very chaotic inside with a lot of thoughts circling, then I can start rage journaling, as I call it for lack of a better name.

On my phone, I have a section in Evernote or a notebook by my desk that was specifically my rage journaling notebook. And whenever I feel like there are a lot of bottled-up emotions, then I will grab my phone and start writing everything on my mind.

Stream of consciousness?

Yeah. Punctuation doesn’t matter. It’s just getting it all out.

But the thing that started to happen with that, and why I love it so much is because really, I’m only using it on the times when I feel like it’s a lot and I need to get that off of my chest. So it gets out of my body by writing it somewhere. Also, because I’m actually writing or typing, I start to see a lot of common threads, which becomes a huge aha. I can see when I’m saying something a lot. 

Like earlier this year, I was going through a lot of change in my business and personally. And I started catching how much I was writing down, “what if this isn’t just a busy season” and I was reading a lot of frustrations with my team. 

I kept saying the same things over and over again, which means that this isn’t temporary. And it’s not just a season and it’s up to you to solve it. That gave me a huge aha. Now we have completely flipped the team in the past month. It completely changed that area of my business. But originally, it was because I was getting so much anxiety when I was having calls and things weren’t getting done. I started looking at what it was that I was worried about and it kept coming back to not feeling stable in this area of my business. And it’s reflected in how I’m showing up and I just can’t afford to have this continue. 

It’s not just a one-off thing. I start to see certain patterns and now it’s a choice if I want to break the pattern and what work I’m willing to put in to do that.

I start to see certain patterns and now it's a choice if I want to break the pattern and what work I'm willing to put in to do that. Click To Tweet

I think it’s good to process things, however, you process them. I’m a writer at heart, so I like to process things by writing them down, which is why I journal fairly regularly. Sometimes I do what I call “stream of consciousness”. Usually, when I sit down to journal, I have something I want to talk about or work out and I process it better by getting it down on paper.

I also call it “rage journaling”. I don’t really know what I want to talk about, but I’m feeling anxious and there are a billion things going on in my head and I want to write them all out. So I will write them out, stream of consciousness style, spelling errors, whatever happens is fine. And I do notice patterns that way. 

You can also send yourself a voice memo. Record yourself doing a brain dump. Whatever it is, however you process things, it’s just important to process them. And then you can recognize patterns, which is really helpful for you to decide if this is a thing that really needs to be addressed. 

Is it broken? Or is this a one-off thing that I can fix? Process your feelings. Feel them and process them. 

When you have anxiety and you get into that state, it really does feel like a jumble of things going on in your brain and until you can focus yourself in whatever way works best for you and get it out of your brain, they float around in there and it’s difficult to pinpoint it until you allow yourself to process it. 

If I’m only trying to think through these thoughts, it doesn’t work for me because that’s not how I process things. If I only intellectualize my thoughts without writing them down, it won’t work for me because they’re going to continue to swirl around up there until I do the thing that works. So definitely get your shit out of your body, look at it, and then you can make a choice about whether or not you want to deal with it or not.

Yes, also being self-aware enough to understand whatever’s coming up. If it’s something that’s repeated, then maybe you need help with that. Maybe working through it yourself is not enough. So whether you need therapists or a mindset coach or a different way to be able to express that and work through it, then you can do that. 

Sometimes it’s a matter of noticing this thing keeps coming up and I think I’m going to work on it, but I’m not. So then I go and hire someone. I have to pay someone to make me work and do my own stuff. That gives a level of accountability. 

Sometimes, depending on the topic, it’s too heavy for me to work through. I can’t do it by myself, because I need somebody else to help guide me through it and things like that. So if I do see something repetitive, sometimes that is a call for me to go get support. Because one, I’m not taking care of it no matter how many books I bought or I’m actually not the best person to do it alone. It needs professional guidance.

So if I do see something repetitive, sometimes that is a call for me to go get support. Click To Tweet

That’s a good point. Because anything self-help out there that says “change your thoughts” and to “think positive”, I believe is trash. So much so that I did a whole episode about it

There are certain things, like you said, that we cannot work through on our own. There’s probably childhood trauma that you can’t change your thoughts about. There could be relationship trauma you can’t change your thoughts about. There could be money trauma. Sometimes there are things you can’t work through on your own and trying to tell yourself that you have to work through it on your own, or that you should be able to, is detrimental. 

You need support from someone else who knows more about what you are experiencing than you do. You understand your experience, but you don’t necessarily understand how to move through it. You don’t necessarily understand what caused it or why you can’t move through it. And to do that you need to hire a person, which could be a mindset coach, a life coach, a therapist, whoever that person is for you. If you have tried to move through it on your own, and you cannot, that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It just means you need to find the person who can help you and you alone are not it. And that’s okay.

You don’t know what you don’t know. I would have never asked the question that way or would have thought these things connect in a certain way and that now gives me more clarity because I was seven and I had no idea this stuff existed in my life.

Oh, my God. There are moments when I’ve been in therapy and my therapist was like, Well, have you ever considered xyz? No, I have never considered that before. Well, I think that might be actually what’s going on here and what do you think about that? I think you just broke my brain a little bit, right? 

It’s a totally different perspective. You put three people in the same room and tell them all the same story. And you’re going to have three different reactions because they’re going to perceive things differently. That’s what’s so helpful about going to therapy or having a solid friend group, It’s so valuable to have that. 

Absolutely. 

So what else do we need to know about anxiety and using it as a tool for progress and change in your business?

I remember when I was talking to my therapist at the beginning of getting started and she said you have high functioning anxiety. And I was like, what does that mean? And then after we got off our session, I saw a reel of myself dancing all over, and then I understood.  

I think the biggest thing to understand is that we all go through either that exact feeling or a similar feeling. So many times, people think that they are either alone or that they’re the only ones that are experiencing this. There’s something wrong with me, but it’s not at all. I think the more that can be a reminder, to start that journey of initial awareness, then it’s the exploration of what is happening here, and then your solution.

You have to be at a point where first you’re okay with being you. It’s okay, I have anxiety and it rears its ugly head. You want to work with it. But it comes up for me and I am going to work with it. I’m not alone. There are other people who navigate this at their own different levels and it means nothing about me either way. It’s part of my life. I think even that has power to it.

I think the biggest thing to understand is that we all go through either that exact feeling or a similar feeling. So many times, people think that they are either alone or that they're the only ones that are experiencing this. Click To Tweet

Absolutely. I was watching or reading something, where somebody who was a psychologist was giving a talk about how people who are neurodivergent, which I would consider anxiety and depression a part of neurodiversity because it literally rewires your brain. I’m not a doctor, disclaimer. I personally, as a non-doctor, would consider that neurodiversity. I do think there’s like a growing body of research to back me up on this, but I digress. 

This psychologist was basically saying that people who are neurodivergent, so ADHD, anxiety, depression, whatever, tend to make their baseline of good equal their best day. On the days where you are totally firing on all cylinders and you feel really good and you’re getting a whole bunch of stuff done, you’re very productive, they tend to make that their baseline. So all the days where they’re not meeting that because they’re struggling with whatever their neurodiversity is, they feel like shit about themselves. 

I think that’s super important for any human to think about when they’re thinking about that. But also, for people with anxiety, those days where you’re not feeling anxious, and you’re able to get everything done, and you don’t have anything standing in your way and you don’t have that tightness in your chest, or the racing thoughts or the inability to sit still and stop fiddling…those don’t have to be your baseline for how you function in the world. Your baseline bar can be down here. It doesn’t have to be up here in the clouds for you to be able to function. And your baseline changes every day. 

Meet yourself where you are, which is the point of learning how to identify this feeling in yourself and how to work through it without making yourself wrong for having it. That’s the beauty of being able to meet yourself where you are. Because it’s so important for you to be able to have growth. If you have a day where you’re really, really anxious, beating yourself up for being really, really anxious is not going to help you stop being anxious. And so you have to meet yourself where you are every day. That is such an important thing to remember. Establish a baseline for every day and just make that okay. 

Especially because we are running businesses, too. 

It wasn’t second nature for me to take care of myself or slow down or do any of that. So I would keep setting up these little mini-systems until it became natural and then I could work on something else. But it was a list of like, what are things that make me feel good? What personally makes me feel like a rock star just because I did it? For me, I like drives in the car. I love a good drive to nowhere or taking walks. Anything in nature, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s not winter because I’m a baby and I don’t want to be cold. 

I started listing it and I’ve had clients that ask how are you so consistent with working out. For me, it’s not the reason that most people are aiming for. It’s literally moving my body. I don’t really care what capacity it is. Sometimes I want to make myself laugh so I’m going to try a dance thing. I can’t dance for anything but I’m just having fun with my body. And other times I’m walking and other times I’m training for a run. It depends on the season and what I want in life, but it’s only because of that list of the things that make you feel good. 

So if my baseline for that day is like, I just don’t have the capacity to be doing work or things that require high brain function then I look at the list of things that will get me back to whatever it is I’m aiming for. 

I look at that list as a menu that I can pick anything on it to do today, because I wrote them all, knowing they all make me feel good. So you can do any of these things. And it’s okay because it’s taking care of you. And then instead of trying to force myself to get this thing done, the most productive thing I can do is take care of my energy. How do I do that? Anything on this list? I get to choose. 

And then instead of trying to force myself to get this thing done, the most productive thing I can do is take care of my energy. Click To Tweet

That is me actually being productive that day because I have to take care of myself. Then I can show up. 

You have those days where you fire through everything. It’s also part of why my business is structured the way it is. When I talk about scalable offers and things like that, it’s because I want a business that is set up for me not to be in the mood to show up. I have a lot of evergreen content and a lot of stuff like that. Because the days I don’t want to show up, somebody from the team can handle it and it looks like I’m there, but I’m not.

Yeah, exactly. I love what you said about finding what works for you because meditating daily was a goal that I had for myself this year. And I’ve just been stacking my habits all year long and that has worked really well except for flossing. I still hate that. Sorry, teeth. 

But meditating is something I wanted to do. What’s that thing where you don’t see pictures but you hear words in your head? Like a running dialogue. A Fantasia or something like that. For me, sitting there in quiet meditation, where I’m not busy doing something else is nearly impossible for me. 

I spent the first six months of this year forcing myself to sit there for at least five minutes every single morning, trying to quiet my mind. It was fucking torture for me. At some time in the summer, I was like, why am I doing this? What if I found another activity? A very low-key one that you don’t have to concentrate on and I will listen to music on the meditation app while I do this low-key activity. And I’m telling you, it was a game-changer because the music is playing in the background. So it signals to my brain that we’re doing something different. It’s just instrumental rain sounds or some sort of Tibetan singing bowl and then I color. It is the most relaxing 20 minutes of my entire day. And I’m not actually thinking stuff. Because my brain is busy enough coloring that it is actually quiet, which is great. 

I’m not sitting there berating myself for not being able to be quiet. I’m getting all the benefits of doing it, but doing it in a way that works for me. If you’re exercising because you feel like you should exercise, that’s probably not going to be as enjoyable as if you did Zumba. Whether you like to dance or go for a long walk, you have to find the thing that works for you. Don’t “should” yourself. It won’t work.

Don't “should” yourself. It won't work. Click To Tweet

No, not at all.

And forcing yourself to push through rather than take a break is the thing you did before. So don’t do that. We’re breaking that pattern. And we’re done with it. 

It takes so much longer to do anything that you’re doing because you’ve been in that point where you don’t feel like writing and you force yourself to write. You’re like oh my god, it took me two hours for one page. Whereas, if you’re in your zone, you just wrote 10 pages without thinking about it. How did that happen? It’s because you honored where the energy was that day.

Absolutely every single scene of every book I’ve ever written, if I forced myself to write it, I rewrote it later. Because none of it flows. I’m not in the creative space I need to be to write that scene. 

I have ways now to get myself into a creative space, which usually involve taking a deep breath, going for a quick walk, stretching, doing a couple yoga poses, eating a chocolate chip, whatever it is, I have ways to get myself into that space. But if I don’t try those ways first, forget about it. I would rather pause for 10 minutes and do the thing and write a better book than think I don’t have time to take a 10 minute break and write and then have to write it all again anyways. Waste of time.

Exactly. You just doubled or tripled your time. Because you wouldn’t take 10 minutes, now you took three hours.

Damn, no one ever said it to me like that before. Now I definitely can’t do that.

So learn how to feel your feelings. It is not easy, but it is necessary for this process. Get curious about what the thoughts are behind the feelings and then take breaks when you need to write. 

That’s how you turn your anxiety into a superpower. Not get rid of it. It’s not going anywhere. But you’re working with it instead of against it, which changes the game.

Absolutely.

Well, this is fantastic, as are you. So glad we finally got to do this. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you for having me.

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About Jessica Rodriguez

As the CEO of Freedom Driven Success, Jessica Rodriguez is on an unapologetic mission to help online businesses expand beyond a 1:1 reliant business model with scalable offers that allow them to amplify their impact and profit, without increasing their work hours.

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