Why Does Entrepreneurship Feel Like Such An Emotional Rollercoaster?

Have you ever experienced exhilarating highs one moment and complete frustration the next?
 
New entrepreneurs, coaches, and practitioners spend 90% of their time doing nothing but wrestling with their own thoughts and emotions. Struggling to keep focused, worrying about what’s happened or what’s about to happen.
 
This is the survival stage of a new business. No consistency, no predictability or certainty. Everything is up in the air, there are no guarantees, and you are making your best guesses as to what to do next. Hence, why it can feel like an emotional rollercoaster…sometimes all within one single day!
 
It can get the best of us and if we aren’t careful it can make us question why we got into this in the first place.
 
So, why does this happen?
 

You have 3 brains…all conflicting with one another over their own needs, like young siblings who can never quite get along.


That’s right, you have three different storylines going on all the time between each of these 3 brains. Good news and bad news….
 
1. You’re not crazy! Everything can be explained by your survival needs: why you do what you do, who you’ve become and why, what’s getting in the way of you making progress, etc.
 
2. To get the results you want and to experience less and less of the emotional rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship…the more you need to understand how you’re wired.
 
If you’ve followed me for some time now you know one of the key principles of the work for me is: You are hardwired for safety and survival, not performance. 
 
So, let’s look at these 3 brains that are all competing to run the show.

1. The Reptilian Brain 

This is your first brain to develop and is most concerned with survival and safety. It is constantly surveying your environment (internally and externally) for possible threats AND perceived threats to your safety.

This brain is highly emotional, reactive, and instinctual.
Your natural instincts to fight, flight, or flee when your brain senses danger is all on autopilot – you don’t have to think about it – because in the presence of danger your brain does not want to sit around and waste time thinking about how to react to a perceived threat. Reactions need to be fast and automatic.
 
This brain wants things to stay the same. 
 
Asks: Is this safe? Will I survive this? How dangerous is this?

2. The Mammalian Brain

This is your second brain to develop and is most concerned with a sense of belonging and feeling connected to your tribe for safety and survival. This brain is more about emotions and stories associated with events, and how we interact with others (social inclusion and exclusion).
 
This brain also wants things to stay the same and requires bonding and experiences. 
 
Asks: Will I be judged? Will this get me excommunicated from the tribe?

3. The Human Brain 

This is your ‘newest’ brain and is most concerned with future potential, thriving, and goal achievement. This brain is more logical, analytical, rational, reasoning, and forward thinking than the first two brains. Making good choices comes from the human brain.
 
And here’s the challenge…you don’t get to access growth or thrive if your surviving and you don’t make good choices when you are surviving.
 
This brain wants things to change!
 
…Yet, change is a threat to the brain that runs the show 95% of the time.
 
Asks: What is possible? Where is the opportunity? What do I really want?

ONE business, THREE brains.

And you thought it was hard enough just to keep your spouse or partner happy…try appeasing all three of your own brains!


How do perceived threats to your ‘survival’ show up in your business?

  • Not having enough money to pay the bills.
  • Feeling rejected when a client doesn’t want to work with you.
  • Scared to put yourself and your work out there.
  • Clients discontinuing their work with you.
  • If you stop working you don’t get paid.
  • Your family and close friends don’t understand why you are risking working for yourself.
  • Taking it personally and emotionally reacting disproportionately to the event.

When starting a new business or practice everything is new. Your brain craves predictability and patterns to feel safe, which you have none at the beginning of a new business. Your brain has no pre-existing “MAP” for what to do which is why your survival brain can go into overdrive causing emotional and mental highs and lows.
 
Your human brain wants to feel successful and achieves future goals, while your reptilian brain would much prefer to keep you exactly where you are because at least it’s predictable and familiar. It’s like a tug of rope war between your hardwiring (autopilot, habitual responses) and your future self (new goals and dreams) which are foreign, unpredictable, and uncertain…therefore not safe to attempt.

In a lot of ways, your own brain can keep you trapped.
 
In order to grow your business and start to see new results, you must become aware of those unconscious, automatic, habitual roots that are running your business (whether you know it or not).
 
Being a successful entrepreneur is about re-training yourself and rewiring yourself. The habit of being you is what is keeping you stuck, which is why simply DOING more or working HARDER are never the answers for getting the results you want. Until you start to shake up the unconscious, autopilot self you live with that makes 95% of your decisions for you, you will find yourself falling back to your old level of being and wondering why you can’t grow your business.
 

It’s a delicate balance of being aware of what your brain needs to feel safe and re-training or rewiring yourself out of conditioned, unconscious patterns that are keeping you where you are so that you can reach your goals.


Your business is 100% reflection of which brain you are living in at any given moment. I have attached an infographic I made in hopes that it will further help you understand this article. I am simplifying the underbelly of how your brain works, but I hope this makes you feel less crazy about the emotional ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.
 
Riding the waves is exhausting, moving out of it requires being proactive about self-mastery and self-awareness and understanding the roots to what’s driving your results (the good and the not so good).
 
If you want more on this kind of topic,  you can register for my upcoming FREE Masterclass where I will dive deeper into how to train yourself and rewire yourself for success so that you can stop feeling stuck and start reaching your goals. 

To Your Success,
Christine Wilborn 

3 Brains Infograph 2018.png