The Nitty-Gritty:

  • How coach and business strategist Jo Casey manages her anxiety as an entrepreneur
  • The situation that revealed just how big an impact anxiety had on how she ran her business
  • How setting clearer boundaries and doubling her rates helped to get back on track
  • Why she’s simplified her business as a way of managing her anxiety
  • The positive results she’s seen by making her anxiety conscious and working to manage it productively

Wait, my anxiety isn’t normal?

We were driving along Interstate 90 somewhere between Chicago and Minneapolis on the hottest day of the summer.

Sean asked me, “Can you remember a time when you didn’t feel anxious?”

I paused. I thought. I looked back over the key periods of my life.

“Well, no. I can’t remember a time I didn’t feel anxious,” I finally responded.

Honestly, I was surprised.

You see, I’ve spent my whole adolescent and adult life being hyper-aware of my history of depression. Even when I’m feeling good, I’m on the look out for the warning signs.

I realize that might sound a bit anxious all on its own—but looking for the warning signs has allowed me to get help before things got really bad a numbers of times.

I’ve spent the last 7 years or so fairly free of depressive episodes and generally considered my mental health to be strong.

So this realization that anxiety—that tight feeling in my chest, the lump at the pit of my stomach, the prickly skin, the whirling mind, the foreboding sense that at any moment things could all fall apart…

That realization that anxiety has always been with me and—get this—that it isn’t normal? **It was a shock.

As I started to examine the impact anxiety has had on me, I couldn’t help but see its presence all over my business.

Now, here’s the thing. You might be surprised to learn just how big an impact anxiety has had on me and my business over the years.

You probably don’t think of me as someone who struggles to make decisions or take action. You don’t think of me as someone nervous about stepping out of the shadows or making big moves.

But there is a whole category of anxiety that often presents in high-performers—the achievers, the doers, the make stuff happen people. It’s called High Functioning Anxiety.

Simply put, High Functioning Anxiety is the constant sense that everything will fall apart around you if you’re not performing at your highest capacity all the time. It’s mix of overdoing, overthinking, and over-achieving.

And listener? I would not be surprised if that sounds familiar to you.

I learned about High Functioning Anxiety from one of Yellow House Media’s podcasting clients, Nancy Jane Smith, and her show The Happier Approach.

Ever since I heard the concept, I can recognize my anxiety everywhere. I feel it when the hotel shuttle bus is making me late for my flight. I feel it when I receive an invitation to a party I’m expected to attend but don’t have the right outfit for. I feel it every time I hit send on an email or realize I’ve made a typo in a sales page. I feel it when I’m obsessing on a client situation or setting big goals for the business.

Of course, now that I can recognize it, I can do something about it.

But enough about me and my anxiety. Let’s talk about our guest and her anxiety.

Today, my guest is Jo Casey. Jo helps women build sustainable, meaningful businesses. She’s been coaching for over 16 years and focuses on empathy, ethics, and empowerment to change the culture and conversation around business.

Like me, Jo also lives with anxiety and depression.

And like me, once Jo recognized how anxiety was impacting her business, she realized she could do something about it.

This conversation is all about what she’s done to manage her anxiety as an entrepreneur—everything from doubling her rates, to creating stronger boundaries, to prioritizing time with her family and for her other passions, to simplifying her business model.

Jo and I also talk about the situation that brought her to terms with how much her anxiety was controlling her business and how she takes care of herself knowing her anxiety is never fully going away.

Now, let’s find out what works for Jo Casey!