- The Pitch Insider
- The Anxious Founder
The Anxious Founder
The Source of Anxiety + What to Do About it
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Vol. 1 Issue 7
Let me tell you a story about David Matthews.
When we chose David to be on The Pitch Josh said, "This guy is gonna nail it. He is one of the best fundraisers I’ve seen."
It’s true. David was extremely well prepared. But he arrived at the studio with a major case of anxiety. The pressure of fundraising is no joke.
So we gave him tequila shots and invited him to meet the investors… BEFORE his pitch. This is not the typical order of events.
You can see in the videos David reads his pitch from his phone because he’s so nervous.
This guy is amazing at fundraising! And he had a panic attack before his pitch.
The entrepreneurial journey is not for the faint of heart. Last fall while fundraising for The Pitch, my Apple Watch notified me of an "increased resting heart rate." I was not coping well.
These are not isolated cases. Many of you could tell me your own stories of anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.
Through my own struggles with anxiety, I eventually discovered the underlying issue: control. The source of anxiety is lack of control.
As much as we want to, we cannot control everything. The world was slapped in the face with that fact when Covid came on the scene. Everyone realized we have way less control than we think. And mental health spiraled.
As founders, CEOs, and decision-makers, it may seem like we have all the control in the room. But when you step in front of an investor and ask for money you realize they hold the power to make or break your business.
Anxiety and hopelessness can easily slip in when we realize we don't have the power to ensure success.
I think there is so much power in simply recognizing the problem.
Problem: “I don't have control over the investor’s decision.”
Solution: Determine where you have control.
“I can control my pitch and craft it specific to each investor.”
“I can control my sleep, my rest, my food, my exercise...”
The goal isn't to become obsessive about finding things to control - that leads to more disorder. The goal is to have realistic expectations of what you can control and what you can't.
Ultimately, you do your best and release the rest. That has to be enough. You can't control anyone else.
There will still be difficult moments, but you can choose to look for gifts in the hard times. In David’s case it was human connection.
In the midst of David’s anxiety, Josh and I tried whatever we could to help - I’m not sure if tequila was the right move, but you work with what you've got!
In the end, the experience of going through something intense together - and dealing with it together - strengthened our relationship in a big way.
David came in as an acquaintance. He walked out as a friend.
You’re not alone if you’re a founder experiencing anxiety.
Determine what you can control and release the rest.
You will still have hard moments. That’s okay. Choose to find the gifts in those moments.
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Coming Up Next
Next week’s founder is looking to find a problem for his solution… Yes, you read that right. (Episodes drop Wednesday. The Pitch Insider publishes Fridays. Follow The Pitch wherever you get your podcasts.)
I love this #startup show. @thepitchshow is a little like Shark Tank, only good and without egos.
They don’t overdramatize. It’s just good stuff.
— Nick Rishwain (@NickJRishwain)
Mar 8, 2023
10 yrs ago, “pre-seed investing” didn’t exist. Then Charles Hudson @chudson jumpstarted the industry. Next Wed, we’ll talk about:
-isn’t pre-seed investing risky?
-what tips does he have for pre-seed founders pitching?
& more! Join us & bring your qs!
— Elizabeth Yin 💛 (@dunkhippo33)
Mar 8, 2023
bought back @thepitchshow so he could make endless transition puns without any editorial oversight
And I am here for it!
— Michael Barnes 🏡 (@PolicyRiot)
Mar 5, 2023