1. Describe the anxiety that comes with your role as an entrepreneur.
“Entrepreneurship is an uphill battle. It’s filled with roadblocks, pitfalls, and detours. Often times the pressure of validating an idea, building a quality project and service, and making sure I don’t lose sight of our core “why ” can become very overwhelming. If I’m not intentional, the weight of this pressure can cause me to work with a spirit of fear instead of a spirit of freedom, which unfortunately can rob me from the beauty found in the journey.” –Charlena Ortiz, Founder of Grit & Virtue, Instagram: @gritandvirtue
“Failing to evaluate where things are at and make sense of reality produces anxiety. It’s easy and often necessary to get really focused in one direction and bypass the evaluation of your reality for quite some time. But emotionally we know that a lot is happening and anxiety increases the longer we go on without evaluating our reality and making sense of it.” –Brandon Arbini, Cofounder and CEO of FLDWRK, Instagram: @fldwrktogether
“Anxiety at its root is fear. The entrepreneur has a fear of failure. They have a fear that their product won’t work, that they won’t be able to bring on customers, and that the customers they have will leave. They have a fear that they won’t be able to attract the right people to the team, they have a fear that their key employees will depart for greener pastures—and surely every other pasture must seem greener. Maybe more summarily they have a fear that they, an impostor who has taken on the mantle of successful entrepreneur, will be found out.” –Henry Kaestner cofounder of Bandwith.com and managing principal at Sovereign’s Capital.
2. How does that anxiety affect or threaten to affect your work and the rest of life?
“It can leave me preoccupied at times and not totally present with both my clients and my staff. It can leave me irritable with my staff and people in my life that I love. It can at rare times, interfere with sleep and an otherwise relaxing time off of work.” –Maureen O’Donnell, Licensed family therapist and founder of Arbor Family Counseling
“When anxiety runs high, it is very difficult for me to be fully present in any area of my life. In my family life, it has the potential to steal time away from my family even when I’m physically present with them. At work, it has the potential for me to ignore the needs or feelings of my coworkers. In my spiritual life, it has often carried the potential to alienate me from God because I am so focused on myself and my anxiety.” –Brandon
3. What practices help you manage anxiety as an entrepreneur?
“I have found that the absolute best way for me to manage anxiety is through set aside times of solitude, because it is in that solitude that I am able to reconnect with God. When you’re doing something new you are operating in an environment of extreme uncertainty. Asking God to lead through the uncertainty helps manage the anxiety. Therefore times designated solely for realigning my heart with His on a regular basis becomes increasingly important.” –Brandon
“As an extrovert, I verbally process with a handful of people regularly and it makes all the difference. I also have a lot of fun outside of work and exercise in many different ways. However, the number one practice is prayer. Depending on God takes a ton of stress off of me and always gives me hope.” –Maureen
“Why do we carry around anxiety, and why do we lean on our own identity and ego instead of our identity as a child of God? It’s because the worries of this world cause us to lose sight of the good news. We lose our ability to lead in a winsome way, and we lose the joy of the Gospel.
So the antidote is of course an overhaul of our identity. It comes from an internalized belief that the entrepreneur is beloved and adopted as a son or daughter with full inheritance rights regardless of how they do on a particular test, product roll out, or fundraise. And then, out of this right identity, the entrepreneur can begin to really work as worship—out of gratitude and with a sustainable sense of purpose, one that is winsome, one that gives life, one that is sustainable.” –Henry
4. Do you have any stories of your church supporting you in your work? Can you name any other ways you think the church could be supportive in light of the anxiety entrepreneurs experience?
“I am on a church prayer chain, which gives me great satisfaction and a line of help at all times, which I have used.” –Maureen
“I’ve been serving as a leader in church for over 15 years, so I’ve seen the mess, and challenges, that can come from leading a church. I’ve actually been on both sides of this spectrum when it comes to support and lack of support from my church. Without getting into too much detail, I was hurt pretty badly by my church leaders when it was time for me to pursue my calling in the marketplace. Instead of being supported, I was faced with a spirit of comparison. This was heartbreaking. What hurt me most was the thought of how many people had felt a lack of support when they embarked on an entrepreneurial journey.
However, I’ve also experienced the complete opposite. A church that fully supported my venture and calling into the marketplace. They made themselves available, prayed for my mission, and extended their influence. Their encouragement restored hope in my heart again!” –Charlena
“This summer my church is partnering with us to hold training for people with ideas that are considering entrepreneurship. We’ll be talking about the emotional and spiritual implications of starting something new and we hope to continue the support along the way.” –Brandon
Brandon Arbini is a software engineer by trade who thrives on developing systemized solutions to meet specific needs. As a founding partner or early stage employee in over 10 different startups and a board member of 2 non-profits, Brandon has intricate knowledge of the startup process in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. As cofounder and CEO of FLDWRK, Brandon is currently immersed in a world he loves…helping others take purposeful action on their meaningful ideas.
Henry Kaestner is a Co-Founder and previous CEO, and then Chairman of Bandwidth.com, a company that together with his business partner, David Morken, he has grown from $0 to $250 million in revenue. The values of Bandwidth.com have always been: Faith, Family, Work and Fitness (in that order). Bandwidth.com was the 4th fastest growing privately held company in the country from 2003 through 2007, a position it achieved without acquisition or institutional funding. Prior to co-founding Bandwidth.com Mr. Kaestner founded Chapel Hill Brokers (a predecessor to ICAP Energy), an institutional energy derivatives broker that became the top ranked electricity broker in the country. Mr. Kaestner has also been involved in a number of ministry and philanthropic activities. He co-founded DurhamCares, sits on the Board of Visitors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Board of Directors of Praxis, an accelerator committed to helping Faith driven entrepreneurs. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Bandwidth, Republic Wireless, CloudFactory, ThriveFarmers, First, and RevBoss. Additionally, Henry serves as an elder in the Presbyterian Church of America and lives in Los Gatos, CA with his wife Kimberley and their three sons.
Maureen O’Donnell has been trained in family systems therapy and uses it in her work with individuals, couples, children, teens, and their families. She believes that people act with courage as they reach out to a counselor, in that the decision involves embracing the unknown and being open to change. Maureen says, “I love to hear each person’s story when the begin counseling and to see how it develops as they tap into their own strength and resilience. I find that peoples’ best answers come from within themselves. It is an honor and a blessing to travel with people as they journey from feeling at their lowest, to discovering new areas of strength.” Maureen’s experience in employee assistance since 1985 has resulted in a special corporate training focus. She conducts a variety of training programs for both management and employees and thoroughly enjoys designing programs specifically for the needs of an organization. Maureen says, “I absolutely love working with an entire organization. I often find that people exceed their own expectations in their ability to participate in group wide positive change.” Maureen leads groups and efforts with administrators, managers, students, and employees.
Charlena Ortiz is the founder of Grit & Virtue, a company that exists to equip women on a mission to build unstoppable momentum, become spiritually confident and to never feel alone on the journey. A go-to place for modern-day women to thrive. Charlena studied Business and Marketing in college, and after went on to become a certified coach with a focus in Positive Psychology. Her heart and journey for helping women started many years ago. It took years of coaching women for her to realize that there was a need for a place where women can thrive holistically—which lead her to begin Grit & Virtue. Charlena is a hugger not a shaker, an introverted extrovert, and loves to challenge people beyond their comfort zones. She works closely with her husband Roberto to move G&V forward. They recently relocated to Boulder, Colorado after spending years working in the Silicon Valley and they’re loving every minute of it.