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That One Time I Didn’t Die On A Cruise Ship (#IndieCruise 2015)

I promise, I’m not being dramatic. But a little background story would probably be helpful, right?

I am pretty transparent about my mental health, so I don’t mind telling you that I am a full-blooded officially diagnosed anxiety mess. A lot of things kick my anxiety into high gear, and I’ve worked really hard on jumping over the obstacles that anxiety throws in my way. From small spaces, to huge crowds, to meeting new people, to public speaking, there are a ton of common business situations that throw my anxiety into full steam ahead.

I’ve made tremendous strides by putting myself out there and doing previously crazy-for-me things, like hosting Central Soapers Workshop, creating YouTube videos, or filming myself for my online courses. However, I know that I’m not anxiety free and clear, and I do need to keep pushing myself.

Freedom of the Seas Cruise Ship in the Bahamas
Freedom of the Seas, the cruise ship we were on, hanging out in the Bahamas while we enjoyed the beach

In February, I made a pretty big leap by hopping aboard #IndieCruise 2015, the annual cruise mastermind experience hosted by Indie Business Network.

Small spaces that I have no control over? Check. Thousands of people I don’t know? Check. Inability to jump ship without dying? Yeah, totally.

While #IndieCruise was fabulous, (and I would highly recommend anything to do with IBN,) it was a true test for me. By the end of the seven day cruise, I was pretty much curled in a ball, sleeping for ten-plus hours a day (so unlike me!).

However, I survived. That’s the important part, right?

And what does that have to do with business? Or anything else for that matter?

Well, my lovely soaperstar, it has a lot to do with it. Despite my little-bit-different brain chemistry, I know that we all all have fears and that we all deal with Anxiety (with a capital-A.)

We might experience anxiety because we’re launching a company. We’re quitting our day job. We’re launching a product. We’re sending an email newsletter. We’re writing our About page. We’re making a sales call. We’re standing behind a craft show booth. We’re getting on a boat with thousands of strangers, with no way to call home or get off the ship. (Okay, maybe that was just me.)

Whatever it is that shakes you up and makes your world spin out, sits on your chest like a 5 ton elephant, or crawls up under your skin and eats you up inside. Whatever it is, it’s Anxiety. And there is not a single person I have ever met in my entire life that doesn’t deal with it sometimes.

The good news is that anxiety is a result of our natural fight or flight response where we perceive a threat. (Yes, this is good news!)

Last I checked, we’re not man-handling sabertooth tigers (even though, sometimes, it might feel like we are.) All those normal business situations I listed up there? None of those can actually directly cause us bodily harm. And neither does getting on a cruise ship.

So, how do we deal? For me, I subscribe to the mind over matter philosophy. I remind myself that this nonsense can’t actually hurt me. That I am still alive and kicking. I take a deep breath or two (or ten) and jump. Metaphorically, that is.

Donna Maria and I Before We Set Sail on #IndieCruise
Donna Maria and I, before we set sail on #IndieCruise

At one point while on #IndieCruise, I found myself in an elevator with Donna Maria (I used to avoid elevators like the plague), and we were chatting about all of this Anxiety business.

As I was focusing on my breathing, (and trying to stay present in the conversation at the same time!) I told her what was going through my head at that moment: I’m okay, nothing is going to hurt me, everything is okay.

I don’t recall the exact ridiculously supportive and compassionate comment she made, but you know there was one, because hey, that’s Donna Maria.

And that pretty much sums up my seven days of #IndieCruise experience: A lot of self-reassurance, breathing, and kicking the limits of my comfort zone while being surrounded by some of the most supportive and wonderful women I have ever met.

The amazing views, valuable mastermind sessions, and delicious food were all top-notch, but nothing can hold a candle to crossing off an item on my “Things I Think Might Kill Me, But I’m Going To Do Them Anyways” list.

Whatever it is that is holding you back right now… whether it’s making that sales call for the wholesale account you really want or launching your soap company… pretty please join me in saying: Screw this. It can’t hurt me. Take that Leap of Faith. (If I have to, I’ll push you off the cliff, too – I’m really good at that.)

At Central Soapers Workshop 2015, I decided to jump into a talk about business communications for the same reason I boarded that cruise ship: to share and shed light on anxiety, to push my boundaries, and to allow others to learn through me. (I promise it won’t take me a month and half to blog on that one. Coming Soon™)

For now, I can’t possibly leave this post without sharing some of the aforementioned gorgeous views and fabulous Indies I met, right? Here we go:

*(And if you need real deal anxiety help, click right here… because I’m not advocating for panic attacks or any of that nonsense.)

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10 Responses

  1. I’m so glad you went & had a good time! Do you read Epbot? She talks about her anxiety sometimes & it makes me so encouraged by all of you who push themselves all the time to do what you love despite the Anxiety! Can’t wait for that blog post 🙂

  2. Kenna so glad you came along for the ride and that you did not jump ship! Was such fun we had on that sail boat and on the cruise. Here’s to deep breathing that we all do to get us through the tight places in life and awesome post! Marilyn

  3. Kenna, you are my hero. Like, seriously. I also have bi-polar-(rapid cycling type 2–heavy on the depression) disorder with a bit of PTSD and GAD thrown in for kicks. Reading your blog is so inspiring to me. I dance with anxiety daily and my mantra is the same for coping–“It’s a moment, I can survive this, I can do this.” Just thank you for being you and sharing so much.

  4. Well, it’s official. You rock! I’ve always felt you were a rockstar. Yes, you make gorgeous soap, but that didn’t make you awesome. You share. Information, tips and tricks…while that is awesome, your generosity of self, is what makes you awesome.sharing more of yourself, helping countless others that struggle with these issues, is what truly makes you something special. I thank you for that. One of my anxiety mantras is, “feeling isn’t always fact”
    Truly grateful,

  5. This was inspiring to read. I have a panic disorder and Agoraphobia to put the cherry on top! I have really been wanting to go to a local trade show with my soaps and body butters but I have yet to find the courage to dip my toe into that water. I know I am going to have to show my face if I ever want to get my soap out there. I hope I find the courage that you have in dealing with this. I want to kick it’s ass, but I am letting it kick mine.

  6. thank you so much for writing so openly about your experience! Its so nice to see that real successful people have these issues too. Recently, I went through an odd situation and had some bad feelings about it. was feeling guilt,anxiety and for me, it all comes down to fear. But I too did ‘the work ‘ and changed my feelings and thoughts. Thanks again for your honesty.

  7. Hi Kenna, I hope you are well, I’ve been missing your articles, you are such a generous person with all your knowledge and I thank you for that. Take care and please don’t forget your followers

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