The Cure For Launch Freakout

We’ve all at one time or another invested an immense amount of time, energy and care into a project.

It could be a new book, a website or your first product. Whatever it is, you’ve poured your heart and soul into it. You’ve put love and attention into every detail so nothing is overlooked or unattended to.

Now it’s the final hour. It’s time to actually push the button. It’s time to hit publish or announce your grand opening.

And… you’re absolutely freaking out.

All that visualization of success you did for weeks? Not helping you one bit today. All of your meticulous preparations? You’re second guessing them.

In that culminating crux moment when you’re about to release, you wonder if you’ve really got what it takes. Did you do enough? Did you care enough? Did you do everything you could to make this great?

You secretly know the answer is Yes. You did everything you could. But no matter how much you prepare, you still can’t avoid the final freak out moment.

Here’s what I do when I’m losing my mind about to launch:

  • I review my intentions. Why am I doing this? Why does it really matter to me?
  • I get grounded. All of my wild aspirations and fantasies about how successful something could be are nice. But in order to make sure I acknowledge my success, I need to be grounded in what success and fulfillment really means to me. And usually, that has a lot to do with giving everything I can.
  • I release my expectations. Over and over I’ve found that the more I need something to work, the rarer it is that it actually does. My obsessive desire for something to succeed ends up choking off and restricting the very energy that I’m trying to expand. If you want to expand, you have to let go.
  • I decide how I want to feel. Yes, feeling the way you want to feel can be deliberate. I generally want to feel awesome, so I try to choose that as much as possible.
“Whenever I’m freaking out, I stop freaking out and be awesome instead.” Click to Tweet.

This is what I do to keep calm and stay rooted when I’m going insane about a launch.

How about you? What do you do when you’re freaking out about something you really care about?

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Bruno Coelho August 23, 2012 at 8:03 am

Jonathan,

One of the things that I like most about you is that you’re never afraid of sharing your human side, including your insecurities! That’s what makes it so easy, for me and I suspect for a lot of people, to connect with you!

For me personally, I found a way to handle through prayer. You see, I noticed that every time I started to freak out was because I was trying to do everything ALL by myself and using ALL my strength. Then I realized, that I’m not using all my strength until I tap into all the energy and support that’s *within* me and *around* me. I find that energy and support in God, my wife and family.

After years of studying and researching what it takes to be Successful, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that we have to know all the answers and don’t having any doubts about anything.

Not true!

That’s just my EGO that’s getting in my way. Accepting that I don’t have all the answers doesn’t make me weak, because that doesn’t matter. What matters is if you know how to find those answers (including knowing someone who knows it).

Regarding the fear of what will happen, in my case, I believe that it’s attached to the belief that if it doesn’t work it means that I AM a failure. That’s also not true! This is more related to the fear of what other’s will think or judge than anything else…

I try to remember myself that the only place where fear exists is inside our heads. It’s an emotional thing based in, what many times proves to be, false evidence or self-limiting beliefs.

My belief is that true Success is knowing that we’ve went beyond our own limits of what we believed we were capable of. We invested all our energy and spirit into all our actions. We learned with what worked and what doesn’t to make us stronger and evolve to the next level.
And above all else, I remember that Glory – which is having the courage to live and die for our legacy in the World, is always at our reach.

Thank you for sharing ways to overcome our fears!

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Jonathan August 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm

That’s awesome Bruno, thanks for sharing that. You’re right, we don’t have to do it all ourselves. And I think when we have that mindset we sell ourselves short and fail to reach our real potential.

Aalok Parikh August 23, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Thanks Bruno, It’s almost same feelings about the launch.
And the way you try to cope-up with it is awesome :).

Lori Stalter August 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Thanks for the reminder, Jonathan!

I’ve been a bit stressed this week. I stopped and took lots of slow deep breaths and remembered why I started this journey. The situation always is what we bring to it and how we decide to react to it.

Here’s to keeping the passion alive and enjoying the journey!

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Jonathan August 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Breathing is always a good idea, in most situations.

Pam August 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Thank you for this post, Jonathan. As always, you bring to the forefront what so many fail to say clearly.

As far a launch freak-outs (and hesitating for so many years and so many other websites) I finally just bit the bullet and released/announced my website – and this came only after I released all expectations. Was it totally finished? Was it perfect? Am I still working on it? No, no and yes! I found that I would NEVER launch unless I just went ahead and did it, releasing all expectations of what others would think.

And I feel pretty awesome about it.

And grateful.

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Jonathan August 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I think the hardest part about launching anything is that it could always be improved. But at some point you just have to let go and accept that you can always evolve and iterate new versions later.

Cara Stein August 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm

I have been the queen of launch freakout, so much so that I really never wanted to launch anything ever again and had to drag myself kicking and screaming to make myself do it the last time. (Always a recipe for great results–not!) Seriously, there must be something about my personality that makes launching much more agonizing for me than for most people. If everyone suffered this much, I can’t imagine they’d do it more than once or twice.

I think what makes it hard for me is having a hard time separating effort from expectations. I’ll work like a madman if I think something great is going to come of it, and I can stand a total, utter lack of anything if only I don’t have to do anything. But to keep working while the results are falling far short of expectations is agony. And I always despair prematurely.

The way I coped with this on my last launch was to do set up everything I possibly could beforehand. All those launch week emails and tweets? Get those queued up before launch day. And then I had a friend agree to handle customer service for me, or at least monitor everything for me so I didn’t have to torture myself with watching while nothing was happening.

I think the ideal would be to be so zen, you could be happy and confident no matter what happened during the launch, and be totally able to work your butt off while detaching yourself from expectations. I hope I get there before I die. Until then, I’m just trying to make things as gentle on myself as possible.

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Philippe August 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I personally feel in alignment with all that you said. That’s one of the reason I have been following what you do.

I know I can step into my belief (or awesomeness) whenever I need to, despite the fear.
Grounding also is a crucial issue for me. It’s important that I do the things I do for the good reasons and that I always keep the business in the place it needs to be so that I never make it more important than myself.

Asking myself how I want to feel also is an important element. This is rather new for me. Same for stepping into my awesomeness actually (at least, to the degree I have been able to do so lately)

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Meghan K August 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Whenever I am too attached to the outcome of a business initiative, struggles seem to pop up out of nowhere. Thanks for the reminder that “going with the flow” is always the best bet. I really appreciate your candidness:)

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Aalok Parikh August 23, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Thanks Jonathan, This is one of the great article about the ways to defeat or overcome of your fears.
I love the way you did it and will try those ways to overcome of my fears :)

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Rachel Colis August 23, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Jonathan,
I love this post. I think you are spot on that getting grounded and connecting with your intention are solid strategies!
I do want to suggest an alternative to feeling awesome though. Which is to feel compassion for yourself. This precious human being who is risking rejection and failure because you care enough to create something that matters.
Keep up the great work!

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Dave Everitt August 24, 2012 at 5:12 am

All my nerves happen just after starting work on something: ‘can I really do this?’ ‘Am I going to disappoint everyone?’ ‘Are people going to see through me and discover I’m a flake?’ ‘Can I keep going with this or will I give up?’ ‘What if I run out of money before I finish (I know, that one’s solve-able in advance)?’ but then, once I get on with whatever it is I need to deliver, I start to feel ‘I *can* actually do this—it might not be perfect but it’ll be good enough!’. Maybe that’s because I’m a coward, or play it safe and don’t take on anything that that stretches me too much? Or maybe I have my nerves fitted backwards?

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Des Vadgama August 24, 2012 at 7:46 am

Hi Jonathan

To minimize Launch Freakout, I do two things:

Get centred – closing eyes for a few seconds, deeper breathing

Prioritize – to focus on the ONE action that will help progress, positively

regards,
Des

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zan chandler August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Hi Jonathan,

Your points really resonate with me. They all underline how important it is to be grounded in the self. To understand your authentic self. Getting distracted by external matters takes you away from following your own path.

I’ve just finished another degree and started another new direction in my life. I’m happy to have made the change and to be on a path that engages and intrigues me. This new path has challenged long held assumptions about what motivates me, how I work and where I’m going. Along the way, I’ve had to put large and small parts of me out there in the world and each and every time I’ve had some sort of a freak out. I, like many others, suffer from imposter syndrome. Yet I know that my best work comes from interaction with other minds. I’ve had had to relearn this lesson many, many times.

When I start to freak out, I find myself returning to an insight from arts school. When agonizing about presenting an art work for critique I used to remind myself that it’s called an “art practice”and not an “art prefect”. While we may strive for perfection we do not start there and progress can only be made after you’ve taken the first step.

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Joshua Shanks August 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Ive never been brave enough to personally start something. Let alone feeling that it’s worth launching. Reading your article, it occurs to me, would I have been able to recognise the launch freak out and been able to connect the emotions to the event. I would say no and just felt uptight and perhaps one day it would have clicked. This article has highlighted another emotional trigger to be mindful of and options on how to deal with them. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your work. Josh

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Greg August 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Getting to a “state of mind” where you are “freaking out” could most likely be something to avoid. We keep looking for ways to trick our mind, to “never mind” our thinking. But you cannot fool your self. This has always been the crux of your articles, the way that you teach others how to accept what is going on, question their intentions, and then see that the problem is coming from a place within themselves and that once they understand that they can acknowledge what’s going on, have a list of questions or statements that change their focus, and then get clear on what their outcome is by being open to criticism by remaining flexible in their approach to how others react to the opening.Remember, you’ve done all the work, and yes, its your “baby”; but allow that birthing to have its moment, to grow, to see the possibilities, and even the problems. After all, that’s how WE grow as well. We’d never know how or what to adjust to if there weren’t some challenges to face. And isn’t that why we started on this voyage in the first place? We wanted to see if our learning, training, or understanding of the world was something the world could use. We can never be “wrong” in our conclusion, only open in our understanding. So, when beginning, start with the end in mind (Steven Covey), be flexible, and of course breathing is always worth looking in to.

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Jessica Barry August 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I just want to say that it’s great to hear that people have the same thoughts and fears and freak outs as I do. And to be reminded that it is all a process and to always have compassion for yourself and others. Thanks for this post.

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Lori Lynn Smith August 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Great strategy I try and use one very similar to this for all stressful events, launching a new products or dealing with in-laws :-)

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Jamie August 26, 2012 at 8:13 am

I’m just about to start writing an ebook for my blog and I can feel the fear already. Can I do it? Am I a good enough writer? Will anyone read it? I suppose we all go through similar emotions when starting something new.

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Turndog Millionaire August 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm

As someone with a few launches to come in the next year, this is something I worry about.

How will I cope?

How will I react?

Will I cry, lose my mind, drink enormous amounts of whisky????

I feel I might read this post a few more times :)

Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

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Nina September 7, 2012 at 5:37 am

I try to remember that my message is BIGGER than ME

Nina

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Mariana June 28, 2013 at 12:39 am

This post arrived in a very good timing! I am about to launch my book, and I am freaking out! Thanks a lot for your inspiration ;)

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Amber J. September 23, 2013 at 8:15 am

Ahhh this post is right on time! I’m in the process of tightening up the language for the “Work With Me” page for my site, and I’m definitely getting a little nervous about throwing it out there into the world. Finally, I’m about to make my “Offer To The World” known, and yes, it’s bit nerve wracking!

But exciting!!! Hope you are well Jonathan!

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