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We Can Do Scared

Written By: Lauren Howard

I started a new business and also started having panic attacks. 

Makes sense, right? That’s a lot of responsibility, new payroll, a model that hasn’t been tested before . . . any of that alone could be enough to cause severe anxiety. 

But it wasn’t that. 

It wasn’t the workload. 

It wasn’t the chaos. 

It wasn’t the uncertainty. 

I thrive in all of those environments. 

It wasn’t being fully in charge of an entire workforce. 

It wasn’t the endless list of to-dos and did-I-do-thats that seemed to get exponentially longer every time we knocked one off. 

It wasn’t even all the people-ing I had to do to get the word out and get people hired. 

Again, I was living for all of that. 

There was what felt like a mile-long list of very reasonable things that could have been waking me up from a dead sleep with dread in the pit of my stomach. 

Typical me, I won't tell my best friend, but I will tell the whole internet.

It wasn’t any of those things. 

It was the dress. 

Or pantsuit. Or jumpsuit. Or whatever thing I would eventually pick out to wear to the party that I CHOSE to have. 

The big party for LBee Health that I have been hyping at every chance? 

Yeah. That one. 

I was ready to don the hard pants to celebrate what we are building. It’s a special occasion that requires special pants, and I am ALL IN.

But there was a voice in the back of my head that had other things to say. Things that were really what I was thinking about while we were planning. 

It was the pervasive, somehow quiet but also incredibly loud voice telling me that you can’t both be smart and out of shape. It was the pictures that I would have commemorating . . . all of this. 

It’s the thoughts that other people would have about the weight that illness, fertility treatments and children have put on my body. 

Also, cheeseburgers. There were a few of those. 

It’s the worry that people would be disappointed. Trust me less. Think I was less capable because I am no longer a size zero.

There was the urge to crash diet, the need to try to control the uncontrollable, the guilt, and the shame. 

Ohhhh the shame. 

I had to stop myself and ask if I was scared or unsafe. Because unsafe? That means danger. That means we stop and look for safety immediately. 

But scared? We can do scared. 

I said it out loud to my co-founder. She didn’t try to tell me that it didn’t matter or that I was worrying about nothing. She just pointed out that we can preach as loud as we want about loving ourselves to others, but that doesn’t get us out of participating in the systems that thrive when we’re not enough.


I haven’t had a panic attack since. 

So I’ll see you at this freaking party in whatever I choose to wear, feeling self-conscious and insecure but masking it with jokes and awkward dances and much squealing at hugging people in real life.

We are not immune to the trappings of negative self-talk, regardless of how much we know better. 

So we're just doing it scared.


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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