Dealing with fear of the unknown

Lidia VarescoAs my husband and I prepare to welcome a new baby into our lives, I’ve been busily preparing my home and business for the new arrival.

Along the way, many unknowns have popped up: How much time will I take off? How will I schedule my workday when I return to work? Will I continue to keep my home office? Will I rent an office? Where will the baby sleep? And the all-important: where will the dog sleep?

After a brief moment of panic, I decided that rather than dwell on the fact that I don’t have the answers (and realistically may not until after baby arrives), I would take a different approach: let it go.

“Letting go of the need to know” has helped enormously to reduce my stress levels (which is very important during this stage of my life). I will admit that my personality—which dictates that I should have the answers for everything—has not made this an easy task. But in this particular situation, “letting go” seems to be working.

Before you think I’ve gone completely New Age, I should mention that I have been doing some preparation: Preparing a maternity leave plan and discussing it with clients/my interim designer. Looking at nearby office spaces. Researching local “moms in business” groups. Taking a workshop on preparing your dog for baby’s arrival (yes, they do have these).

So, though I may not have all the answers, I do have some creative ideas—not to mention the excitement and anticipation of my life taking a new and exciting direction.

How do you deal with the fear of the unknown in your business?

14 thoughts on “Dealing with fear of the unknown

  1. Bryn Mooth

    Lidia — “Letting go of the need to know” should be my new mantra. I’m an obsessive planner and compulsive list-maker who gets thoroughly stressed out when I don’t know the plan. I’m going to try repeating this mantra when I get into those situations. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Ali J

    I had all these plans when I was pregnant. then all these plans when she was one. Now all these plans when she is 17 months.

    I’ve realised that in order to have an equal balance I just need to step back and chill. Every baby is different, as is every child. I can get work done when she lets me, but i certainly can’t plan anything. I’m no longer expanding my business or doing anything crazy until I’m ready to take it on. No half jobs as it will just lead to frustration that in turn I will take out on my child, which isnt’ what I want to do.

    The unknown can be wary, but I find it exciting. It just goes to show that life will lead us along whatever path we are destined for. And we just have to let it!

  3. Crystal Reynolds

    I have been freelancing for 15+ years and now have a 7 and 5 year old… my best advice is take each day at a time… wake up in the morning/afternoon/middle of the night – however your little one dictates your time and go with it. Ensure your baby’s dad is supportive to give you time outs to work when you need it and start inquiring about sitters/dayhomes/nannies whatever works. You should never have a goal of being supermom – just be the best mom you can be while keeping your sanity. My go to line is if “mom’s not happy, no one is”.

    Hope that helps! If you ever need a fellow mom’s ear, drop me a line!

  4. LIsa Youngdahl

    I started my freelance business in anticipation of beginning a family. I quickly found out that babies don’t really sleep all day and aren’t content to spend large amounts of time in their crib. I learned to adapt my schedule as my son grew older, and his needs changed.

    Having a strong support system and the ability to be flexible allowed me to continue my business, which may be key points for any business owner to remember. Whether a mother of a newborn or not.

  5. Alisa Bonsignore

    Congratulations, Lidia!

    I think you’re right to accept that you just don’t yet know what you don’t know. Sure, you can make all of the plans and ask all of the questions ahead of time, but I think that parenting in particular is an evolving thing: the way you feel about work, life and the balance between the two will change over time. Do what feels right for you, and don’t listen to the people who tell you that you’re doing it wrong. 🙂

  6. Damien Golden

    Congrats Lidia – that is awesome!
    It is nice to know I have a great group to turn to when we reach that next level (adding baby to the mix, er, I mean family). I’m very much like Bryn and sometimes letting go is the hardest for me, but when I’ve become overwhelmed with the fear of the unknown, I just walk away. I focus on something else, take a break, or enjoy some #cloudtime as Luke Mysse would say. It is amazing how it helps me refocus on what is planned and what does really matter. I once heard a statistic that usually only 10% of what we worry about actually comes true, so I try to remember that too when I feel myself starting to stress. =)

  7. lidia varesco design

    Thank you everyone for your comments and words of wisdom (and congratulations!) It’s reassuring to know that others have managed to find a way to make it all work — even without a plan.

    And for those of us solopreneurs with (or starting) families, sharing stories and experiences is such a great way to stay connected. Perhaps we should start a “CFC Tribe” for Moms/Moms-to-Be (and dads too, of course)

  8. Laurel Black

    Congratulations, Lidia! Just wanted add my 2 cents’ worth. We have all been told that our children are our greatest teachers. One of the main things they teach us is the need for flexibility. I think an even greater need is to have a sense of humor. It is a wonderful tool to have in times of stress.

    From the time I went into labor, almost nothing went according to plan, in spite of my chronic attempts to control/manage/plan/steer, etc. As my daughter grew up, I became less of a control freak and learned to be more discerning about what was possible and what was just me being obsessive. I learned to surf with the day-to-day challenges and make it up when I had to. And I got better at seeing the humor in otherwise maddening situations. This is especially useful during adolescence.

    My daughter is now 24 and I have found that the need to be flexible and retain a sense of humor is still there, particularly now as she plans her wedding. I can hardly wait until she has her own kids ;-).

  9. Thomas Morrell


    Whenever I think (worry) about our new addition and how this will affect my infant business. I have to think about my business partner who has three children under the age of 6 and manages to run two separate businesses.

    Gives me hope that I can take care of one child and one business and still have time for both.

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been thinking about this everyday for the past 7 months. Two months to go.

  10. cm graphic designs

    Great article. Good to hear when I’m taking a new direction with my career by moving to a new company. When people find out you’re leaving, they make it their goal to make you feel like you’re making the wrong decision, especially when you’re valued where you work now. But I feel I’m taking the right direction… so I just have to focus on myself, tune the world out, and take that leap into the unknown… oh, and NOT worry about it. =)

  11. Brad Weaver

    Congratulations on the baby!

    While I am the dad, and not nearly as responsible as my wife for the baby, the work/life balance changes either way. We have our second one on the way now and he/she will be here right in the center of my busiest season, first quarter. I, too, am freaking out about not having a real plan in place and keep having to tell myself it will all work out. Encouraging to hear others are looking at it the same way!

  12. lidia varesco design

    Thanks for the additional comments and well wishes!

    My little boy arrived 2-1/2 weeks early — well ahead of my planned maternity leave — so I really had to practice what I preach. It wasn’t easy caring for a newborn and transitioning client projects, but somehow it all worked out and I lived to tell the tale!