High Anxiety And High Performance Don’t Mix
Are you putting the cart before the horse?
If your intent is to lower your anxiety by toughening up and ploughing through what you have on your plate, you are putting the cart before the horse.
With raised anxiety, it’s not recommended that you attempt anything but the mundane and inconsequential.
The Metaphorical Wheels Usually Fall Off
Let’s think about it…
Mentally and emotionally, anxiety has you feeling agitated, restless, irritable and impatient. You therefore have trouble thinking clearly and concentrating.
(Almost everyone is highly anxious at some point. But about one in five people have some sort of anxiety disorder that may need attention from a specialist in the field.)
Stay Away From The Important
You need low anxiety to perform well. Therefore, until your anxiety has reduced:
No important discussions—with your boss (especially) or anyone (including your spouse and children).
No making crucial decisions. Stay away from the crucial judgements until you’re more settled.
No sending important emails. You don’t want to put your foot in it, because of your temporary mental state.
No undertaking demanding, complex tasks.They’ll take you way too long to do if you’re highly anxious.
So First, Create A Healthy Headspace
Don’t jump in until you’ve prepared your headspace.
I suggest you choose a couple of things from this list. Their effectiveness is proven:
- Focus, 100%, on the outcome you want—not what you don’t want. (The major cause of anxiety is imagining what you don’t want to happen happening.)
- Look for what’s positive—what you could appreciate.What you focus on will be what you see.
- Get outside. A walk or a run in nature is very therapeutic. Just being in nature helps reduce stress and anxiety.
- Face up to your concerns. Gently confronting them generally diminishes their power. (Avoiding “what is” in your life has many unwanted consequences—such as low self-worth.)
- Make sure your diet is healthy. It’ll help you create a healthy mental state.
- Meditation—studies have shown it reduces stress. It’s recommended by many (including me). If you’re new to meditation, expect a practice period before you experience the full benefits.)
- Get support. There are many options here. If your anxiety is chronic, a good CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) counsellor could be your answer. They’ve helped many leaders turn things around. (If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.)
Your Call To Action
Superb performance needs a superb mindset!
Whenever you’re more than slightly anxious, take time out to get that horse in front of the cart. It’s false economy not to.
Select the items you most prefer from the above healthy options list. They’ll help you create a superb mindset.
And you won’t need to mop up the consequences of you being much less than your best. You’ll be pleased you invested time in getting the horse and cart in the right order.
“Since working with Carolyn, perceptions of me have improved a lot.
I’m no longer seen as a person who wears the troubles of the world on my shoulders.
The difference in my confidence is amazing.”
—Leader, business process outsourcing company
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.