Anxiety Doesn’t Make You Better At Your Job
But It Can Help You In Other Ways
[Note: The idea I’m asserting may be foreign — even disagreeable — to some of you. In fact, the former me disagreed with this idea for years. It took time and persuasive writing from others to evolve my thinking on this topic. My assumption was that Taskmaster Anxiety was teaching by punishing me. Understanding the more nuanced information that anxiety’s waves can hold within is now something I’m exploring in my project, The Beautiful Voyager.]
An argument I hear frequently from friends: “Anxiety helps me. It helps me get things done on time. It helps me get the house clean. It helps me be good at my job.”
I say to them what I’m saying to you now: fear of fear — excess cortisol and adrenaline surging through your body — does not help you to be better at your job or family life. The campaigns you’ve mounted to avoid hormonal physical punishment may lead you to believe that you are better and stronger as a result of your struggles. But the truth is that’s just YOUR STRENGTH shining out despite impediment. That’s not anxiety’s good work. You can be just as good and strong without the ongoing obstacle of the hormone surge. You can be even stronger. Happier.
It’s important to believe that this is true. Accepting its truth is the first step toward superpower activation. In order for things to change, you have to believe that your relationship with anxiety needs to change. It’s not serving you as it currently stands. At a deeper level of course, this means admitting that you, too, need to change. But it’s not a bad change! I promise you. It’s a change that will make you more open to the world and the good things in it.
If anxiety isn’t helping you in the way you thought it was, in what way can it help you? Think of it this way: instead of fighting against the cortisol and adrenaline surges, try listening to them and allowing them to come and go. These hormone surges can be an incredible insightful tool. Once you learn to tune in to them, boundless wisdom awaits you. “Don’t take that job!” “Don’t date that person!” Or the absence of the surge: “You are happy in this place.” “You can see how others are reacting based on their own fears.” “You can approach things differently.”
To get to the place of tuning in, you have to give up your old co-dependent relationship with your buddy anxiety. If you’re keeping it in a tightly wedged fixed place where it’s an obstacle to overcome, you might be keeping yourself from claiming the insight you deserve (you’ve worked hard for it, after all).