Handling Anxiety While Trying To Create a Successful Life
Do you ever look at the successful people around you, or on social media, and wonder how they do it all? How do these women have kids, run multi-million dollar companies, look amazing and still appear to have their shit together? Are none of them freaking out on the inside? Do successful women mask their anxiety, or do they just not have it at all?
Growing up I was plagued with anxiety. I would worry about my appearance, whether people liked me, being smart, doing what is expected of me, and everything in between. Finally at 19 I had had enough. I had been living my own life and taking care of myself for two years at that point and needed to get a handle on my thoughts and emotions. That was when I discovered the phrase:
That simple phrase changed my life. I should also note that I was in the Marine Corps at this time which definitely boosted my confidence and self-esteem. For the next 10 years I didn’t worry about other people’s opinions of me. Afterall, Marines are taught and expected to be the best, so why would we worry about other people's opinions? I just lived my life with my own intentions. I worked at being the best version of myself. I wasn’t always successful at it, but I didn’t care what other people thought when I faltered. Having this mentality helped to reduce my anxiety drastically. I no longer felt anxious because I was only focusing on my own expectations.
A decade has passed since beginning my anxiety free life and I don’t think that I’ve ever had a worse case of anxiety than I have been experiencing over the past two months. When I finally sat down to investigate why I feel this way, I deduced that all of this anxiety is being brought on by the fact that I don’t feel that I have accomplished enough by the age of 30. Deep down I know that I was meant to do more in this lifetime than I have, but I am not living up to my own potential. I am subconsciously sabotaging myself. I look at women my age, or younger, that have led successful careers and I can't help but think, "If they can do it, so can I!" I truly believe that there is enough success in the world for us all. But the difference is, these women ARE doing it, and I'm still just talking about it.
This is why Culley Avenue was created. It is about helping women navigate their finances, reach their potential and push through barriers. However, I haven't been able to articulate those topics on a regular basis because of my own self-sabotaging tendencies.
So instead of worrying about where I am NOT in my career, here is what I am doing to handle my anxiety and still work towards a successful and fulfilled life:
Write about it/talk about it.
Just the 30 minutes that it took me to write all of this out has released the pressure off of my chest. I have always prided myself on being transparent but I haven’t been transparent about my anxiety. Writing or talking about it helps get it off your mind, even if for a short while. My advice is to put it out into the universe and let it go, if not forever, atleast for an hour.
The beauty of this is that you will probably find many people who are experiencing exactly what you are. Know that you are not alone!
Being successful does not happen overnight and it doesn’t happen by thinking that you know it all. Research and education in the field that you’re interested is ongoing. You can never know too much. And the more you know, the more confident you are. Which leads to less anxiety-filled situations.
Staying curious keeps you young. It is a quality that most people lose within their lifetime. Take the time to listen to what others are saying around you. You may get more out of the conversation than you think. Then don't forget to ask questions.
Your work ethic has to be bigger than your goals. Period.
I don’t mean don’t sleep, I mean evaluate how much you are sleeping and see if you can skim off an hour or less. Of course you need to listen to your body but 6-7 hours of sleep will help give you more hours in a day than sleeping 8-9. I want to emphasize here that I love sleep just as much as the next person so you must do what is best for your health and routine.
Stop watching TV.
Time wasted in front of the tv is time not spent working towards your goals. It’s up to you to choose which is more important.
Find a healthy hobby.
Exercise is the best way to get your brain cells moving. Training for a half marathon keeps me accountable and keeps me moving. Plus it keeps me challenged. I am not a strong runner and it pushes me every day to break through that barrier. It teaches me that I am stronger than what my mind might let me believe.
I hope that even a small piece of this article will help ease your anxiety. It is such a common element in most people's lives. Don't let it stop you from reaching your potential. What is your advice on handling anxiety?