Seven Ways Anxiety Helps You Win

Don’t avoid, reject, or smother anxiety. Use it to help you win.

Dark emotions have been slandered way too long. Fear, anger, frustration and anxiety all have useful purposes.

Use emotions. Don’t let them use you.

boldness quote

I feel anxious when I face new challenges, prepare for meetings, give presentations, and deal with tough situations.

Writing this post raises my heart rate. To be honest, I love it.

Right now, I feel uncertain, alert, and alive. How will this post turn out? Will readers find it useful? Will I embarrass myself?

Anxiety is anticipation coupled with uncertainty.


Anxiety is a gift. Leadership without anxiety is predictable and boring. Leaders who lack anxiety are doing what they’ve always done.

Anxiety says you care about outcomes when results are unpredictable.

7 ways anxiety helps you win:

  1. Elevated energy.
  2. Heightened awareness. Spiderman’s “spidey senses” tingle when danger is near.
  3. Sharpened focus. Unexpected events lift heads and open eyes.
  4. Careful preparation. Anxiety motivates the pursuit of clarity and certainty when outcomes are unsure.
  5. Increased boldness. Great success requires boldness. Small doses of fear make you do things you otherwise wouldn’t do.
  6. Expanded curiosity and exploration. Anxiety says, “Open your mind and expand your thinking.”
  7. Greater agility.

Useful anxiety motivates; harmful paralyzes.

Too much anxiety:

  1. Drains rather than energizes.
  2. Paralyzes rather than motivates.
  3. Confuses rather than clarifies.
  4. Frustrates rather than frees.

Anxiety asks, “Will I be respected?”

You’ll end up controlled by others if you can’t manage harmful anxiety.

7 ways to alleviate harmful anxiety.

  1. Clarify outcomes. What do you want?
  2. Make a list of the worst things that might happen. Face fear by naming it.
  3. Ask, “What can I do to prepare, right now?”
  4. Take action. Action answers anxiety.
  5. Take a walk.
  6. Talk things over with a friend.
  7. Lift your head and breathe deep.

How has anxiety served you well?

When has anxiety been harmful to you?