How to Find the Power to Step into Anxiety

Confidence isn’t the absence of anxiety.

Confidence is the ability to step into anxiety and see what good might result.

Where does confidence to face anxiety come from?


You’re anxious when you have tough conversations.

Anxiety dreads disapproval. What if you fail? What if you look stupid?

Remember the first meeting you led? Your voice trembled, but you stepped into anxiety.

Power to step into anxiety:


Optimists make better decisions and display greater self-control. (Journal of Financial Economics)

Optimism, in moderate amounts, is the belief that positive outcomes are probable. Blind optimism is detrimental because it believes the future will take care of itself.

You instill confidence in others when you help them believe they can make a positive difference.


Confidence is a function of connection.

A mentor bolsters confidence by sharing experience, explaining skills, and providing safety to explore.

You dare to row when someone grabs an oar and rows with you.


Nietzsche, the atheist philosopher, said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

Purpose provides a reason to step into anxiety. What’s the point of stepping into anxiety if there’s no purpose for your leadership?


The fear of failure motivates leaders to confront failure.

You’re afraid of losing the respect of colleagues, friends, and family, so you step into anxiety.


Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter recalls, “When Twitter was just starting out, our biggest challenge was friends and colleagues telling us this is not useful. We overcame that challenge because we found joy in our work.

When you love what you do, when you are what I call emotionally invested in your work then you can overcome almost any challenge with ease.” (Conscious Capitalism)

Note: Joy is the source of grit, not willpower.

Where does the power to step into anxiety come from?

How might leaders build confidence into others?

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