You Are More Skilful than Anxiety Lets You Show
You're a pretty smart cookie. There have been a few ups and downs, but overall you've done well in your career so far. You've applied yourself diligently. You're well trained and experienced in the core skills needed for your success... BUT... You know if you could only beat the anxiety that hampers your decision making and performance you could be capable of so much more....
I can relate to that situation in so many ways...
In my early career I worked for a world leading global technology company. I was grateful to be rewarded for my efforts by being on their Top Talent programme for the best part of 10 years. The major benefit of this for me was access to training.
The company had a large in-house training unit. They offered excellent courses on a wide range of soft skills, such as presenting, negotiating, selling, managing performance, leadership, breakthrough thinking, etc. I went on at least a 3-5 day residential course every quarter for the best part of those 10 years.
And for a long time I thrived in that environment. That is until I started to became aware that even though I was investing in developing my skills, I just didn't seem to be performing any better.
Why you ask?
The problem was that even though I knew I'd improved my skills, I seemed to be experiencing more and more anxiety. Sweaty palms, pounding heart, dry mouth, racing thoughts and tripping over my words all contributed to making it increasingly difficult to use the skills I'd learnt and stay on track with the plans I'd made.
I needed a breakthrough. My reaction was to double my efforts. I spent more time studying my course notes. More time preparing. More time checking I'd got everything right.
My belief was that once I get the breakthrough, other people will notice, my confidence will increase, the anxiety will stop and I'll be on an upward spiral. That's what I told myself...
It didn't happen.
As I became more aware of my increasing heart rate, more aware of my knotted stomach and erratic breathing, more aware of my soaring anxiety, I struggled to focus on what was important about the job I was there to do. I knew I was performing well below the level I was capable of, but I just didn't know what to do about it.
It was more by chance than design that I stumbled across the beginnings of what I needed. The insightful words of a trainer at the company's training facility.
Ever have that experience of someone say something to someone else but it striking a chord for you?.... The truth in the words still rings in my ears...
"Emotions like anxiety switch off the areas of your brain that enable focus and clear logical thought."
In that moment I had the dawning realisation that you can have the exact skills you need, but when anxiety bites all the skills in the world won't help you. Logic goes around in circles. Without focus and clear logical thought, it's not possible to feel confident in what you are saying and doing, or to follow a plan and keep things on track.
That means to improve, you have to learn how to control your emotions.
"Is this even a thing?" I wondered...
Well... It turned out it certainly is and learning about how to control anxiety and other emotions became my absolute fascination. In fact, for the last 15 years that realisation and the discoveries that followed have become a cornerstone of my career in helping athletes and executives beat the anxiety that holds them back, bounce back from setbacks and perform at their best.
YOU CAN learn to control your anxiety and other emotions....
Please share the love - thanks!
Paul Burden MSc
Performance Coach and Anxiety Specialist
With 25 years experience in coaching, Paul’s passion is assisting high performers to overcome setbacks, rise to the challenge and create success where it counts most.
His own experiences of anxiety as a young athlete and during his early business career started his journey into high performance psychology.
This personal experience and passion for helping others is underpinned by training with masters in the fields of coaching, performance psychology and personal development.
He's helped thousands of people overcome fears, control anxieties and perform at their best.
Overcome Stress & Anxiety Now
Paul Burden MSc
Performance Coach & Anxiety Specialist
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