The Benefits of Anxiety
Something interesting happened this week. I realized that anxiety is my superpower. I was listening to the Goal Digger Podcast with recent guest, Jen Gotch, and she was talking about her struggle with mental illness. She mentioned how, when she was in a manic cycle of her bipolar disease, she got many of her greatest ideas. Which made me wonder, should I actually be thanking my anxiety instead of hating it? Are there actually some hidden benefits of anxiety?
Thank you, Anxiety
The answer I came up with, after some reflection, was a resounding yes. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s, shockingly, true. Anxiety is probably a large part of many of my best accomplishments.
The Hidden Benefits of Anxiety
Several years ago, I used to obsessively worry that I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills at my bridal boutique and would end up closing. I would then proceed to visualize a van full of news reporters and jilted brides yielding pitchforks at my door! Yes, those were the thoughts that used to keep me up at night…for hours. Listen, I never claimed that I’m not dramatic.
The Voice In My Head
That being said, those thoughts are probably the reason that I’ve always ordered inventory (and really, operated my business in general) so conservatively. There have been many years at New York Bridal Market that there were so many gorgeous, sparkly, expensive, amazing dresses that I really wanted to order, but listened to my better judgment (and my anxiety) instead. By listening to that little voice, we probably avoided a terrible cash flow crunch, the likes of which cause many businesses to close.
There was another anxious thought that often crept into my brain as an unwelcome guest. The belief that I needed to have ALL of the information on every single topic in order to be successful. Yeah, that was one exhausting form of anxiety. And yet, that’s the reason that I spent (and still spend) every single spare second listening to podcasts, reading books, taking online classes and trying to expand my knowledge as much as possible every single day. Which in turn, has allowed me to pivot in my career more times in the last ten years than most people will in a lifetime.
Another fear that often crept in was that someone might leave the shop feeling like they had a bad experience and write a negative review. That anxiety caused me to be a complete and total psycho about focusing on the customer experience, rather than sales figures. My team’s amazing customer service is probably what sets our bridal store apart from others in the area and why we’ve been able to stay open for 9 years almost strictly on word of mouth, rather than advertising.
It Runs In The Family
I was also reflecting on the anxiety of others. Like that time when I was five years old and I had spinal meningitis and all the doctors told my Mom that I was fine. That she should stop worrying (eye roll.) After all, I looked so healthy! I couldn’t possibly have a deadly form of meningitis. Luckily, anxiety runs in the family. My Mom didn’t listen to those doctors, and her anxiety (and straight up Mom badassery) probably saved my life.
Changing My Mindset
Switching my mindset about something that has repeatedly made my life a living hell, has been quite the change lately. But more and more things continue to happen that have me thinking that there might be something to this after all.
Your Hidden Superpower?
Is there something in your life that you’ve always considered a curse? What if that one thing that you’ve always hated were actually a blessing in disguise? It’s a crazy mindset shift. But, if you start thinking about it, you might found out that you too have a hidden superpower in there after all! Now, how glorious would that be?!