Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in America today. Impacting both genders and any age, it has the potential to damage relationships and even careers.

Yet, having anxiety is certainly no indictment to either your personal or professional life.

Keep in mind that it’s normal to feel stressed at work every now and then. There’s a natural fluctuation to situational stress. It comes and goes.

Anxiety, on the other hand, tends to stick around. In fact, it’s not uncommon for those struggling with anxiety to make career mistakes, jeopardizing their financial security.

To help you identify whether this condition is impacting your career, look for these anxiety-driven career mistakes you might be making:

Mistake #1: Ignoring or Hiding Anxiety Symptoms

If you’ve experienced an ounce of anxiety, you know how much symptoms can set you back. They’re time-consuming and, quite frankly, don’t often motivate any “shining moments.”

For this reason, many people choose to sweep symptoms under the rug, ignoring or hiding them away altogether.

Unsurprisingly, anxiety incognito is incredibly problematic, as this solution doesn’t allow you to properly deal with the condition. Eventually, the overwhelm will bubble up and erupt in a way that won’t benefit your professional reputation.

Simply said, it’s best to deal with anxiety symptoms early and openly to prevent them from overtaking your emotions at the most inopportune moment. Also, it’s easier to manage daily symptoms than to put out any fires stemming from emotional burnout or eruption.

Mistake #2: Attempting to Work Anxiety Away

Another common pitfall when dealing with anxiety is that people often try to work anxiety away. The basic theme in this solution is that all you need to do is try harder or work more and the symptoms will disappear.

Perfectionism creeps in to take control, leaving you unable to reach your own goals—which, due to the nature of anxiety, were probably unrealistic to begin with.

Despite your intense efforts to drive anxiety away through hard work, you’ll likely burn out or deliver low-quality work.

A better solution would be to savor your small wins and avoid overcommitting. Focus on effective (and realistic) time management, prioritizing your tasks according to your true abilities.

Mistake #3: Putting Career Ahead of Yourself

If you’re like most people, you want to excel in your career. It’s a natural desire, and it’s beneficial to set professional goals for yourself as well.

The one caveat to this aspiration is that you come before your career. Many people deny it, but excelling at your career means taking care of yourself first. After all, how can you succeed when you feel overwhelmed, drained, or depleted of creativity?

When you have your sights set on a certain career goal but are overwhelmed by anxiety symptoms, it’s vital to take a step back. It may feel like you’re adding to your time frame. However, tending to your mental health will likely speed up the process in the end.

A great way to monitor your pace is to do a weekly “check-in” with yourself. Identify how you feel—body and mind—then make adjustments when you spot a problem area.

Doing this will also keep your career goals aligned with your core values as well. It’s normal for your goals to transform over time. Yet, keeping them in alignment will help you to experience less anxiety about the overall process.

Take the first step…

If you are ready to address the anxiety that may be impacting your life or career, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda K. Laffey, MFT


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