You’ve always been told that you can be anything you want to be, right? I know, you’re probably thinking someone lied! You were told that the sky’s the limit, but then you hit your head on that glass ceiling. Your parents shaped your belief that you were great, letting you dance around with that tiara on your head like the princess you are! They put you in things that you succeeded in and took you out of things that didn’t play to your strengths. Failure was not something that you experienced often as you were protected from any true negative experiences. You learned that you were worthy of praise regardless of if you won or lost. You watched women all over the world doing incredible things, imagining that someday you’d be just like them.
“But somewhere along the journey things changed, you stopped believing in yourself and began doubting everything you did.”
But somewhere along the journey things changed, you stopped believing in yourself and began doubting everything you did. You ran into reality and it changed the positive perception that your parents worked so hard creating. You began trying to prove your worth to others, trying to be perfect, and not standing up for your wants. Anxiety set in and you couldn’t find the confidence to become that woman you dreamed of as a little girl. The dreams that you had for yourself became lost and you became stuck. You became stuck in traffic on the loop sipping on your Starbucks headed to the job that you’re over qualified for. You became stuck in a work horse position, doing all the work but never getting the recognition. You became stuck spending your Saturday nights strolling through Target trying not to buy the store, before heading home to binge watch the latest Netflix series. You became stuck with mediocre when you dreamed of greatness.
But the truth is a lot of women get stuck. Even with more opportunities to succeed than ever, the pressure to reach those heights can stop many just like you in their tracks. It’s ok, you don’t have to remain stuck, you can crawl off of that sofa put your tiara back on your head and be the woman you dreamed of starting with the simple task of continuing to read and see how anxiety is holding you back from being promoted.
Having anxiety in the workplace is frustrating. It makes you want to repeatedly bang your head on the wall, but of course you wouldn’t do that because you know “what would people think.” You sit at your desk day in and day out working your ass off and not being acknowledged. You work weeks coming up with awesome presentations for Billy boy to present to the board while you sit back and watch. That little girl your parents built up to be a strong woman tells you that you can do more, be more but you can’t get out of your head, you’re living with anxiety. You’re constantly worrying about if you’re good enough, if people will like you, will they listen to this young female in this male dominated field. You question how you should present yourself, is that skirt making them respect you less? Is the pants suit too Hillary? You worry about being perfect; feeling that you can’t make any mistakes or your career will be over. You spend endless nights working late trying to prove that you are worthy of more. Your anxiety has you stuck even though you feel like you’re running a race.
But don’t worry honey; this isn’t the life you have to live. You can dance around with that pink rhinestone tiara on you head again. Your anxiety does not have to stand in the way of you getting to the level in your career that you have always dreamed of. You can have that corner office with the great views. You can be in charge of your own team. You can have the funds that you want to actually leave the country on vacation. You can finally start feeling like you’re using that degree you spent four years and thousands of dollars obtaining. But first you have to conquer your anxiety. You have to make the decision that you are going to make positive changes in your life. Anxiety does not have to win, but in order for you to win this battle you have to have an understanding of how anxiety is getting in the way of you advancing in your career.
“Whenever we go against the norm or decide to do things differently, we’re going to be face with opposition.”
Whenever we go against the norm or decide to do things differently, we’re going to be faced with opposition. Someone is going to ask why we are trying to be an executive in your company, why aren’t you focusing on getting married and having kids right now, what makes you think that you can compete with the men in that male dominated field? These kinds of statements do one of two things, they either motivate us or they knock us down. If they motivate you please proceed to the next blog this one is not for you. However, if you are knocked down by these statements then sit back and get comfortable, because we’re about to explore what the hell is going on in your head.
Fear of Failure
Women are killing it in the workforce right now. More companies are seeing the value of millennial women recognizing that you don’t fall into the stereotype of being lazy that is often perpetuated by the old heads. Now those millennial men, that’s a different story but we’ll talk about them another time. Y’all women are getting promoted to huge positions and making big changes in the world. Yet with success comes anxiety surrounding failure.
How many times have you heard of someone making it big than losing everything? Lottery winners, entertainers, the head cheerleader in high school, they once had it all, but not anymore. That reality fills you with anxiety about your own potential for success. If they couldn’t make it, how can you? You know that you can’t win at everything, that there are no participation trophies in the workplace. You start to wonder if you use all that sparkle inside of you to climb to the top will you be able to continue shining or will you’re light eventually become dim.
“That fear of failure raises anxiety levels and stops you in your tracks every time.”
See, what happens is all those beliefs from others encouraging you to go into a different field, telling you that you can’t make it, that women can’t do what you’re trying to do start to consume the little free space you have left in your head. Those voices make you question your ability to be badass in the workforce. That fear of failure raises anxiety levels and stops you in your tracks every time. The anxiety tells you that you’re safe right now; it reminds you that you do your current job so well even if no one notices. It tells you if you go for that promotion you’re only going to fail to produce. No one is going to listen to you and instead of going back to your current position you’ll be starting off at ground zero with another company.
Anxiety wins; you talk yourself into believing that you’re comfortable where you currently are. Billy isn’t so bad to work under and your job is close to Target so you can swing by on your lunch break. You can’t fail if you don’t try right?
The fear of failure does not stand on its own in keeping you from getting that promotion. Do you remember dressing up as a little girl? Pretending to be a princess, a doctor, or your mom as you walked around in her high heels. You felt like you were in a different role and didn’t have to follow the rules of a little girl. It was amazing feeling like you were someone else and having more power than that little girl. As you got older, you pretended to have a boyfriend because all your friends were saying that they did. You made up a name and acted like he lived in a nice area with rich parents and would be flying in someday soon to see you. As a teenager, you pretended you knew everything, oh wait that wasn’t pretend you actually believed that. So much of your younger years were spent adjusting the truth to be accepted.
As you got older, people would tell you to “fake it til you make it.” If you don’t know how to do something, just act like you do and hope that you eventually catch on before someone finds out. You began putting on this persona that wasn’t in line with who you actually were. The belief that you were fake, an imposter, became your reality.
“Your anxiety intensifies as you worry about being called out for being a fraud.”
However, it’s different now, instead of pretending to be the professional you are the professional, but your mindset is stuck believing that you are faking it. Questioning everything that you say, not knowing if it’s right or worrying that someone will find out. Your anxiety intensifies as you worry about being called out for being a fraud.
That same anxiety that was telling you that you will fail is also telling you that you’re fake. It is discrediting the years you spent in school and the experience you have obtained thus far. It is telling you that you’re stupid and if you try to speak up in that meeting everyone will know the truth. You allow Billy boy to give the presentation because he’s real right? You sit back and let someone else take credit for your amazing work.
Anxiety wins again.
Now let’s go back, way back, ok not that far, just to the beginning of this post. You remember that little girl? Of course you do, it’s you. Wasn’t she cute with that damn tiara? She had it good right? Everything was perfect. Yet things didn’t stay perfect, you didn’t say perfect. Ever since that belief that you were awesome started to fade away you have fought to try and get it back.
As you grew older, reality hit. You faced failures when you were sure of yourself and it knocked down your confidence. You were made fun of for the clothes you wore, the way you styled your hair, even the way you talked. Kids were mean and it hurt. You began questioning everything you did, is this good enough, will I succeed, how can I make this more perfect? Those negative thoughts that became engrained in your head erased all the hard work your parents had done and before you knew it, they began affecting your career.
That desire to be perfect puts added pressure on you, increasing your anxiety. It makes you feel less than. It makes you overwhelmed, working extra hard to make sure the color scheme of the presentation is pleasing to the different personalities in the meeting. You stay up late to edit and re-edit assignments that you have coming up so everything is perfect. Coming in early and working through your lunch to show that you are a dedicated employee, hoping that one day that promotion will come. You don’t ask for the promotion because you just can’t handle someone else telling you that you’re not perfect for the position.
That same anxiety that told you that you would fail, that you’re fake is also telling you that you’ll never be that image of perfection you have in your head. It tells you that no matter how much you try someone is going to always find a mistake. The anxiety feeds into your fear of failure, your feelings of being an imposter to prove to you that you’re not perfect.
Anxiety wins, yet again. But it doesn’t have to you and I can fight anxiety together.
Advancing in your career is hard when you have anxiety, but guess what, it doesn’t have to be! I can already see that corner office with your name on it. I can see Billy boy sitting in the corner while you kill that presentation. Can you? Can you see it? If you’d like to explore how you can deal with your own anxiety so you can go after that big promotion click here to schedule your free video consultation.