Anxiety in the Workplace Part 2: Oh Confidence, Where Art Thou??

Confession time: I’m struggling to put words on paper today to describe my experience with anxiety in the workplace. My last experience was something that shook my confidence, and I dreaded going to work everyday.  Just thinking about it has my stomach in the same knots as I had during this time last year. I’ve worked hard to get past my experience, but I feel like it’s too important a topic to not write on it. The goal of my blog has always been to help others who have experienced similar struggles and to give them hope from the other side. So, let’s take a deep breath in….and proceed.

For as long as I can remember I have had anxiety over doing things right. I HATE making mistakes. To the point of sometimes avoiding doing things. I remember in Jr. high I took a shop class. We made these wooden pen stand things with the option of burning a message with a hot tool into the wood. I wanted to make something for my dad, but was scared I’d mess up and burn myself, so I had someone else in the class write the message I had written out on a piece of paper. They misread the message and changed one of the letters. I gave it to my dad anyway and to this day it sits on his desk in his office. In my defense–besides being a kid scared of fire–I DID sand the wood out to the shape it became. So that’s something.

This whole being afraid of making mistakes thing has also affected my job performance at times. Although I’ve grown out of having people do tasks for me; thankfully, I can still be a bit timid and indecisive when it comes to making decisions and completing tasks. I started my last job at the end of 2011 and fell in love with it. As the years progressed, I was proud of myself for taking the reins and slowly becoming more confident in my ability to do the tasks that were assigned to me over time.  I was also fortunate to work for people who were patient and encouraging, and recognized the good work I did. Of course my performance was not perfect all the time, but for the most part it was on point.

Wouldn’t it be great if this was the end of the story? Ah, I had a job I loved, working with awesome people. Of course life is not that simple. We’ll pick up here tomorrow.

Always remember you are not alone.