Though the recent recession is technically behind us, unemployment is still high, and many of the daily difficulties we face that are directly or indirectly related to work can keep us awake at night and threaten our sense of security. Add the stress of the daily news and mix in a dose of nagging concern that we might be losing interest in our work, burning out, or underperforming, and disaster begins to feel imminent.
So how can you keep everyday worries from standing in the way of your career? Here are a few things to think about the next time you begin imagining dark possibilities.
You're not alone: Look around the office and recognize that even the calmest and most composed people in your workplace all have difficult days when the future seems uncertain. Having these worries makes you human. If you care enough to break a sweat now and then, it shows that you're alive and engaged with the world around you.
Reach out: You may not want to announce your worries to the world (since this can come off as unprofessional), but it's okay to find a mentor or trusted friend who will let you vent and share your private concerns now and then. In the meantime, look for role models — just find someone you admire, someone who seems to have the composure, confidence or self-assurance you want — and watch that person closely.
You may not be the best at what you do: In fact, it's an absolute certainty that you aren't. No matter how great you are at your profession, there are others who are better. And no matter how incompetent you feel on your worst days, there are many others who do this job every day and probably don’t perform as well as you do. Recognizing these facts may help you put your ego aside and move forward with the tasks that need to be done.
Slow and steady wins the race: It may sound like a cliché from a child's parable, and it is, but it's also true. The only way to solve any issue or overcome any challenge is by putting one foot in front of the other. The story of the tortoise and the hare was written for children, but it seems to bear much more relevance to the lives of adults. We're the ones who need to be reminded most often to tackle one problem at a time.
Take action: If you're suffering from an ordinary and universal form of work-related anxiety, recognize that a little dash of stress during the workday can actually be a healthy motivator. But if you're constantly running at top speed just to stand still, and you never seem to have a moment's peace or an ounce of satisfaction, it may be time to make a change. A new job may be just around the corner.