Everyone Has Anxiety

Everyone has Anxiety: It’s Only a Problem if it’s Driving the Boat


Everyone has anxiety. Everyone has self-doubt. It’s a normal part of the human experience.


It only becomes a problem when anxiety and self-doubt are driving the boat, when they are the ones making the decisions as captain and you find yourself as the helpless passenger, gripping the sides, your stomach lurching whenever you hit a wave:


“How about that direction. I’d love to go there.” I suggest from the passenger seat, and point to a destination off in the distance.


“Probably sharks in the water,” Anxiety replies, always quick to dismiss.


“Can we explore that island?” I look longingly across the ocean.


“Nah. It looks deserted,” Self-doubt pipes up. “You aren’t good on your own, and you don’t have the right equipment.”


“W-Why don’t I drive the boat for a while?” I stumble over my words. 


“Sit down, dear. There’s a storm a comin’,” Anxiety warns. “Best not to take any chances.“


“Let’s play it safe,” Self-doubt agrees and turns off the engine. “We’ll just drift here a while.”


“Good thinking,” Anxiety sits back satisfied. “Maybe we’ll bump into something interesting.” 


Sigh. So we drift. 


Occasionally I offer ideas for adventures, but they always shoot me down.


“What if we capsize?” 

“We’ll never be able to afford a new boat.”

“You don’t know how to swim.” 


Bored, frustrated and tired of going nowhere, I begin noticing other people driving past me in their own boats and splashing me in their wake. How do they manage? I get curious. 


At night when Anxiety and Self-Doubt are asleep, I look through the navigation system (the internet) to find ways to mutiny. “Take control of your thoughts” “Perfectionism and Procrastination” “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”.


Emboldened I begin to insist I take the wheel for short turns.


Anxiety and self-doubt protest: “Don’t go that way. It’s dangerous. “


But I jostle them out of the way and sail on. 


When it is pleasant and there are new vistas to enjoy, they act like it was their idea all along: “It’s actually quite lovely here. Nice breeze.”


When it is rough they look for reassurance and see me standing strong and determined at the wheel. 


The more things go wrong, the stronger I get, the more skills I learn, the better able I am to judge distance and what it will take to get there. If I have to chart a new course, I handle it. 


I am the captain now. Anxiety and self-doubt will always be on board but mostly they are below deck arguing over a chess game, and only occasionally piping up when they think they see an iceberg.  It’s almost always a mirage.  


I sail on. I am waving at the captains in the other boats. Sometimes we race for the thrill. Sometimes we shout words of encouragement to each other: “Look over here. It’s fantastic. There’s a school of dolphins.” 


I am driving the boat. The horizon is opening up. The seas aren’t always calm, but I guide my way through. Sometimes I even make the call to head straight toward the squall knowing I have the skill and experience to weather the storm. 


Linda Drosdowech



If you need help becoming the captain of your own life or business, email me and we will set up a time to chart a new course!


Linda DrosdowechComment