Anxious Achiever: Who Are They?

Morra Aarons-Mele hosts the podcast, The Anxious Achiever, to explore why it’s so important to start talking about mental health at work, and what can be done to make it happen.

All too often, the topic of mental health is the classic “elephant in the room” that nobody wants to address. It is still taboo to talk about mental health in the workplace, despite the fact that many successful people struggle with anxiety, depression, or other issues.

What is Anxious Achiever?

An anxious achiever wants to do well at work and is driven but has anxieties. Someone who doesn’t stop worrying about the “what ifs” and existential threats to life and success.

Since anxiety and depression are typically related, anxious achievers are also intensely emotional. The anxiety could be temporary and caused by a certain situation, or it could be something you’ve been living with for a long time and could even be part of who you are.

Many Millennials and Gen Zs Are Anxious Achievers

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness. The Millennials and “Gen Z” have been called “the most anxious generation,” and as they become the majority of our workforce, they need better examples of how to be leaders more than ever.

Our society tells people with anxiety and depression that they can’t be successful. Still, anxiety is a normal part of life and a part of the life of a high achiever. To succeed, you must take chances, push yourself, and work hard toward a goal.

How Can Leader Help Anxious Achievers?

1. Create a safe culture.

The greatest method for managers to encourage employees to feel comfortable voicing their needs is to do it themselves. Leaders do not have to have superhuman strength. So, don’t keep your team in the dark if you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious. If you’re a leader who constantly displays signs of stress and anxiety because you refuse to take care of yourself, your employees will follow your lead. 

Anxious Achiever: Who Are They?

2. Check in your employees.

Establish an environment where coworkers feel safe asking each other, “Are you ok?” If someone appears to be in crisis, that should be the only question asked. Managers also need to be aware of the resources available to them, such as an employee assistance program, human resources, or a mental health professional. There needs to be a reliable procedure that people are willing to use.

3. Eliminate prejudice.

However, eliminating prejudice is the first step. Include conversations about mental health. If you’re a leader who is comfortable sharing any of your own challenges or the struggles of other leaders you admire, you may do a lot of good by doing so. Keep in mind that a recent study by the American Heart Association found that 96% of workers believe that emotional well-being is just as essential as physical health.

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Anisa is a writer who focuses on career and lifestyle topics in an effort to motivate both job searchers and employers towards greater fulfillment in their professional lives.

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