I'm not the sort of person that gambles, but if I did gamble, I'd bet you have at least a bit of anxiety. Don't be ashamed if you do. I have it too. Most people have it. Especially people who are gifted and successful at what they do, because how else could you get done what needs to get done without a little of the creative kick in the pants that anxiety gives us when we need it to?
For example, there's a project that's due at the end of the week and you need little something to help you hit your deadline... why not let the fear of missing the deadline be the spark that lights your productivity fire? Or maybe you're choosing where to invest someone's money... a good dose of stress always produces a wise decision regarding which stock is valuable, doesn't it? Or maybe you need that last photo for your collection before you submit it to that client... a little worry always crystallizes your creativity, right?
My friend Sam once said while telling a great story that "anxiety is like a superpower, except it makes me useless." What a fantastic comedic insight. When I heard Sam say that, I laughed out loud and then almost started to weep. I can relate to Sam, because I also have superpower level anxiety. It has helped get me to where I am today, but it's also produced some not so great moments in my life.
Of course, anxiety became such a part of my daily routine that I didn't realize how much it had taken over—even though it was debilitating. It was sort of like Bruce Wayne letting Batman slowly hijack how he views everything he does in the world; he eventually becomes more Batman than Bruce, without even knowing that it's happening.
When I finally caught what was going on inside my anxious brain, I was surprised at how bad it really was. My doctor had me fill out this multiple choice Q&A form asking me interesting questions about my life, and the results demonstrated I was in the highest percentile of anxiety.
The worry "red zone."
I had achieved superhero worry status.
Except my costume was an internal cape and cowl of failure phobia, paralyzing self doubt, and crushing catastrophic thinking.
Now that I've taken the steps I need to manage this intuitive/ideation strength gone awry, I see how anxiety can certainly be useful, but dangerous if we rely on it too much. Because if we're not careful, it will hijack our lives, and drive us into the wall of mental noise and creative breakdown.
So where are you at with this whole anxiety thing—do you need an anxiety assessment? It's possible that you're like my friend Sam and I: superhero worriers in secret.