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Being an executive isn’t just about leading teams, making decisions, and steering the company ship—it’s also about managing the occasional (or frequent) bouts of anxiety that come with the territory. Your ability to deal with anxiety as an executive could be the make-it-or-break-it for you and your team. If you’ve ever found yourself waking up at 3 AM wondering if your team will meet that critical deadline, you’re not alone. Here’s how to recognize, manage, and ultimately conquer anxiety in your high-stress role.

Recognize the Signs of Anxiety in High-Stress Work Environments

First things first, let’s talk about recognizing anxiety. It’s not all hyperventilating into a paper bag; sometimes, it’s subtler. Sleepless nights? Check. Shortness of breath when that high-stakes project is mentioned? Double-check. Physical symptoms like headaches or stomach issues? Yep, those count too. Recognizing these signs early can help you take action before things spiral out of control.

Personal Anecdote: I once had a project so demanding that it led to sleepless nights and physical symptoms of anxiety. It was a wake-up call, literally and figuratively, to recognize my personal triggers.

Implement Daily Routines and Self-Care Practices

Daily routines are your best friend. Seriously. Think of them as the unsung heroes of mental health. Incorporate practices like prayer, meditation, and exercise into your daily routine. Not only will they help you clear your mind, but they’ll also contribute to a better work-life balance.

Personal Anecdote: Incorporating a daily prayer or meditation routine has been a transformative experience for me. It doesn’t need to be complicated. I cherish my 35-minute commute to the office, as it provides uninterrupted time to reconnect with myself and recharge. It’s incredible how 35 minutes of mindfulness can turn a chaotic day into a manageable one. I make a conscious effort to avoid distractions from phone calls or notifications. Instead, I curate a selection of audiobooks and podcasts to enrich my “me” time. Additionally, I am committing to returning to the gym to maintain my personal rhythm. This is an area where I know I can improve.

Set Boundaries and Manage Your Workload

Setting boundaries is crucial. Trust me, the world won’t end if you don’t check your email after 7 PM. Managing your workload effectively means knowing when to switch off and recharge.

Personal Anecdote: I set a rule for myself to not check emails after 7 PM. The result? An improvement in both my mental health and productivity.

Utilize Support Networks and Seek Professional Help

You’re not in this alone. Lean on your support network, whether that’s colleagues, mentors, or even a professional coach. Sometimes, just talking it out with someone who understands can make a world of difference.

Personal Anecdote: During a particularly challenging period, I contacted a mentor for advice. My leadership “game” was now operating at a higher level than ever, and I needed to accept that my support network needed to be dialed in. Now, as part of my weekly rhythm, I seek counsel from a professional counselor and a pastor at least twice a month and have two executive coaches that I pay for myself. The value of that support in overcoming professional anxiety is immeasurable. Investing in yourself is crucial when playing at a higher level.

Strategies for Managing Anxiety

Here are some go-to strategies:

  • Mindfulness, Prayer and Meditation: Helps you stay grounded.
  • Exercise: Releases endorphins, which are natural stress busters.
  • Professional Help: Seeking professional help isn’t just for when things are falling apart. It’s a maintenance strategy used by some of the best leaders. Embrace it as part of the norm.
  • Time Management: Prioritize tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Contact me to get our Teams.Coach timeblocking strategy for free!
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Balanced diet, sleep, and regular breaks can do wonders.

Personal Anecdote: I sought professional help (counseling and coaching) to learn coping strategies, and it was the best proactive step I took for my mental health. I realized that higher levels of talent require more sophisticated constructs to steer that talent. Think about it: when you embrace the idea that you are a Ferrari living in a Dodge world, you better schedule that engine for maintenance. (This is just an analogy. Neither Ferrari nor Dodge endorse me, and I dont own either. Now, Ducati, that’s a different story! Let’s go!)


Remember, dealing with anxiety isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. It’s about finding what works for you and sticking to it. Don’t wait until you’re in the midst of a crisis to take action. Implement these strategies today and see the difference they can make.

Feeling anxious about where to start? Book a call with me (SEE LINK BELOW) and get personalized advice to help you manage your anxiety and improve your leadership skills.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to managing anxiety and leading with confidence. After all, a clear mind leads to clear decisions—and that’s something every executive can benefit from.

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