Hi! I'm Stephanie, founder of the Empowered Leaders Academy.

Leading with Vulnerability: My Story of Managing Anxiety

Published 14 days ago • 3 min read

Welcome Back, Empowered Leader,

I'm so glad you're here, Reader!

I Have What?

I had been expecting the depression diagnosis... it's why I had come. What I had not expected was the diagnosis for anxiety, too.

Why? I had my own idea of what anxiety was... an image in my head of how it looked. I was wrong.

Instead, I learned that my anxiety had been around for quite a long time. For so long that it was how I identified myself to be - normal, I thought. Now I knew differently.

Until you know someone with a diagnosis of anything, or have it personally, we don't really know the truth... not even close. And then, we only know one version.

May is Mental Health Awareness month.

A month to remind each of us that there is more to a person's behavior than you see from the glimpse of the surface you experience. And that's okay!

As human beings, especially as leaders, we must not be quick to judge. Our teams are made up of so many different personalities, cultures, experiences, lifestyles, and more. That's what makes each of us uniquely beautiful human beings.

In leadership roles, we are there to lead. To guide those in our charge to meet a company need or goal. We are more successful in doing this, when we treat each other as humans (head, heart & soul). Get the job done, but remember that people are not widgets.

This is why the role of a leader starts with building psychological safety and earning trust. Then, and only then, can you move beyond being a team who reports to the same boss, to being a team who is united and motivated to row the boat in the same direction.

Understanding that each of us is battling our own struggles, helps us to not blame or assume without conversation. Human connection will win every time!

People like me, with high-functioning anxiety, feel the need to overachieve constantly. We are top performers, highly organized, achievers, perfectionists. This sounds great - right?!

Until you add the part about why we do it. The motivation behind it is to feel valued, loved. It's not out of enjoyment for what we do. Some of us end up being people pleasers, having trouble setting personal boundaries and saying 'no'. (Lucky for me, that is one of the attributes I don't have.)

I don't always do a good job of catching myself when I'm really struggling with letting my anxiety control me. In those moments, I finally realize that I've reached a feeling of 'not enough' or of 'failing'. It's not easy for me to let a task go undone, however insignificant that task may be. (I have quite the tidy home!)

I'm getting better at noticing when I need a break, to treat myself to a moment or a day of being unproductive. I have even forced myself to do things that I know I'm not good at... just to remind myself that it's okay not to be the best, but to keep doing it anyway. (I'm no artist, but I use coloring books to take the place of doom scrolling, and to be okay with being an imperfectionist!)

You don't have to be diagnosed with anything to realize when your body, mind or soul needs a break or extra attention. It's always good to take note when your body is trying to tell you something... to get some real rest, to eat, to get sunlight, to hydrate, or to turn off the electronics.

I hope that you pay attention to your own inner voice to take care of you!

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Stephanie Weiss

Your Empowered Leadership Coach


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Hi! I'm Stephanie, founder of the Empowered Leaders Academy.

Guiding newer corporate leaders to transition from doer to boss - offering coaching, training & group support to help you build an extraordinary team along the way! Sign up for my newsletter, join an upcoming live event, apply to the community, or get 1:1 coaching.

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