Self-Care for Leaders: Managing Social Anxiety in High-Pressure Environments
Being a leader in a high-pressure environment can be incredibly rewarding but comes with unique challenges. For some leaders, social anxiety can be an obstacle between them and their full potential. As someone who has personally battled and overcome social anxiety, I understand the struggles that leaders with this condition face. In this blog, I want to share my journey of conquering social anxiety and offer valuable self-care strategies for fellow leaders to manage social anxiety in high-pressure settings.
Understanding Social Anxiety
Social anxiety, or social phobia, is a mental health condition characterized by intense fear and discomfort in social situations. Social anxiety can be particularly distressing for leaders, whose roles often involve public speaking, networking, and critical decisions. It can lead to self-doubt and avoidance of social events and hinder meaningful connections with team members, peers, and stakeholders.
My Journey with Social Anxiety
I once struggled intensely with social anxiety. As a leader, I felt overwhelming pressure always to be confident and assertive. However, social interactions would leave me feeling drained, anxious, and uncertain of myself. I started avoiding situations that triggered my anxiety, worsening the issue. Recognizing that my anxiety was holding me back personally and professionally, I knew it was time to address it head-on.
1. Seek Help
The first step I took toward overcoming social anxiety was seeking help online; at first, I could not reach out to a coach or therapist. The thought of talking to someone I didn’t know gave me even more anxiety. I learned about cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), and I learned coping mechanisms to challenge negative thoughts and gradually expose myself to anxiety-provoking situations.
2. Embrace Vulnerability
As a leader, it’s essential to acknowledge that vulnerability does not equate to weakness. Being open about my struggles with social anxiety with my team members…