When dealing with unfamiliar and unique situations, we sometimes feel anxious. If an individual does not know what to do or what to expect, it is common to feel restless, concerned, and worried. The extent of anxiety would depend on whether this person feels he can cope or not. When gifted with a high level of self-confidence and self-esteem, people will be less likely to get anxious; however, for those with very low regard to oneself, it can be expected that anxiety in job performance can be very severe.
Effects of Performance Anxiety
Anxiety does not always have ill effects; in fact, it can be considered a good thing because it has an overriding purpose and that is to protect you from what lies ahead. But, when anxiety becomes chronic, this is no longer healthy to you and to your work performance.
One of the very obvious effects of anxiety is the disruption of work patterns. The constant worrying about whether a particular task is done right will only lead to a lot of wasted time and energy on unnecessary things.
For example, worrying too much about what template to use for the business review presentation will probably amount to at least 30 minutes of contemplation and doing trial and errors.
Another effect of performance anxiety is the lack of planning. Proactive individuals are those who prepare themselves for things to come but when they become anxious, chances are that they will deal with situations reactively. They become irritable and emotional, or in other cases, withdrawn.
For managers, when performance anxiety strikes, they become ineffective in one of their main functions, which is people management. Anxious individuals cannot think properly; they will most likely appear erratic and stressed, so it will be difficult to motivate their people when placed in these situations.
A Change of Perspective
Performance anxiety can be managed by giving yourself a fresh perspective on the situation that is causing the anxiety. But to do this, it is necessary to first be able to determine what the specific cause is. Ask questions that will lead you to the answer, such as:
1. Do you have insecurities? If so, what are they?
2. Does your boss have very high expectations of you?
3. Are you afraid of making mistakes?
4. What will make you happy and content in your job?
Finding the exact cause of anxiety is the first step to take, and once this has been identified, ask yourself if it is really worth worrying about. Should your colleague’s opinion greatly affect how you would deliver your presentation next week? Is it something that you should lose sleep over? Must you stay up tonight to worry about it, or can it wait until morning?
These questions will help you understand what is worth worrying and what is not. Sometimes, it really pays to know that it is no use tormenting yourself over the things that are outside your “circle of influence.”
Get Rid of Performance Anxiety
Aside from changing perspective, there are also other ways to get rid of anxiety. Note though that it is not in all cases that you can completely get it out of your system and the most that can be done is to manage or control anxiety.
• Communicate – Sometimes, what is needed is simply to open up to someone you trust. It helps to “let it all out” so that you do not carry the burden with you all the time. Moreover, communicating your worries with others will give you different ideas and different perspectives to help you look at the problem from another point of view.
• Positive Self-Talk – The problem becomes worse when people are constantly telling themselves that they do not have the ability to do things right. Making mistakes should not stop you from continuing to work towards your goal. Build your self-esteem and realize that you, just like others, can make it happen.
• Self-Appreciation – Giving credit where credit is due is important, especially if you are the one who should be credited for a job well done. Pat yourself in the back every time you have done a good job.
• Get a Life – Many people dedicate their focus and their time only on their work and as a result, they lack balance in their life. Pursue hobbies and interests; devote your time on family and on the things that matter the most. This will help keep anxiety away knowing that there is more to life than work and that the world will not stop revolving just because you made a silly mistake in the office.