Let’s lay some basic groundwork here.
You are a therapist. You have training out your ass at this point (and are probably already planning for the next workshop, course, or training program since we have this tendency to have our Voice of Doubt show up telling us we don’t know what the fuck we are doing unless we are paying someone else money to get some fancy piece of paper that proves we know our shit
Yeah, I’ll come back to this in a moment
Raise your hand if you are Introverted (or Ambivert).
How about Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?
Keep it up if you are also Type A.
What about feeling easily overwhelmed?
Suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome?
Oh, let’s not forget Imposter Syndrome?
Now let’s just round out this smorgasbord with the condiments (you know the shit you spread liberally over all the rest of what’s on your plate
) with that you say “should” and “make sure” about a hundred times a day.
If you did not raise your hand to at least one of those, then stop reading and go on about your happy little extroverted, peaceful, confident life.
What, you’re still here? Then join the party, you awesome, empathic, intuitive, innovative, and inspiring mess of quivering, doubting nerve endings!
We are the enigmas. We have super powers out the ass that we have been taught to think of as “problems” and “issues.” We are quick to see ourselves as incompetent
(especially when we spend a large chunk of our time on social media playing the 21st century version of “keeping up with the Jones’”
) and seek permission from those we perceive as more powerful.
Your Anxiety loves to step up and be the one in charge. It loves to boss you around and say “NO” when you ask to leave the comfort zone. It convinces you that it is the authority figure that you are so desperately seeking.
It is a Fucking Liar
So here is something to know about me. I could talk about Anxiety for days, possibly weeks. Each time I type something I think of 10 other things to say or paths to take. So buckle up, because this could be a wild ride!
Fortunately for all of us I met the Queen BadAss last year, and I am getting much better about staying focused and "whole-assing" one thing at a time. Now watch me wrap up all the loose ends that I started…
Almost four years ago I hired a coach.
I had been licensed for almost 10 years and in private practice for just over a year. Money was tight AND I made a very scary (for me at the time) decision to not just hire any
old coach; I went for the “Investment.” You know "The Coach,"
the one who had written a book and charged almost 3 times what I was making per hour at the time
. The one who, after you make the appointment, you pace around going, “Fuck, Fuck, Fuck”
under your breathe because Asshole Anxiety is telling you that you've just made the biggest financial mistake of your life.
Within 20 minutes of the first session (at about the $100 mark in my investment), we are talking about my niche.
Now, I had pages and pages of ideas for my niche. I could have wallpapered an entire room in my house with all the pages of niche ideas. I was so sick of the conversation in my head about, “but I like working with______ and _______” and how I didn’t want to exclude
When I think back now on how much time and energy I spent overthinking my niche, I laugh hysterically (that is one of the things I do to keep from crying. Ask me about the time I hydroplaned in my car on April Fools Day).
So we're about 20 minutes in and this very wise woman asks me simply, “who do you like working with?”
Without hesitation, I replied, “people with Anxiety.”
Then MY ANXIETY jumped into the conversation as the VOICE OF DOUBT and said, “BUT every therapist out there works with Anxiety .” There was a pause, and then my very wise coach cocked her head (you know that head cock that gives you the non-verbal cue that some really important shit is about to happen), and she said, “AND everyone has Anxiety….”
It was like a mic drop before that was even a thing.
There is more to the story AND I’ll save some of it for later. I will tell you this though: It involves having been at a workshop on Anxiety with Reid Wilson (who has since became one of my idol- I mean, mentors) and it was like BOOM, sperm meets egg and Auntie Anxiety was born.
Reid is the one who taught me that Anxiety is the one in charge when you are doing the two things that Anxiety tells you are top priority in your life: Seeking to be Certain
and seeking to be Comfortable
. Raise your hand if you spend a large chunk of your time doing one or both of them every single fucking day
Folks, it is time to call out your Anxiety, in whatever form it takes. Acceptance is the key here. Anxiety is an Asshole (sometimes) AND it has an important job to do. Stop fighting with it and learn to embrace it (give it a big ol’ bear hug
Yeah yeah, that sounds nuts AND I want you to think about it. When you are feeling uneasy, worrying, or full on feeling nervous or anxious and you seek out reassurance or comfort, how long does that feeling actually last? For about 5 minutes (if you are lucky ) before the next wave of doubt washes over you and then it becomes “wash, rinse, repeat.” Sound familiar?
Shit, I have been rambling on haven’t I? There is one more thing to wrap up AND I’m going to give you one more idea to ponder when it comes to your Anxiety.
Anyone keeping up and know what I haven’t wrapped up yet?
if you noticed that I was on rant about how us Type A therapists
suffering from Imposter Syndrome
and Voice of Doubt
are always looking for the next course to take (since we seem to think with don’t know shit
about what we are doing). Here is Auntie Anxiety’s opinion (yep, just my opinion and we all know the saying about opinions and assholes….everyone has one
YOU KNOW ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR RIGHT NOW! As Queen BadAss would say, “Chill the Fuck Out” and focus on what is right in front of you right now!
If you've taken Laura’s course, then focus on the Course. If you aren’t taking the Course right now because of all of the other things you have on your plate, then actually focus on those things.
Anxiety is all about getting you caught up in the future so that it can play around in the background without you noticing. Stop that shit and stop distracting yourself with all of the “What if’s…?” That is Anxiety’s game and you have to learn how to play that game to win (rather than lose, which is what I am guessing happens most of the time now).
Anxiety loves it when we are feeling overwhelmed.
It rides in on it’s white horse and convinces us that it is our Knight in Shining Armor. Our overwhelmed optics are missing that it is actually riding on a JackAss and that all it’s armor is just a bunch of tin cans!
Opt-out of overwhelm and opt-in to accepting your Super Powers of insight and ingenuity. You are the boss and most certainly do not need to be rescued!
Look, most of us do work with clients who are dealing with Anxiety in some form or another. Let’s figure out how to deal with our own Anxiety so we can pave the way for them to deal with it to. Damn, what would the world look like if we Empowered the Shit out of ourselves and our clients.
That brings a huge smile to my face, how about you?
-Lynn Dutrow aka “Auntie Anxiety” is The Compassionate Ass Kicker
If you enjoyed this fun post from one of my best YBTP students, hop on over to www.thecompassionateasskicker.com
and check out Lynn's free 3-part audio series to help therapists learn how to talk back to their Anxiety.