Is Anxiety Your Superpower? Ugh, I Hate That Word...

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I’m not glamorizing anxiety, because it stinks. But there’s a new way I started thinking about mine that totally disrupted my old narrative and shifted my thinking. It might help you do the same.

As a former teacher, I used to attend tons of professional development talks and workshops. They invariably started with the leader asking everyone to introduce themselves. Say your name and... your superpower.  Ugh.

There was a period where that happened 3 times in a row. I’ve never related to that superpower idea and even found the trendy use of “superpower” a bit irritating. I mean, I’m good at a number of things but superpower just sounded stupid. 

So, I always just made something up.

That changed a couple of years ago when I had stopped teaching and started writing a lot about anxiety. Out of left field, I started to realize that I did have “superpowers” and for some reason, that notion no longer seemed stupid. But they came from a place that I definitely wasn’t thinking about during those ice-breaker questions. They actually came from a place that I didn’t like to think about at all and had some embarrassment around. My anxiety.

Sure, when my anxiety is at full force these characteristics are blown out of proportion, exaggerated and definitely not helpful. Not a superpower.

BUT, in my normal day to day free from anxiety, these characteristics are present and make me really good at what I do. I now think of them as my superpowers.

  • Proactive planner

  • Prolific option thinker

  • Highly tuned in to the environment 

  • Advanced facial recognition 

  • Highly imaginative

  • Quick to energize for action

  • Excellent brainstorming what-if scenarios

  • Extremely realistic

Can you relate to any of these? What do some of your anxious qualities look like when dialed back? You don’t have to think of them as superpowers, because I know that can be annoying, but use them to help you start thinking of your anxiety in a different way.