Channeling Anxiety: A Key to Success

Channeling Anxiety: A Key to Success

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who also suffers from chronic anxiety. I was sharing my experience about how much medication has helped me. I started taking it in my early 50s, after suffering chronic, debilitating anxiety since I was a young child. Today, having the right combination of prescribed medication, by a physician who understands chronic anxiety, has completely changed my life for the better. My friend doesn’t take medication, and doesn’t want to. They think medication will change them too much – in a sense, change who they are. I can understand that.

Our conversation got me thinking about what would have happened had I started taking medication earlier. Because I had lots of chances. But my fear of taking medication kept me away from it for a long time, until finally, after the death of my cousin, my life got so hard that I surrendered to pharmaceutical help.

If I had started medication earlier, my life definitely would not have turned out the way it did. My strong, overwhelming anxiety drove me to succeed. When I started Lemon Squad, I had a real fear of failure, and my anxiety drove me to work every day around the clock for years. I’m not saying that’s healthy or that other entrepreneurs need to do that in order to succeed. But today, when I look back on my life, I can see that the fear of failure was a big reason I worked as hard as I did to make the business succeed.

If I had been medicated, if my anxiety had been managed, I am 98% certain that I would not have worked as hard as I did for as long as I did. So in that way, my anxiety definitely helped me succeed.

Anxiety shaped who I am today and the decisions I’ve made throughout my life.

Today, I’m at a place where I’ve done all that. I channeled that anxiety (and ambition) to create a successful national business. I’m glad I don’t have to live like that today. Every day, I’m grateful to have met a physician in urgent care who specialized in anxiety disorders and knew how to treat them. I’m grateful I was willing in that moment to surrender and take the medications before I even left the hospital. I’m grateful for the support of my wife Regan, who encouraged me to take the next dose that evening, and who talked me through my fear of taking this major life step. I’m so grateful it works for me today, and I don’t want to go back to the way I once lived, in the grip of overwhelming anxiety.

To read more about my struggle and journey with lifelong anxiety, pre-order my book, From Turmoil to Triumph, due out February 25th.

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