The word anxiety gets a lot of attention, doesn’t it? This has me thinking that we, as competitors and in everyday life, are collectively losing resilience or, on the other hand, we are overreacting.

I’m just thinking out loud. Nonetheless, this might cause a bit of a fuss. How dare I suggest either extreme?!

Really, though, how is it that either extreme is even possible in an environment packed with more research, more data points, and more advice per square pixel than any time in history, or pre-history for that matter (wink)!

I can’t help but think it has something to do with a fixation on the use of a certain word (anxiety), while neglecting to see that most of the “symptoms” of this word are found at the heart of another word.

I’m suggesting we opt for use of a more empowering word; one that, when spoken, immediately alters our perception of ourselves, and others of us. This, instead of filling up our days and nights with a word that strips us of every ounce of power we work so diligently to amass.

Lost yet? Don’t get anxious. I’m getting to the point.

Let’s consider the common features of anxiety according to the Mayo Clinic:

Nervous, restless, tense
Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
Having an increased heart rate
Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
Feeling weak or tired
Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
Having trouble sleeping
Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
Having difficulty controlling worry
Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

Now, take a look at that list and hold the word ambition in your mind, instead of anxiety.

I don’t know about you, but the times in my life when I have really wanted something – I mean super intent on getting something I want, I could easily attribute most of those bullets to ambition.

Wouldn’t you rather be staring at the ceiling in an insomniacal fit because you are having an ambition attack?

Wouldn’t you rather go on and on to your friends and colleagues, saying “I’m just worried my ambition is going to get the best of me.”

Wouldn’t you rather have other people talk about you when you’re not around, which you know happens because this is life and that is something that happens in life, and have them say things like, “She’s cool and all, but she’s just so ambitious all the time.”

At least with this language upgrade you’ll be in bed, wide-eyed with gargantuan hope. You’ll spill an unending loop of repetitiveness to your friends and colleagues that drapes you on the altar of intent, rather than lounging in your lawn chair next to a black hole of “should I just give up?”, and finally, when people talk about you when you’re not around, you’ll find yourself feeling something on that same deep level where you felt the anxiety, but you’ll find it’s easier to live with…because you’re ambitious.

A final point: If you felt a twinge of defensiveness during this post, a bit of “how dare she try and diminish the very real feelings I have and the detrimental effect they are having on my life”, I want you to know that if all the people who currently refer to themselves as anxious were to just take a minute and consider the use of ambitious, instead, it would free up the opportunity to better recognize, reassure, and rehabilitate those of us who really are dealing with anxiety.

In cycling and in other sports, if you’re still hanging back in a category you should have surpassed by now, it’s called “sandbagging”.

If you are competing in the wrong category, move on… so we can honor and elevate those that have challenges keeping them from their ambition.

Now, GO GET ‘EM!

And if you’re not sure quite how to get started, it’s time to get a coach.

It’s EASY.