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Anxiety is the feeling of fear, dread, worry and concern that is often associated with physiological uneasiness. There are many reasons people experience anxiety. Some of us are prone to it through our genetic makeup. Others have been so strongly conditioned in childhood through abuse, neglect or trauma, that the experience of anxiety is inevitable. In my experience of working with thousands of people over the past twenty years, the vast majority of us experience anxiety as a result of the habit of avoidance.

Avoidance, as we all know, has negative consequences. There are times in life when it is important to consciously take a break from someone or something. Sometimes, we need to make those breaks permanent. It is fundamental, however, that we do so intentionally. In other words, that we do not avoid. Instead of avoiding, we can learn over time to consciously choose what we want to experience in life and business. Choosing our experiences consciously is a powerful approach to success in life and business.

Conversely, letting others dominate our experience lowers our self-esteem and leads to anxiety. For example, the longer we stay stuck in a job or relationship that we know is

not right for us, the more challenging our life becomes. I once worked with an executive who knew in his heart of hearts that his high-powered corporate job was not a good fit for his nature. He didn’t like the idea of working in a formal office every day. He especially hated having to answer to higher ups each and every month. He always had that feeling like someone else was controlling his destiny. However, the notion of walking away from a lucrative career terrified him.

Before we met he tried to overcome his anxiety with anti- depressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Although this approach gave him some relief, it never solved the core issue that was causing his anxiety in the first place. He was off path. As I often say: “happiness is related to the feeling that we are on the right path.” No amount of medication could put him on the right path as long as he stayed in his corporate job day after day.

My question for you is: what are you avoiding and what are you going to do about it?