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Anxiety is your potential – The Coaching Room

Anxiety is healthy, it’s pointing toward your potential, are you listening?

A bold and controversial statement, I know. It’s meant to be.

This article is about Anxiety in high performance sports, in leadership, and other high-pressure fields.



The purpose of this article is to help you reframe anxiety through understanding that it and all emotions are outputs, not inputs. They have a positive intention, which enables us to connect with what really matters for us, when we experience anxiety in pressure situations.

I’m going to talk about what emotions are, how they arise, and then specifically drop into anxiety and look at what’s really going on there for you. 



Put a hyphen in between the E and Motion (e-motion), the E stands for Energy in Motion. All emotions are simply energy in motion. It’s what we do after we experience that energy, that is the difference that makes the difference. We code the energy with language and meaning. More on this later.

What this means is that there’s actually only one e-motion, that simply takes on different guises and is experienced somatically (physiologically) as feelings in your body (tightness, contractions, heaviness, butterflies etc.), and coded as good, bad or indifferent.


E-motion as output

All emotions are an output of your thinking. Thinking is the movies you make in mind. You think about the past, a memory, or you think about the future (constructing the future through imagination).

You create a movie in mind about something, either a visual movie (with colour and movement) or an auditory movie (a soundbite), or you talk to yourself about something, or feel something (a kinaesthetic movie). These are all component parts that make up your movies. You can have smell and taste as well.

All e-motions are result of your movie making, either future or past.

We’re constantly making movies about past events, about how things (events, people) remind us of other things, or about how we would like to have changed something (an event or interaction) in the past, or to be different in future.

When you make a movie, you feel something.

What you and I have learned to do with e-motions is to code them as good, bad or indifferent.


E-motion as anxiety

Let’s look at anxiety. Anxiety is energy in motion about the future.

Anxiety is always about the future. You can worry about the past, but you are only anxious about the future.

Anxiety is energy in motion about a movie you’re making about the future, which hasn’t happened yet. That makes the movie a construct. You’re constructing it in mind and projecting it out into the future, as if it’s happening now. That’s the really important part. It’s important, because your mind and body doesn’t know the difference, so you experience it as if it is happening now


Anxiety is about potential

The future is where your potential lies. it’s arises as an output, that is pointing to the possibility of you. The interesting thing is you never get anxious about what’s not possible.

That’s what I mean  when I say that anxiety is an emotion that can be healthy, because the intention of it is to help you achieve a future potential by avoiding failure.

The final component part is what arises for most people (in my experience) in the face of anxiety, is self-protection from failing to achieve your potential.

When that happens, we have a tendency to code anxiety as bad.

Two things; one, we forget that then movie we are making is a construct. It’s not real. We treat that construct as if it is reality in the future, but we experience it now. Hence, anxiety is experienced in the body now about the future. Your mind codes that feeling as, “That’s not very good. I don’t like that.” Two, it arises as a feeling in your body – in your gut, in your chest, in your solar plexus, etc, as a potential failure to achieve your potential.

So if it’s possible that anxiety is about your potential, then you’re simply focussing on not failing at that potential and then treating that as if it’s real. Paradoxically, you are more likely to get what you are focussing on.

Hence, you experience anxiety as unhealthy.

We are saying quite the opposite. It’s actually a very, very healthy expression of being a human being. It means that something is important to you and you have potential in that area, to fulfill.

Potential is the possibility of you that has been coded as a negative probability of you.

We recommend asking yourself a couple of questions when you’re experiencing anxiety; “What am I focussing on? Am I focused on what I don’t want or am I focused on what I do want?”

If you can focus into what you do want, the energy and anxiety will change and be recoded as excitement or joy or the thrill of the challenge. 

This will create create energy in your system to motivate you to go make that happen. If any of you have got any questions or any thoughts on that, reach out to me directly: jay@thecoachingroom.com.au


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