How To: Be Ambitious (While Dealing With Anxiety)

Abandon the expectations and you’ll be free. Free to rest, free to express, free to heal. Anxiety is a response to expectations that are resounding in your mind, crowding the thoughts that desperately want to grow and become plans that sprout brilliant ideas. Sometimes, it’s difficult to dream because it’s difficult to sleep and it’s difficult to sleep because the expectations induce anxiety. Laying awake replaying decisions that haunt you won’t lead to a billion dollar idea or brainstorming breakthrough. Trust me.

Anxiety untreated causes the kind of exhaustion that causes dreams to become little unchecked boxes on a list of things that you meant to do but couldn’t find the strength to complete. There’s a better way to get where you’re going. And, while I’m no doctor, I am a survivor. I know what it is to want success so badly that I sacrificed everything to get where I am.

I want you to get there, to taste the sweetest success, without all of the exhausting sacrifices.


Step One: Sleep More. Regardless of what you’ve heard and in spite of what they’ve told you, rest is the gateway to the most awe-inspiring moments of your life. It is in the quiet moments that you’ll have the energy to imagine a life of wealth and opportunity. I have never met a person suffering from burn out who effectively inspires their team and serves as a healthy partner and friend.

Step Two: Stop asking judgmental people for advice. Sometimes, the people you hope will help you are not equipped to help you heal. They’re not effectively dealing with their own issues so how could they possibly help you navigate your personal emotional obstacle course? Find the courage to express yourself to someone who is healthy enough (and certified) to hear you and, more importantly, encourage you as you do the work required to get through this difficult time.


Being ambitious is only impressive and admirable if you’re healthy enough to enjoy the journey. Focus on one moment, one step, one task at a time. Those who tell you to think five years out are giving ancient and antiquated advice. Millennials know how fast things change in the current job climate. Nothing is guaranteed. The only constant is change. Know where you want to go without obsessing over the details. There’s no way to avoid the potholes, the detours, the delays, and the inclement conditions.

The only way to stay sane is to let go of the obsession with being in control. The details really aren’t up to you. The sooner you accept that, the healthier you’ll be and (above all else) you’ll be free to design a life with limitless possibilities without constantly feeling imprisoned by anxiety.


Need a little more inspiration? Tune in to the NNL PODCAST.