Feeling guilty yet?

Weiss Advice Issue: 232,  November 2022

I’ve learned that what a lot of you consider “guilt” is really anxiety.

“Guilt” is a feeling of having done something wrong or failed in an
obligation. I have guilt about not returning my mother’s call. “Anxiety” is a feeling of worry or unease. The new student was anxious to try to please the teacher.

When I hear about “guilt” over not doing enough to market yourself, I interpret it as anxiety over whether a) you’re doing everything you can, and b) you’re doing the right things to begin with.

Dan Pink’s new book, Regrets, prompted me to have a discussion with him for my podcast, The Uncomfortable Truth. He doesn’t relate regrets directly to guilt or vice versa. But he does recognize ongoing anxiety.

The more nervous, stressed, and anxious we are the poorer we perform, because these feelings “mask” talent. We dissipate and attenuate our energy on worry and frets.

Find out why you’re anxious. Ask whom you’re trying to please so hard. Too often it’s someone from the past or someone from the present who doesn’t matter at all. We abide by others’ metrics and norms by default, instead of applying our own.

People ask if I’m anxious before a speech. I’m not. I am eager, with a lot of energy waiting to be released in a positive manner. Eagerness and healthy anticipation builds my energy. Anxiety diminishes it.

Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

It ain’t that bad.

© Alan Weiss 2022

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