Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

Why Getting Nervous Makes You Happier


You’ve been asked to make a presentation at work, or you’re a consultant who delivers speeches and workshops to generate interest in your work. You have some time to prepare—and you’re anxious. Depending on how you regard public speaking, you may be extremely nervous. And probably a bit excited, too. How can you best use your anxiety to your advantage?

You may not realize that having some anxiety in your work is actually a good thing. When you’re nervous, it means you’re challenging yourself. And setting goals that are a bit beyond your reach and meeting them is one of the main components of happiness.

If your work doesn’t challenge you, you probably need to find a new job. Most people want to feel engaged in their work and be proud of how they are growing in their jobs. If you are not feeling like you’re gaining new skills and improving yourself, think about what you can do to fix that.

There is always a project you can create, a new department you can get involved with, an article you can write or a panel discussion you can contribute to. Think about “stretch assignments” you can request, or figure out what needs to be done and offer to do it.

The more you think about challenging yourself at work, and being a bit scared in the process, the more you will learn, and the more marketable—and happier—you will be.