Guest Writer – Paul King – Why anxiety is a good thing

Many work places do not know how to deal with anxiety. Having someone say the wrong thing at the wrong time is super hurtful and can make the sufferer feel even more  misunderstood.  There’s never been a time that I’ve known where being told to calm down – actually every worked. We have such  a long way to go as a developed country?? to accept anxiety for when and  how it presents itself, and how to provide support so as not to exacerbate an individuals anxiety.  That’s why we wanted to share this article with you. Anxiety can be positive.  Without realising it, we have virtually had all humanity trained out of us. It starts at school. 

I help business people to have anxiety

Paul King

Leadership psychology | Coach | Mentor | Adviser

You read it correctly. (3 minute read)

I’m not talking about ‘drama’. Anxiety can be, an extremely useful business and management tool, if handled skilfully. Also…

… This is not another ‘fight or flight’ thing that pop-psychologists and wanna-be business coaches trot out.

This is a short introduction into how I help clients experience existential anxiety creatively; to be ‘in’ anxiety, attuned to it, alive to it and allow understanding, hear what anxiety is saying to them and solutions to surface. To find the ‘sweet spot’ between the deadly states of complacency and panic.

We feel safe expressing our care and worry for our children and families. We accept that it’s not always going to go right, and we will communicate with friends relatively freely. This same space is what’s missing for business people.


The secret is safety. Once there is a safe space to ‘be’ then anxiety can be felt as a source of information and motivation. . In this space, which is a confidential two person ‘bubble’, it’s possible to ‘hold’ anxiety and suspend their defences. Anxiety is only problematical if we ignore or block out what it’s telling us.

Although only people with post-graduate psychology, psychotherapy or counselling qualifications and up to date professional memberships should offer this work, it is important to remember, this is not ‘seeing a shrink’. there’s absolutely nothing ‘wrong’, it’s attunement, a sharpening of senses, clearing away junk and distraction to allowing insight and intuition. It is allowing our ‘being’ to ‘be’.


Being’ has been hijacked by mindfulness which although calming is also stifling. It does not allow our experience and fore-knowledge to merge with our future possibilities to bring our whole self to bear on what we care about. Mindfulness actively does the opposite but can still be very pleasant and useful.


Care’ is a vital proposition in terms of anxiety because what we care about is the root of our anxiety. Thus, at the least we can identify what we truly care about. Martin Heidegger explains that we live in a world of possible concerns and our cares, what we care about are those concerns most important to us. Our cares, over which we have little or no say, are the things about which we ‘worry’.


Worry’ is really were we’re going; anxiety is how we ‘feel’ worry. Worrying is essential and without it we are adrift. Not too much or too little though and this is truly where business people need the help of someone like me.

Worrying about babies and children is what automatically makes us incredibly resourceful when it comes to keeping them safe and giving them opportunities to flourish. Courses and instruction are useless unless we have this innate care.

In conclusion

Our schools and companies are run on a military hierarchy basis. There are ranks, reporting and lines of command. We have humanity trained out of us. We are more or less fashioned into automatons that accept that competition is a way of life and ‘upwards’ is key. In pursuit of ‘upwards’, strength, ruthlessness and (false) stoicism is modelled for us. We are programmed to stamp order upon things with processes, battle-plans, protocols. The very human warning system of worry and anxiety about that which we care and worry about is squashed and we lurch between complacency and panic.

We are humans. We’re not ants or honeybees with unquestioning jobs to do. Our abilities, all of us, are extraordinary, when we can bring our humanness to bear to a full extent.

 About me

Paul A. King BHSc(Hons), BSc, GCertBHSc, MNZPsS

I am a member of the New Zealand Psychological Society and American Psychological Association. I am also a coach on the Massey University Master of Applied Leadership (MALP) and EMBA programmes. I have back-up too from highly experienced and qualified colleagues. My psychological training is in counselling psychology and addictions and I’m currently working on a Masters research project (MPhil) in business psychology looking at the lived experience of senior business people. I am also an Authorised Financial Adviser.

I am available for corporate engagements where I work alongside HR but in a confidential, non-reporting, non-EAP capacity and of course, privately. Also, for conferences, and of course at the moment, Zoom calls etc.

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