While starting a new job is incredibly exciting, the change can also trigger feelings of anxiety and nervousness. Among other things, you may worry about whether you’ll perform well enough in your new job to live up to your manager’s expectations. Fortunately, there are strategies you can deploy to mitigate new job nervousness and cope with career anxiety.
How To Manage Anxiety When Starting A New Job: 7 Strategies
What follows are 7 techniques you can use to manage anxiety when starting a new role:
1. Reflect on your career successes.
To begin, you can minimize feelings of anxiety and bolster your self-esteem as you prepare for your new gig by reviewing your biggest career wins. The following are a few questions to get your wheels turning as you reflect:
- What are you most proud of from your career?
- How did you make your boss look good?
- Where have you delivered value in your career?
While you’re at it, take time to reflect on what sets you apart from other employees (AKA your fabulousness). Remembering that you likely beat out at least a few hundred (or thousand) candidates vying for your role can further ease your nerves and bolster your confidence as you settle into your new company.
2. Practice your elevator pitch.
Now, with a summary of your career accomplishments in hand, begin outlining your elevator pitch, as you’ll likely be prompted to “Tell me about yourself” more times than you can count in your first few weeks and months. Consider carving out 5 to 10 minutes per day to rehearse your elevator pitch. This simple yet impactful exercise can help you start your new job with conviction and confidence.
3. Set realistic goals for your first 90 days.
Next, evaluate what you’ve set out to achieve in your new role, as you want to be mindful of how much you can realistically take on during your first 90 days. The concept “under promise and over deliver” rings particularly true when you’re joining a new company, since much of your onboarding time will be focused on acclimating yourself to the new environment, meeting key stakeholders, and establishing priorities.
Try to avoid the mistake of coming into the company and implementing changes too quickly without first gaining a pulse on the organization as well as significant buy-in. Instead, set realistic and achievable goals that you know you can crush in your first 90 days.
4. Lean into your support system.
Speaking of which, be intentional in quickly building out a support system at your new company. This quasi board of directors will likely include your immediate manager, direct reports, and potentially any cross-functional partners you regularly interact with. Also, be on the lookout for potential mentors and sponsors in your new workplace.
You additionally want to think about the people outside your company who can continue to support you in acclimating to your new job. Then, identify any potential gaps you may need to fill in order to reach the next peak in your career journey while remaining calm and confident.
5. Write about your feelings.
If thinking about everything you need to do in your new role has you nervous, make space in your schedule to journal about your feelings and manifest a successful transition. The following are several potential journal prompts to guide you. I encourage you to write your responses in the present tense, as if you’ve already achieved them. (For example: “I significantly reduced my anxiety by developing a morning routine of reviewing my career accomplishments and meditating for 10 minutes before work.”)
- What strategies helped you calm your nerves leading up to your first day of work?
- Who is in your support system at your new company?
- What did you accomplish in your first 3 months in your new role?
- How did you celebrate completing your first day? Your first 30 days? Your first 90 days?
These questions are just a start. Feel free to get creative and develop your own questions as you begin to manifest success and confidence in yourself!
6. Harness the power of meditation.
In addition to writing about your feelings, you may wish to try meditating to reduce your anxiety and improve your confidence. Insight Timer has a plethora of free guided meditations on a variety of topics. Many of my coaching clients also find it helpful to spend time visualizing themselves succeeding in their new job.
And if meditation proves too challenging, you can simply take seven deep breaths, with the goal of making each one longer than the previous, a helpful technique I picked up from the Rev. Dr. Adam Robersmith.
7. Give yourself grace.
Lastly, be patient with yourself as you adjust to your new job, work environment, and colleagues. As mentioned earlier, you must be realistic with yourself about what you can honestly achieve in the first few months in your new position.
If you feel like you’re not picking things up quickly enough, know that you’re likely being harder on yourself than anyone else is. It can easily take a year or more to learn the ins and outs of a new role and company.
Remember that it’s normal to feel nervous or anxious when you start a new role. Reflect on your career wins, lean into self-care and community, and give yourself the gift of grace. And if you’re still feeling stuck, consider partnering with an executive coach to support you through the transition. You’ve got this!