DiscoverThe Anxious Achiever
The Anxious Achiever

The Anxious Achiever

Author: Morra Aarons-Mele

Subscribed: 3,200Played: 85,542


Host Morra Aarons-Mele is on a mission to reframe how we think about anxiety and mental health in the workplace. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. We desperately need better models for leadership and a more holistic view of mental health. Our culture tells those of us who suffer from anxiety and depression that we can’t succeed, but we tell a different story — without sugarcoating the tough stuff. We feature stories from people who’ve been there and experts who can help you thrive.

164 Episodes
Ever been at work and everyone starts talking about their recent trip to Italy, or their Ivy League college reunion coming up… and you just feel left out? Beyond money, class is something that also involves culture and it shows up everywhere - including at work. The stress we feel around class can have a big impact on our mental health, and it’s likely that our class also impacts how we approach our mental health. In this episode, we chat through all the ins and outs of class with Jonathan Menjivar, the host of the podcast Classy. Listen to his show here:
The working world has gotten a lot more open about a lot of things, from mental health challenges to the realities of being a working parent. But a topic that is still taboo for many is the subject of menopause. Today's guests share why understanding more about this phase of life and how it affects women's physical and mental health is paramount to running a successful organization.  In this episode Morra speaks with Dan Simons, cofounder of Farmers Restaurant Group, a business with $100 million in revenue. He’s on a personal mission to normalize conversations about menopause at work as part of a larger part of his leadership which includes being more open about mental health. Joining the conversation with her perspective is Amy Gallo: author, contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, and cohost of the HBR podcast Women at Work. Read Dan's blog post here:
Many in the U.S. this week are celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving - which, unfortunately for many, can mean difficult conversations with family about money, politics, and even the past. At a time when old habits can re-emerge for people, host Morra Aarons-Mele revisits a conversation with Kathleen Smith about family systems theory. The role we played in our family of origin shapes how we show up as a leader and colleague. Smith is a writer, therapist, and associate faculty member at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family.
Today’s guest always seemed to seek out chaos in his career. It wasn’t until a diagnosis that he learned to manage his emotions, stay still, and practice consistency as a leader.  Bryce Seto is an SVP of Business Strategy and Business Development, and has been managing borderline personality disorder since he was diagnosed several years ago. He’s also cofounder of the Blossom Mental Health Fund and has been writing about his experience with BPD to decrease stigma and help the work world better understand what he - and so many others - goes through.  Read more about his story here:
Farnoosh Torabi is a veteran journalist and personal finance expert who has spent much of her life trying to help others have a healthier relationship with money. But we all have hangups, and varying degrees of anxiety when it comes to how we make money and how we measure success. She speaks with host Morra Aarons-Mele in this special LinkedIn live interview about her new book A Healthy State of Panic: Follow Your Fears to Build Wealth, Crush Your Career, and Win at Life. She says that in some ways facing our fears can help improve our mental health and our overall lives.
Speaking up is an essential skill in work and in leadership, but it can be scary and anxiety-inducing for many of us. This week, Morra Aarons-Mele speaks with executive coach Nihar Chhaya about how can speak up more strategically, get what you want, and manage your mental health.
Everyone needs support at work, whether that comes in the form of coaching, therapy, some combination - or something else. In this episode we look at the specific kinds of challenges that executives face with burnout and breakdowns with executive coach Dr. Chris Bittinger. We’ll learn more about coaching versus therapy, the work he does at Open Pivot, and his own mental health journey.
While information about the connection between food, gut health, and our overall well-being has come into the spotlight in recent years, it can still often be something that only the privileged have time, money, and energy to devote to. Kimberley Wilson is hoping to change that. She’s a psychologist with a degree in nutrition, and author of the books How to Build a Healthy Brain and Unprocessed: How the Food We Eat is Fueling our Mental Health Crisis. Wilson explains how deep the connection is between mental health and what we eat, how that shows up in our daily lives, and why these ideas matter for everyone.
It was an emotional and scary week for millions of people around the world following the horrific attacks in Israel and subsequent ramp up of war. In this episode, we return to Rebecca Soffer, author of “The Modern Loss Handbook.” to offer up thoughts on dealing with grief - and work - through such a tragedy, and we share her previous episode on grief for helpful frameworks.
Anthony Sartori knows just how overlooked the mental health of retail workers can be. After finishing college in 2018, and seeing the plight of frontline workers during the beginning of the global pandemic, Sartori started the nonprofit Evolving Minds. He speaks with Morra Aarons-Mele about the goal of the organization and how companies can work to improve the lives of retail employees.
We bring ourselves to work - or to our Zoom calls - every day with the desire to be professional and to achieve. That often means trying to put whatever else is going on in our world aside, but it’s a lot easier said than done. Cynthia Kane is a certified meditation and mindfulness instructor who focuses on communication routines. She explains to host Morra Aarons-Mele why it’s so hard to focus sometimes, how that can impact our interpersonal relationships, and what we can do about it. Plus, why we fall back on communication patterns like being passive-aggressive, and how to break those habits. Learn more about Cynthia's work here:
Gabe Howard had a successful tech career when, at the age of 26, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. To the outside world, many people thought it was merely a case of an inflated ego. After going through a divorce, losing his job, and getting through the scare of losing health insurance, he came out the other side as a speaker and activist. Howard is the host of a number of podcasts including “Inside Mental Health,” and he speaks with host Morra Aarons-Mele about his 2003 diagnosis, how it impacted his career, and what people still misunderstand both in and outside of the workplace about bipolar disorder. Hear more of Howard's podcasts here:
A huge part of breaking down stigma around mental health challenges at work is about being open and honest about our experiences. Mita Mallick is head of Inclusion, Equity and Impact at Carta and host of the LinkedIn podcast Brown Table Talk, and she speaks publicly about injustices she herself has seen and felt in her career. We speak about becoming a public figure, changing toxic workplace culture, and anxiety around achievement.  Check out Mita’s new book here:
We continue the conversation with Dean Yates, a Tasmania-based mental health advocate, former journalist, and author of the book Line in the Sand.
The public school system in the U.S. lost at least 300,000 public school teachers and administrators between February 2020 and May 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Post-pandemic, some of that strain has abated, but many of the underlying causes for quitting, burnout and other mental health challenges remain. At the start of the school year, we speak to Houston-based middle school teacher Crystal Frommert about the unique challenges and anxieties that teachers face in their profession and what she’s learned about better handling those challenges.  You can check out her book here:'t%20Your%20Calling%20is%20a%20how,night%2C%20conferences%2C%20and%20more
The first time that Russell Glass tried meditation, he wasn’t really sure what to make of it. Flash-forward several years and lots of practice later, Glass is now the CEO of Headspace, the mental health and meditation app. He speaks with host Morra Aarons-Mele about his own experience with anxiety and imposter syndrome as an entrepreneur, why he was drawn to Headspace as a company, and loneliness and the importance of human connection at work. They also talk through the bold policies he has in place to continue to make sure Headspace practices what it preaches as an organization.
Host Morra Aaons-Mele has an informal chat with author and entrepreneur Meredith Arthur about how Wegovy - a drug similar to Ozempic - has changed her life, and reduced what she calls “food noise”.
Tara McMullin was diagnosed with autism at the age of 38, and it put her previous struggles with work and the structures we have around work in a new light. Now, she knows how to build her work day and work relationships in a way that’s healthier for how her brain works. The author and business coach shares what work was like for her before and after diagnosis, and what anyone in the work world can learn about controlling how and when they work.  You can listen to Tara’s podcast here:
Do you ever wonder if you are “aging out?” This week, Morra Aarons-Mele speaks with executive coach Nihar Chhaya about the realities of age bias, expectations, and the stress it brings.  Catch more of Morra and Nihar’s LinkedIn Live sessions here:
High achievers and those who struggle with mental health often find it hard to give themselves compassion. We revisit one of our favorite episodes about self-compassion, featuring Mark Goldstein, a lawyer at Reed Smith who speaks about his journey with depression, OCD, and breaking down stigmas; and psychologist and author Dr. Kristin Neff on how people can build more self-compassion to impact their work and lives.  Learn more about Mark Goldstein’s story: Dr. Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion Exercises:
Comments (6)

Lia Thomas

Great podcast. Feels honest and relatable. Helps me be thoughtful about my process and path.

May 20th

Alina Cota

Hello! I love this podcast so much. Truly. It struck a nerve the instant I heard it and I have recommended it to many since. When will the 2nd season start?

Mar 10th

Brooke Jackson

New to podcast, already hooked!

Jan 3rd

carlos gonzalez batres

Great episode, thanks for your work!

Nov 27th

Meta Minds

Great podcast, we are going to be following your progress! 🎙

Oct 11th


Too bad that there is this annoying music in the background, not stopping and making it very difficult to listen to what you are saying 🙄😔 Could you please look into this?

Oct 1st
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