Anxiety about being bold at work


I work in technology, and was recently promoted to a leadership position in charge of a key future-focused initiative at my company. I really enjoy the work, and I’m well-qualified to be doing it. I wasn’t given specific direction about growing a team and haven’t been given a budget, but a few people within the company raised their hands to join me, and my manager was open to making transfers, without any approval from executives. This week I have been working on making transition plans for two superstar engineers from other groups to join my team. I have also been sharing my strategy for moving out on my initiative with various people in the company. The strategy has gotten good reception.

I am feeling self-consciousness and anxiety as I move forward with my work goals in this way. My company has lots of plans and projects, not all of which it can do with the limited resources that any company faces. I feel like my working on my initiatives may take away from other managers’ ability to achieve their goals. While I believe in my direction and strategy and I know some other people in the company do too, I’m sure there are plenty of people thinking I’m using too many resources on something that is unlikely to provide real value. (I realize I can’t control their models!)

As I’m writing this out, I see that a key thought I have is “Uh oh, I have not gotten proper permission to do what I’m doing.” That makes me feel anxious. The anxiety leads me to spend a lot of time worrying about what might happen. It also leads me to question any additional bold moves I might make, maybe choosing not to make them so that I don’t create more anxiety. Spending time worrying keeps me from making progress on my goals. It keeps me small.

I’m not sure if what I should work on is an intentional model, or if I should just accept that as I grow myself and my team to move out on this big project that I’m going to feel anxiety and self-consciousness. Any suggestions for how to proceed?