Anxiety is one of the top nemesis to a leader (and all humans for that matter). This issue can paralyze the progress of any organization. After years of working with CEO’s and business owners I have noticed that we all have a pattern for dealing with worry and that pattern needs to be broken.
Here is how it usually works… First, worry sets in around pressure (usually financial or unmet expectations). Second, it begins to fester and take on more influence than it deserves in our minds. Third, we begin to change the way we behave. For most men I have noticed that we internalize it and clam up. We become more quiet in general and short in our conversations. Fourth, worry begins to affect the way we think. Pressure mounts and we begin to be very short term in our strategy and thinking. Finally, if unchecked worry usually leads us to the very place we didn’t want to go – it leads to a semblance of failure.
In reality, worry becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The very things we didn’t want to happen happen because we obsess about them and thus it turns people away from us because of irrational, inconsistent behavior.
Let me give you an example from personal experience. There was a time in my early business dealings where our revenues where much lower than I desired or expected. I began to worry – a lot. I started to obsess over money and the revenues we needed. It began affecting my weekends, my wife and our communication, and my time with my kids. I was short, panicky and frustrated constantly. This led to me putting pressure on relationships (which everyone can feel) to buy my services. That, in turn, led to some distancing, which ultimately led to less business from the people I was working on helping.
Worry had gained control. It then started affecting my personality. I became unattractive in business because I was perceived as needy. That behavior led back to my fears and once again became a self-fulfilling prophecy – worry led me to reality.
What is the solution? I could easily say, “Don’t worry.” While that is ultimately the answer, the process to do that is what is most helpful. Here is how you start – change your patterns.
The above scenario shared a pattern that I have observed hundreds of people, including myself, going through. By changing your patterns you change the outcome. You may have heard the phrase “turn the other cheek.” That is in reference to taking a slap on the cheek and turning to offer the other. The secret here is not to just “be nice” and take a hit. The secret is that you change the pattern. The natural pattern is to trade a hit for a hit. When you take a hit and don’t hit back, you have just changed the pattern and most likely the fight. The other person feels bad for hitting you and you know that you have controlled your anger.
For help changing your worry patterns, use the following questions to analyze your Worries and create a plan to change your patterns.
Make a list below of all areas of concern for you in work and in your personal world:
Now, rank the above concerns with a C for Concern or W for Worry. Concerns are those things you are a bit nervous about but don’t give much time to. You know you have Worry when you are consumed by the thoughts, morning and evening.
Put your Concerns (C’s) on a To Do list or in your planner and list if they are either a “one-time” or “ongoing” concern. Once you have that completed list, who can help you execute or alleviate these concerns and when.
Once your concerns are listed and planned for you should feel much better about your world. However, Worry usually does not let you. It is time to deal with the nemesis called Worry. Answer the following questions on your Worry.
• How much actual time do you Worry about each one of your worry items?
• When do you worry about each?
• What benefit does it bring you to worry about them?
• What does that worry actually do to you? How does it make you feel?
• What could you be doing with that time that you spent on worry?
• How does your Worry hurt you and those you love?
• What value would it bring you to completely eradicate Worry?
Once you have decided what you worry about the most, when you worry about it and how much iti s hurting you and your relationships, make an action plan to eradicate Worry. Decide how you want to feel. The following will help you on this action plan.
Start your Day Right:
• Change your patterns-memorize something in the shower, sing, think about a new person everyday that you want to encourage .
• Turn off the news and talk radio (they are notorious worry inducers). Turn on music that is positive, or listen to a personal growth audiobook or CD.
• Don’t pick up your phone messages and begin to worry about what is there
During your Day:
• Take a break. It is OK to rest for a minute.
• Don’t forget to eat and hydrate yourself during your day.
On your way home:
• Pick a spot you pass daily during your commute. At that spot completely forget about work and the Worry associated with work at that location. Practice letting Worry go.
• Read positive books with your significant other – it can bring positive communication between two people and creates a focus and discussion on something other than the worries of work and home
• Do not watch the late news before bed
In the end, Worry is worthless. It doesn’t bring what we want. It is a waste of time and a killer of internal emotional health. Erase it everyday.
By Jeremie Kubicek, President and CEO of GiANT Impact