Snap Out Of It! How to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Chaos

From “dumb little man” (one of the finest blog titles anywhere, ever) comes this post about worrying – how to stop it, why it’s bad for business.

I am the Queen of All Worriers. I mean, I excel at it. I have it down to an art form. I can whip through the “worst scenarios possible” list in 10 minutes, flat, complete with full-sensory visualization of the fallout therefrom. Give me another five minutes and I can tell you exactly what the odds are that a particular scenario will happen, and why, logically, it will happen to me.

But here’s the rub: I’m also really good at knocking it off. I wasn’t always, mind you. Once upon a time, I was the quintessential worrywart, who could recognize herself sliding down the slipper slope that never ends, but I was powerless (or so I thought) to stop the slide. The catch, of course, is that I wasn’t really powerless – never was. Once I realized that there were alternatives, and they were open to me, I was free to pick one.

What I came up with was a solution that works for quite a few folks, apparently: the timed worry. I give myself a set amount of time to worry about a particular subject. I schedule it – actually write it down in the calendar. And nothing is allowed to interfere with worry time – not clients, phone calls from judges – OK, phone calls from judges are allowed, come to think of it, but then they always are, so …

But the catch is this: once worry time is over, that’s it. No second bite at the apple. Doesn’t matter if I think of just one more awful scenario that’s even more likely to happen to me if I do this rash, bold thing (like, say, hang out my shingle?). Too late. Worry time’s over.

The second catch is this: I use it proactively. The “worst cases” become contingency plans. If this happens, then I will ___________________ (fill in the blank).

This way, worry becomes productive, and isn’t allowed to stop me from doing something. It’s given a voice (so it doesn’t start pestering me all the time), but it’s restricted to a particular purpose (so it doesn’t take over my life).

What methods for coping with worry work for you? Tell us in the comments!

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