Are you Worried?

Are you worried? You’re not alone. People worry about all sorts of things. But if you are going to worry, let’s worry about the right stuff in the right way.

When I was a child, I was scared of the dark. I would watch the Hulk on TV, but then I was terrified to walk through our dark house to get to my bedroom. Eventually, the need to go to bed outweighed my fear, and I would rush through the dim dining room, up the dark hall, all the while reaching my hand out ready to flick the switch of my bedroom light as soon as I felt it.

Logic told me that I was being silly, but my mind was concentrating on my fear. Only once it became urgent did my mind starts focusing on the real problem and the solution.

I’m no psychologist, so please note I am not suggesting a cure for anxiety, but I want to point out that all the business leaders I work with are worried about something. The difference between futile worry and constructive worry is that the latter is all about identifying and addressing issues that might stand in the way of a desired future outcome.

We can do this on a micro or macro scale, at a personal or organisational level. Either way, we need to understand what could prevent our success, and that starts with an understanding of what success looks like.

When I work with business leaders, I take them through an exercise to imagine their organisation and their life in 10 years’ time. We then step that back to shorter timeframes, but unless they have that vision, they can’t take the next step of understanding what they need to achieve it, and what could stand in their way. This is often done in the form of a risk workshop.

One showstopper that is rarely talked about is fear. Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of trusting others, fear of letting go. If your worry is creating paralysis, then you will be caught in a never-ending cycle which is futile. Worry that is constructive produces action and positive change to construct the future you want.

It’s a new financial year, and that can be a great time to think about the next 12-month period. Rather than just worry, think about what you need and what can you do about it.