Among the many attributes associated with entrepreneurs, the tendency to worry is high on the list. Worriers, like entrepreneurs tend to be conscientious, ambitious, competitive, and always on the lookout for opportunity. These positive traits may also associated with problematic characteristics that can endanger one’s ability to lead effectively: hyper-controlling, trouble relaxing and having fun, easily bored, obsessive and, in some cases, paranoid. Furthermore, my clients who endorse chronic worry often have trouble sleeping. In an earlier blog, I mentioned how one’s executive functioning (the ability to get work done, done well and on time) can be compromised without consistent, good quality sleep. A person with a strong cognitive core has constructive ways to manage worry. Here are some ways my clients have found most successful:
1) Choose a time of day (not when you get into bed!) to make a plan(s) for solving the problem(s). Put your plan in writing. Review it when worry creeps in. Worry cowers in the face of a plan.
2) In a non-worry state, create a drop down menu in your mind of other thoughts to shift to when worry sets in. It’s too late to compose this menu in the midst of worry. Your menu can include: a great vacation you had, an inspirational article or a lecture, a favorite song you can replay in your mind, the many things you have to be grateful for, etc. Just about anything that is unrelated to your worry should be on the list. It’s important to be able to shift to other thoughts and maintain perspective.
3) Think about how little worry has paid off in the past. How many hours, dollars and days could have been put to better use if you had managed your worry?
4) Share your worries with others. Speaking aloud to a mindful listener helps you separate facts from fiction, be creative, share solutions and derive a plan.
5) Finally, meditate on a quote by Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65) a Roman Stoic philosopher, “There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”
What solutions to worry have you? I’d love to hear them! Share your ideas with me at [email protected]