5 Steps to Stop Worrying
Did you know that women are more likely to worry about their career and that it can be seen as career sabotaging if you are a worrier?
In a white paper published by CDR Assessment Group, the majority of senior level women under stress at work tend to be seen as “worriers” where men are most likely to be seen as “Egotists, Rule Breakers, and Upstagers”.
Worrying can be perceived as being weak, indecisive and slowing down progress in the workplace.
Worrying is a form of fear of failure and fear of making a mistake. It’s where you ruminate on a problem and think about all the “what-ifs” and all the things that can go wrong, which can then lead to analysis paralysis.
You become so overloaded by all the scenarios that you don’t where to turn and don’t know what to do next. You then lie awake at night thinking about the situations and descending into a pit of worry where it all becomes too much to handle. This leaves you exhausted in the morning but also doesn’t leave you any clearer on the way forward and how to deal with it when you get into the office.
So, what is the best way to handle this?
1. Write down the situation.
By getting your thoughts down onto paper, it can help you arrange the problems or challenges and take it out of your head, so that you are not constantly mulling it over.
Write down everything that you are worrying about, all the elements, all the little worries. Everything. This will stop you from carrying it in your head but it will also help you to see what are realistic worries and what are not.
Also, you’ll start to see solutions to the problems as you are writing. If this happens, write these down too on the side, but don’t get distracted and go into full problem solving mode just yet.
2. Look at what can be changed and what can’t.
Identify the actual obstacles that you have to work around. These are the things that are outwith your control and you can’t change, but have to deal with. What do you have to do to address these? Is there anything that can be done about them or do you just have to work with them?
Identify what can be changed. Take your list from step 1 and highlight those worries that can be resolved by taking action.
3. Identify what is the worst that can happen
Prioritise your worries. Think about what is the worst that can happen, identify this and then break it down into smaller components. Very often this can be broken down into smaller steps that can then be addressed one by one.
The worst that can happen can seem huge when you are worrying about it at night, but if you write it down and then break it down into small chunks, it will seem much less and much more manageable.
4. Identify your end goal
Write down your end goal. What do you actually want to achieve out of this, and what will be the ideal situation?
5. Make a plan of attack
Make a step by step plan to address all the worries listed in points 1&2. This is where you can go into full problem solving mode.
Take each of your prioritised worries from step 3, and further break them down into manageable steps. What do you need to do to resolve each one? Write these actions down, and start to put them into a sequential order. Does something have to happen before the next step? Use post it notes and a sheet of A4 paper to do this, so that you can move the steps around if you need to.
Keep doing this for each of your worries, until you have a full plan to address each one and a path forward towards your end goal identified in step 4.
For much more detailed advice, read “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie, and take sage advice from the stoic philospher, Epictetus –
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” – Epitectus