Friday, April 27, 2012

How to Eliminate Worry Part 1

Entrepreneurs come across like vessels of confidence without a worry in the world, always sure that a breakthrough is just around the corner. At least this is the mask we put on before leaving our homes in the morning. This is not to say entrepreneurs are faking confidence. To the contrary, the confidence is real. What we are really good at is hiding our worry. Entrepreneurs worry...a lot. And there is much to worry about! Our imaginations, which aid us so well when in search of breakthroughs, have an ominous flip side. That same imagination can paralyze us with worry if we allow our minds to run amok with scenarios of impending doom. This is true for all people, not just entrepreneurs. Before long we find ourselves staring up at our bedroom ceiling in anticipation of the falling sky. Well, I'm here to tell you that you can reduce and even eliminate worry altogether. The simple steps in this post will teach you how to "GAG" the problem away.

GAG is an acronym that stands for:

G-ather the facts
A-ccept the worst
G-o to work

1. Gather the Facts

This is the most important step. Write down all of the facts related to the problem. The exercise of writing down the facts is a must because you have to get this information out of your head and in front of you where it can be analyzed. This quiets the "noise" of the mind and separates out the real facts from the fiction brought on by your imagination. You may even discover the situation is not quite as bad as you thought. Otherwise, the exercise is pointless.

2. Accept the Worst Case

Think back to all of the difficulties of your life and the eventual outcomes. How many of them ended with your worst case scenario coming true? Usually our greatest fears do not come to pass. This is why identifying the worst case scenario is so important. You may very well realize that the likelihood of it happening is too slim to give it any real consideration.

On the other hand, if it is a real possibility, then start by accepting it. In other words, ask yourself, What if it does happen. How do I address it? Not until you accept the possibility, can you move on to the next important step. Otherwise, worry and fear will consume your thoughts, preventing you from thinking about anything else, including a solution.  Once you accept the worst, you feel you no longer have anything to lose. This process of "letting go" relaxes you, allowing you to focus on possible solutions. Even if losing your business is a real possibility, accept it. You can always start another business. You can get a job if you have to. No one is going to put you in jail or put you to death.

3. Got to Work on Improving the Worst Case

Now that you have accepted the worst case, what steps can you take to minimize the damage or remove the possibility? Write them down. Are you in fear of losing an important customer? Is your big project going south? Whatever the worst case, write out practical steps for preventing it from happening or minimizing the damage. Again, the writing is the most important part.

A Real Life Example

Check out part 2 of this post to see how I applied the above steps several years ago to avert a disaster in my business. It is a rather lengthy narrative, which is why I decided to make it a separate post. Reliving the story made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. You will see why.

Start applying the GAG rule to your own situations. You will come away with a much clearer head and feeling a lot better.

Godspeed and I look forward to seeing you in The Players Lounge.

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