Personal Responsibility Is The Prescription For Anxiety

There’s a lot of anxiety out there this summer. I’ve observed a lot of worry among the talented folks I’ve coached, and often they’re frozen by it, unable to contribute the inspirational leadership they’ve always brought to their teams and organizations. In many cases they need to learn (and practice) a truth held dear by generations of great professional salespeople: If worry is the sickness, action is the cure.

Salespeople are sometimes frozen by worry. They worry that they’ll be rejected, that they’ll be left feeling bad. Like most coaches and sales managers, when I’m working with a salesperson in this mode, I always recommend action – bold, positive action, plenty of it, and right away. Make a service call to a happy customer… catch up on some paperwork… follow up with new information for someone who’s still contemplating your offer. Do something, and build some positive momentum. Suddenly the numbers game that is sales work starts to look less intimidating, and it only takes a little success to make you forget all about the worry.

I once worked for a leader who described worry as “negative goal setting.” When you set positive goals, you start by imagining a desirable future state, and then you go about quantifying it and planning your work toward the goal. When you’re frozen by worry, you’ve let yourself imagine a bad future… no wonder you aren’t doing anything! You don’t want to work toward THAT future! When I really got hold of that concept, my sales increased dramatically.

So you aren’t a salesperson? Most of my clients these days haven’t been. But many are still worried, and the anxiety is still holding them back

If you’re worried about your job, start a business on the side. You can do it with a surprisingly low investment of time, energy, focus, and money… especially if you start a home-based internet business. There is money to be made out there in cyberspace, and if you can bring enough energy to learn the business, you can get your share. And soon that extra cash flow will help free you from worry, and you’ll find your “day job” easier to tackle. Meanwhile, you’re doing something… you’re moving… you’re not just sitting around waiting for something bad to happen.

If you’re worried about your health, start today developing some healthy habits. I’ve published many articles that discuss five key daily health practices I like to refer to as The NEWSS: Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sleep, and Supplements. Make a small change on each of these (you can do it today) and you’ll start having the sort of positive mental attitude that will help you banish the worry. You won’t become super-healthy in one day, but again, you’ll start moving toward a positive future. Cut the garbage out of your diet (see if you can eat just fresh, real foods today), go for a walk (better yet, a little jog), drink two liters of water (and cut back on alcohol and caffeine), get a good night’s sleep (at least eight hours) and take a good multi-vitamin (I can recommend a great liquid nutraceutical that you can feel pumping up your energy right away).

If you’re worried about a relationship – any relationship – pick up the phone or jump in the car and spend some time with the person. Think of something YOU have done that has possibly damaged the relationship, and sincerely apologize for it. Make sure you are brutally honest with yourself! If you are, either you can think of something legitimate, or you can’t… in the first case, your action is clear (say you’re sorry!); in the second, maybe the relationship needs a break, or maybe it even needs to end (in the case of a romantic relationship). Either way, make a conscious decision, and go with it. If you can’t apologize, resolve to let things lie still with that person for a certain amount of time, and then plan to call them after that. Don’t just wait to hear from them, or for them to hurt you. Take personal responsibility, and stop worrying about it.

If you’re worried about your government, or the economy, or other big things that don’t seem accessible to action from little-old-you, rethink that. What action can you take today? Two months from today, those of us who worry greatly about the direction our American government is taking our country can take the important action of throwing the bums out at the ballot box… and in the meantime, we can keep ourselves informed, work to inform others, and maybe even volunteer for a campaign. If your side doesn’t prevail in this election, heave a deep sigh and start taking daily action to work toward the next one! But don’t just sit around and worry, or worse, gripe and complain. It doesn’t do any good.