The things we worry about

One of my favourite statements I’ve heard this year is;

“Worrying is praying for an outcome we do not want.”

Many of the greatest worry worts will tell you they are being realistic, but in who’s universe? They cite a whole load of examples of when they have worried and been proven right as proof that worrying is a valid approach to life. However, they fail to acknowledge the times when they have worried and their concerns did not materialise. As the diagram indicates, very little of what we worry about actually happens.

One fact we can acknowledge is that worrying does impact what we are doing right now! We are spending our time absorbed in thoughts that we fear will happen, at a time when we can do little or nothing to prevent / avoid / encourage / influence or determine the outcome.

This phenomenon rears it’s ugly head a lot when I am first discussing the career options ahead of my clients. They express a desire to do something exciting like change direction or transform their professional profile and then instantly dismiss their thoughts as “fantasy” when their worries kick-in. Upon further analysis though, we find the worries are without foundation. Very rarely have then taken any action to test if their worrying thoughts are valid. More typically, their worries have riveted them to the spot, stuck like a rabbit in the headlights, unable to move in any direction.

How about a gentle reframe?

When you are next faced with an opportunity, instead of accepting your immediate worrying thoughts as fact, how about viewing them as one possible outcome and spend some time thinking about some positive possible outcomes to balance things up? No-one would expect their image of the future to work out precisely as there are too many variables in play; so it is reasonable to believe the same variables could deliver a good outcome.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

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