When I left my job in the double-dip recession, I was determined, a bit crazy, but surprisingly, not worried. In my self-exploration, I discovered that by staying calm, not drowning in “What ifs?” then my efforts remained more logical, strategic and energetic. When people flipped out around me, it raised blood pressures and drained everyone.
I get it – people worry because they care for others and to prevent failure. Might I suggest a few tips that I’ve compiled for more productive worrying and less panic:
1) Breathe before responding. Whether you’re stressed or someone just plopped something in your lap – just breathe! Be proactive, not reactive.
2) Do they need help or simply to vent? When someone shares a quandary, don’t immediately try to fix it. Listen carefully and if they don’t specifically ask “What do you think I should do?” then simply offer support.
3) Identify how best to help them, not you. Scale back your automatic grand scheme “problem-solving” skills. Consider that this person probably already poured over their plan, so respect the plan, and focus on what they need from you.
4) Make sure your comments are helpful. Don’t say “Look for a new car!” Offer to introduce them to your car dealer or buy an Auto Trader.
5) No matter how amazing your advice, people may ignore it. If someone doesn’t heed your advice, it doesn’t mean that they don’t respect, value or like you. Everyone travels down distinct paths and what worked for you may not work for them. Trust that they know what works best for them.
6) If you disagree, stand back and let them try! Nobody learns as much getting their dreams grounded as when they try. You can’t control outcomes to guarantee success but at least they’ll own the confidence of having tried.
We regularly strive to use these tactics at home but feel free to take them or leave them.
Briefly I’ll share that on most days I worry that my kids eat breakfast (my larger nighttime worries are another story). I finally found a new favorite recipe: Pineapple Banana Bread! Makes great comfort food Treat yourself to a loaf! – if you want to!