This week I received an unusually high number of calls from clients who, for the lack of a better word, are worried. They are worried about the market. They are worried about the economy. They are worried about their budgets. They are worried about the companies they are working for. They are worried about their own jobs within the companies they are working for, and the list goes on and on. Ask me if I’m worried… after all, I’m an entrepreneur whose livelihood is tied to all of these factors. The answer is a resounding, “No!” It wouldn’t be a BlArticle™ if I didn’t tell you why, so let’s go a bit further with this.
To begin with, I’ve never been a fan of the word “worry.” It’s not that I haven’t been apprehensive from time to time, but I just don’t like the word. I hear the word “worried”, and I think of someone sitting in a corner chewing their nails, hoping for a solution they seem to have no control over. As an athlete, I never wanted to play a game when I was in a worried state of mind. As a coach, I never wanted to coach a team that was worried. As a salesman, I never wanted to meet with a client while I was feeling worried. As a speaker, I never want to take the stage worried. Even Webster’s Dictionary doesn’t seem fond of the word, defining it as: “To torment with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.” How in the world can worry really contribute to your success?
Years ago, I decided to get rid of the word. I removed it from my vocabulary, and if there were a way to create a junk word list in my Microsoft Word program, that word would be the first in it. Anyone who knows me will tell you that they just don’t hear that word come out of my mouth. I replaced it with the word, “anxious.” Webster’s seems much more comfortable with this word; “Earnestly desirous; eager.”
That may sound like semantics to you, but to me, it goes deeper than that. I’ve never known anyone who performs better when they are worried. When my kids used to tell me they were worried about a particular situation, I used to tell them: “If I thought worrying about it would improve my chances of success, by even 1%, I would be one of the most spectacular, competitive worriers you ever saw!”
Now as for being anxious, that I can relate to. You can channel that anxiousness to energy, focus, and truly believe it can contribute to your success. It’s amazing sometimes what a simple word change can do. Rather than push the thought of worry away, you can embrace the idea of being focused.
One of my favorite quotes, and one that happens to be sitting by my coffee maker so I can see it when I grab a cup to start my day, says it the best:
“Worry is the misuse of your imagination.”
Are you guilty of misusing your imagination from time to time?