Do Leaders Worry?

Worry.  It robs us of our time, it distracts, keeps us from living and holds us back.  Worry is a cancer of the emotions and is not useful.  It's compulsive and obsessive.  It wants all of your attention.

Worry in all its forms can lead to anxiety, frustration and feeling overwhelmed.  I've worked with CEOs and executives who expressed to me their feeling of being overwhelmed.  By their own admission, they are worriers.  Particularly, with a growing company and many more people counting on you as their leader, worry can build to the point of being too much.

What should you do?  Some of the best ways to handle worry are to (1) have compassion for yourself and others and (2) take action.  

Compassion + Leadership + Really?

I believe that a part of good - no, check that - Great Leadership is being compassionate.  At some level, if you do not care about the people with whom you are responsible for leading, then I recommend you find another position or vocation.  

Selfish or Selfless

Taking care of yourself is poorly understood in our society these days.  I've had clients tell me that to focus on themselves is selfish, even egotistical.  If you're not feeling well, not healthy, it's difficult to have compassion for others and it's difficult to lead.  By taking care of yourself, you are better able to lead selflessly.

Action and The Present

When worried, we are usually focused on the future and on some thing or things that may (or may not) happen that we perceive as bad.   The “bad” we perceive is born of past experience usually, and comes from fear.  Focused on the future?  Then you are not living in the present moment.  

Taking action requires that you focus on the now, here, real-time.  It's like driving your car.  If you're not focused you'll end up in a wreck.  That's what too much worry does to you.  It wrecks you.  

Practice 5 Things.

Each day or even better, the evening before, list the five most important actions you can do to move you forward.  It's hard at first to narrow the list down to just five.  The effort is worth it.  I usually include in my 5 Things time for reflection and centering my mind and body.

Do your best to complete the 5 Things.  If you don't complete them, reflect on why you didn't.  Were they really not that important or were you avoiding them?  

Then prepare yourself for the next day and list your five new actions.  Repeat the process.  And take 15 minutes a day to clear your mind, focus on your breath and center yourself for the best day ever.

Who Knows.

Taking care of yourself, leading well and doing something good for others can be enough.  It brings you back to the present.  Centering yourself will enhance your focus in the present.

It's the place where you create what's next, whether it's a deeper more meaningful relationship, or the next big thing in your work, or the answer the world has been waiting for.  Who knows what you will create.

Let me know what you think.  Share your comments.  I'd love to hear from you.

John J FentonComment