Reduce Fear & Worry Like This

They are going to lay me off.  I don’t have enough money to get through tough financial times.  My relationship is in trouble.  I am worried about my children.  I want more from life.  I have no confidence.  I am afraid to do the things I used to do easily.  I fear I have a brain tumor (or some other ailment).   I’m so young and able and can’t find a job.  I’m old but at my best and can’t find a job.  I’m scared of everything these days.  I’m being bullied and can’t stop it.  I spend too much time on my phone but I don’t want to stop even knowing it’s not good for me.

You can add your personal fears to this list because there is no shortage of them.

Life is tougher today because we live in a fast, super-connected world.

Let’s put a stop to these fears and worries:

  • Make a vow to worry about only one thing at a time – you choose it.  More than one worry is overwhelming and leads to a bad outcome.  Tackle the biggest worry first.
  • Choose a time each day to “obsess” about this worry.  If you’re like me you don’t have an hour to devote to this so, make it 20 minutes or so then pick a time and have at it.
  • The rest of the day be cognizant that 99% of what we fear never happens.  Say it over and over again because it is true and saying it makes a difference.
  • Drill down and get the facts about what you’re worried about.  More often than not we worry about assumptions that are not reality.  In other words, we worry about something that we assume to be true.
  • Make a conscious attempt to be grateful for everything you have every time you get a negative fear thought.  Balance fear with gratitude.
  • Get busy and help other people.  It has been proven that when we take our minds off of what eats us by trying to help other people, our problems are more bearable.
  • Never waste your time thinking about people you don’t like.
  • People who criticize us are often paying us a compliment – they are jealous.  From this day on, only you get to criticize yourself.  Make it positive and constructive.

When we succumb to fear and worry, we are knowingly hurting ourselves.

“Whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or not.”  — Ana Monnar

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The Upside of Getting Fired

When I was in college I worked overnights on a Philadelphia radio station balancing a full schedule at school with a full-time, six day a week job in radio.

One night – I estimate it to be about 3 in the morning – I feel asleep on the air and let a song end without playing another. To this day I refuse to think about how long there was dead air, which is a no-no in radio.

Unfortunately my boss was awake at 3 am (too much caffeine?) and heard it.  The next day he called me in and handed me my walking papers.

I can’t tell you how devastating that was – first commercial radio job and I literally fell asleep at the switch.

But as painful and embarrassing as that was, it made me more motivated to find my next job which, fortunately for me, was in television at the ABC affiliate there – a job I would not likely had sought if I was still working in the job from which I was fired.

To this day I absolutely adore the man who fired me.  He was right.  He may have taught me a lesson about life as well as introduced me to myself.  No college course could do that.

When we are fired or not appreciated in our jobs, we lose self-esteem.  We are hurt.  We are angry and we are in a negative frame of mind.

This is going to sound awful, but many, many people who are dismissed from the work they do go on to something better.

And all of us can see this in retrospect, after the fact.

Here’s the trick:

The moment it happens, remember that being fired will eventually lead you to something even better.  It always does.

Just knowing this from day one – and remembering it every day — resets your life in a positive direction to bring even more success next.

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The Best Way to Rehearse For Success

My golf instructors Mike and Sandy LaBauve are great believers in practicing only the things that will bring the best outcome.

Golfers especially think that if they can spend more time practicing and more time playing that their game will get better.

Look at Tiger Woods.

If he practices any more he’s going to drop from exhaustion and ruin everything else that isn’t already injured in his body.  Maybe he needs a headshrinker not another golf coach?  Or, maybe he needs to find the one thing that will improve his game – not everything all at once.

For us, we want to be better so we work harder, but do we work on the right things that will ensure the best outcome?

  • Discover one thing that will move you closer to success and put 100% of your effort into doing that one thing.
  • If you’re struggling to discover what that one thing is, ask someone who can objectively take a look and point you in the right direction.
  • Repeat the “one thing” as many times as you can and get better at it.
  • More important than working for success is increasing your confidence for succeeding – everything good that happens starts in our heads.

The only thing better than a great work ethic is a great work ethic applied to something that will make a positive difference.

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When Goals Seem So Hard To Reach

Even when we’re really motivated to accomplish something, we can be equally discouraged when nothing happens.

Focusing on goals doesn’t always work either because goals can be complex things that involve many aspects including the sweat of other people you can’t control.

The system that never disappoints is called PPP – Purposeful Positive Progression.  It allows you to take your goals and advance them in a positive way every day.

Often we spend a lifetime trying to accomplish one goal.  But when we do, the satisfaction is usually short-lived.  It is far better to have a success on as many days as you can on the way to achieving your goal.

Here’s an example:

Say you’re thinking about getting a new job or just want to see what’s out there before you commit to another year in your present job.

Make a list of things you should do (make contacts, network, build your resume, expand your education, be more visible, etc.).  And then every day, move one of those goals in a purposeful, positive progressive way.

Print out your online resume and put it on top of a pile that will command your attention before the day ends.  Or spend a few minutes finding the LinkedIn sites that you are most impressed with.  Or, contact someone and ask them for help.

Every small step is a success.

When you get used to succeeding it is empowering.

The ironic thing is that big goals result from many, many small successes on the way.

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Coping With the Loss of a Loved One

When I am asked to say a few words at a funeral, I think back to a girlfriend I had in college named Marilyn.

She was very close to her aunt so I often rode the subway with her from Temple University to Hahnemann Hospital on Broad Street to visit her aunt who suffered from cancer.

On the night that I was to be inducted into Sigma Delta Chi journalism society, the Italian funeral was to be held. It was a three-day affair as Italian funerals can be with a “viewing” process that was enough to kill the survivors.   I bagged the Sigma Delta Chi banquet and never was inducted and I don’t regret it one bit.

There is really nothing that one can say at some else’s loss except “I’m sorry”.

But at a later date when Marilyn was trying to deal with her grief I said something that seemed to help – where inspiration came from I don’t know.

Keep your departed loved one alive through you by adopting their best as part of you for the rest of your life.

Marilyn picked not complaining because her aunt although she suffered for a very long time never complained about her pain. She always directed her attention to others.

I have subsequently adopted the most admirable qualities of people I love and lost in the same fashion. My mother’s ability to never give up.   My father’s honesty. My best friend’s compassion for others.

What a living tribute for people who have left us but remain an important part of our being.

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