We've all been there, things are moving along just fine and then, bam, an unexpected turn of events threatens to change something that we don't want to be changed. Wouldn't it be nice to minimize the impact of the inevitable moments that carry unwelcome news into our world? Life is so much easier when we don't lose precious time and energy by stressing out over things we have little to no control over. I believe we all hold that power. And it begins with a few simple shifts in the way you think.
1. Gather all of the facts.
How often have you felt down or panicked about something that didn't end up as bad as you thought it would be? Sometimes we react before knowing all of the facts. It's not always easy to ask questions and dig into the problem, because we're not ready to face the whole picture. Remember, the worry is usually based on a fear of the unknown. Once you have the facts you can begin to respond, rather than react, even when the situation seems dire.
Go ahead, give yourself some time to freak out, but put a deadline on it. Don't wallow in the fear, instead gather all of the information you can and deal with the ordeal based on the realities.
2. Avoid catastrophic thinking.
Oh, how quickly the mind travels down the path of destruction! It's easy to blow things out of proportion and to blame others for your misfortune. Try not to paint a picture that makes the situation worse than it is. Most of the time, the potential outcome isn't nearly as bad as our fear-based fantasies lead us to believe. When your thoughts get out of control--imaging disaster over a positive outcome--ask yourself if these imaginary events are really true. The answer is usually no.
Don't get ahead of yourself. Do your best to avoid jumping to conclusions or assuming the worse.
3. Know that you are safe.
Fear is also based on feeling the loss of safety and security. Consistently remind yourself that, at this very moment, you are safe. It may feel like the floor is falling out from under you when you receive upsetting news, but it's not. Sure, things may be about to change to some degree, but if you let life loom out of control in this very moment you won't have what it takes to manage the next moments. You are safe.
4. Acknowledge your emotions.
There is a distance gap between panic and avoidance and somewhere in between is the sweet spot. Pretending not to have any emotions related to what's going on may feel like an effective stopgap measure but in reality, it only postpones a flood of emotions later. Meanwhile, as you stuff and avoid your emotions you'll be edgy and unfocused, often making the problem bigger than it has to be.
You have every right to your emotions. Be kind to yourself and engage in an activity that soothes your mind. Get in some good workouts. The relief you feel will allow you to advance your problem-solving abilities.
5. Accept what you cannot control.
It's a natural tendency to want to control every situation, especially for entrepreneurs. Acts of desperation lead to regret. Remember, it's not giving up when you acknowledge that there is nothing more you can do in the physical sense. Instead, it allows you to focus on other opportunities and to take care of yourself because self-care has never been more important.
6. Find the good in the bad.
While it's unhealthy to let your imagination run amok at these times, the opposite is true when you calmly assess the situation from beginning to any number of possible endings. Set your fears aside and strategically explore what you view as the worst-case scenario. I've been forced to use this strategy many times in life, as I'm sure many of us have. Typically, even an outcome we dread isn't as bad in real life as it is in our fantasy world. Finding the good in the bad is like a magic cure for your fear.
It takes courage to face an unwanted outcome; you may have to work up to it. Write about it, make lists of action-steps and facts, talk to friends, a therapist, or your coach. These may seem like simple steps, but by expanding your mind in this way there's nothing you can't deal with in life. When your fear is bigger than you are it makes all things impossible. Face your fears, deal in facts, ask for help, and take action. Your world will be a much better place.