There are three parts to worrying, pre-worry, parallel-worry, and post-worry which will feature in the next three posts. Here’s part one:
How do you spend your energy before an important upcoming event? Whether it is a meeting with your board, a crucial presentation to your executive team, or speaking at a conference, thoughtfully ruthless leaders know how to manage pre-worry that can accompany the preparation for an event.
One of the clients who I mentor has a very successful consulting practice, and she was asking my advice about a potential client. She was worried about the legal documents that the potential client might want her to sign. She asked my advice on how to negotiate elements of the contract that included payment terms, nondisclosure agreements, and working arrangements. She worried a lot about how she would request changes and how she would manage their reactions, and she wanted to talk about it. It was not even settled that her potential client was going to actually become a client, but my mentee wanted to be prepared.
This paranoid preparedness is excessive, and I refused to offer advice until she had an agreement with her client, but still she worried, despite my telling her to “just stop it!” Even the procurement team got involved with wanting to talk about the detailed requirements of the contract that had not yet been agreed to. Much to her disappointment, she never did reach agreement with her potential new client, so all of that worry, conversation, and mental energy was completely futile, but it could have taken up even more energy and time. The one lesson she did learn and is acting on is not to expend energy on items until the appropriate time.
Preparation is always wise, but a complete virtual run-through of a conversation or important meeting is expending unnecessary energy. It is helpful to consider the possible outcomes and visualize questions and obstacles and how you may improve your probability of success, but excessive pre-worry wastes your time and energy.
What important event do you have coming up on your calendar? What imaginary conversations and scenarios are you entertaining in your head? Notice what’s going on and use that energy to turn your pre-worry into appropriate, purposeful planning. And then let go until your event arrives. Focus on the present and don’t waste your energy with obsessive thinking about what may never even happen.
Parallel-worry and post-worry will be the features of the next two blog posts.
Dedicated to growing your business,