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How to Eliminate Worry

Copyright 2001 by Tom Pryor

The Staff of IMCS, Inc. has joined with you and millions of other people around the world to offer our prayers and contributions to the victims, family members, emergency workers and businesses impacted by the sickening events of September 11th. We also pray daily for safety, wisdom and discernment for our President, our leaders and out military.

Because of September 11th, the following article was the most difficult I've ever had to write. Last week's tragedy initially prompted me to consider curtailing writing for a while. But halting my research and writing would be succumbing to the will of the terrorists. Therefore, the topic to which I was drawn is something relevant for these.

Webster's Dictionary defines worry as "to feel uneasy or troubled". Worry is a non-value added activity. Dorothy Galyean says, "Worry is like a rocking chair... it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere." The Bible says worry is a sin (Matthew 6:25). Worrying demonstrates lack of faith. And in his book titled "Worry", Dr. Edward Hallowell M.D. states, "One of the original meanings of the word worry is 'to gnaw.' Used this way, the word describes what a dog does to a bone: he worries it, chewing on it all day long."

Worry, therefore, is something we wish to avoid. How can we eliminate worry? And more importantly, how do we prevent it? Here are ten ways to eliminate and prevent worry in our personal and professional lives:

    10. Add structure... Disorganization is the source of many worries, e.g. "I can't find it", "I'm confused", or "I'm lost". Structure provides security and enhances self-confidence. Personally, that may mean something as simple as using a daily To-Do List. In your business, it can be process mapping to provide visible structure and useful information to everyone in the organization.

    9. Get the facts... Confusion is a root cause of worry. According to Herbert Hawkes, former dean of Columbia University, "Half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision." If I'm ever told, "Tom, you have ten days to live", I'm going to get a second opinion! Replace time that would have been spent on worry with a search for wisdom.

    8. Seek simplicity... Simplicity means single-ness of purpose. Simplicity means trust. Simplicity means modesty. Simplicity means using money without abusing money. My friend Rehn Nelson recently helped a Justice of the Peace Court simplify the citations payment process from 54 to 19 steps. Two good books on "Simplicity... the new competitive advantage" by Bill Jensen and "The Power of Simplicity" by Jack Trout. Simple people and simple companies don't worry.

    7. Complain more... Complaining is a better activity than worrying. If you become upset about an issue, speak out. My 81-year old Mom was admitted to a local hospital at 5:45am for a scheduled 7:15am procedure. Without excuse or apology, the doctor showed up 90-minutes late. And after reviewing her chart, he cancelled the procedure altogether. The following day I wrote a letter of complaint regarding the person (doctor) and the process (hospital procedures). More than a week has passed with no response from either.

    6. Think, talk and act cheerfully... Author John Maxwell says, "Your attitude determines your altitude." It is very difficult to worry if you are thinking happy thoughts, saying positive words and helping others. If you call ICMS (817-483-6511), you'll hear us answer with "Good morning. It's a great day at ICMS! How can I help you?" It helps us stay positive and hopefully provides you with a worry-free moment.

    5. Focus on purpose, not position... Temptation number one in Patrick Lencioni's book "The Five Temptations of a CEO" is being"more interested in protecting your career status than you are in making sure your company achieves results." Don't worry about your title. Focus on your activities and your life's purpose. Achieving meaningful results in every aspect of your life reduces worry. An inspiring, meaningful purpose helps us focus on work, not worry.

    4. Exercise... Crowd worry out of your mind by keeping busy. Read a good book. Work out at the gym. Take a walk. Start a new project. When someone asked Winston Churchill if he was worried about his tremendous responsibilities during WWII, he replied, "I'm too busy. I have no time to worry."

    3. View crisis as an opening door... When Jan Timmer took over the reins of a struggling Philips Electronics in the early 1990's, the first thing he did was officially label the situation as a crisis. He gave managers two options: join him in his mission to reshape the company or go elsewhere. Instead of worrying or denying the crisis, Timmer used it. Serious crises visit organizations only rarely, but when they do, we should take advantage of the doors crises can open.

    2. Be a person of integrity... If you are living a life of integrity, you eliminate a source of worry. People worry about getting caught doing something bad. They don't mind being caught doing good. Kirbyjon Caldwell is President George W. Bush's personal pastor. In his book "The Gospel of Good Success", Caldwell says, "Make a list of the demons that you feel have some control over your life. Post the list in a place that you can see daily. Evil loves darkness." Make your personal and professional walk every day one of integrity, open for accountability

    1. Pray... Prayer is the number one eliminator of worry. You may be great at multi-tasking, but you'll find it impossible to pray and worry at the same time. Prayer transfers your personal and professional burdens to God. He can handle it a whole lot better than we can. I've noticed that most people resort to prayer only after everything else has failed. But prayer works best when employed before a need exists.

Dale Carnegie interviewed Henry Ford a few years prior to his death in 1947. Carnegie expected Ford to show the strains of long years spent in building and managing one of the world's greatest businesses. Instead, he found Ford healthy and peaceful at age 78. When asked if he ever worried, Henry Ford replied, "No. I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn't need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe that everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?" Take control of your worries. It is a life skill that will positively impact every aspect of your life and those around you.

Send your comments on this article to Tom Pryor via e-mail to tompryor@icms.net, or call IMCS at 817-483-6511 if you would like to talk to an ABM expert about your business needs.

Visit www.imcs.net to learn more about Activity Based Management and to read more articles by Tom Pryor.

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