How To Use Anxiety As A Decision Making Tool

Oct 10, 2018 3 Min Read
Decisions
Anxiety as a Decision Making Tool

Competence earns new opportunities. New opportunities ignite anxiety.

 
A little anxiety keeps you on your toes. Unease makes you alert and helps you bring your best to challenges and opportunities. But unanswered anxiety spirals out of control. One fear cascades into another. The list keeps growing until paralysis sets in.

Read More: How Mindfulness Can Overcome Anxiety

I recently spoke to a newly promoted plant manager. He earned his promotion because he’s competent. But he’s also filled with anxiety about his new challenge. Anxiety asks, “What if you aren’t enough?” Frankly, if you don’t feel at least a bit anxious when your world shifts, you need a wake-up call. I still don’t sleep well before giving presentations. It’s been years, and sometimes my stomach hurts before I walk on stage. Maybe you have the gift of anxiety. You think of everything that will go wrong, worry about surprises, and struggle to prepare for an unpredictable future. 

Anxiety whispers, “This really matters,” and searches for clarity and certainty, but in an unpredictable world, you feel like the lights are out. Anxiety can be a decision-making tool!

How to use the fear of regret 

Recently, I spoke to a woman who has a choice between keeping her current job or taking one that might present better opportunities. She knows there are no guarantees. Anxiety thrives when the future is unpredictable. I asked her to imagine that both options will go badly. Whatever choice she makes, it won’t work as expected. Anxiety loves this way of thinking. 

I said, “Assuming both options go badly, which one will you regret not taking?” This question helps people tap into their deeper fear. Without hesitation she named one of the options. “I’ll most regret not taking the new opportunity.” The fear of regret helps you find clarity.

Read Also: Here’s Why Confidence Matters More Than Competence


Create an anxiety list to clarify decisions and plan. 

Don’t fight anxiety 
Invite it for coffee. Dig deep. What are your concerns? Write them down. 
Keep writing until you can’t think of anything else that could go wrong.

Look at your list and ask, “What do I really want?” 
Write down the things you really want beside each item on your anxiety list. 
The question, “What do I really want?” helps you shift from fear to values.

Finally ask, “What do I need to do to get what I really want?” 
Limit yourself to things you can easily accomplish. 
Choose behaviours that match your strengths.

Reposted with permission
This article is also available in Chinese.

Check out the video to learn about being happy, staying motivated and engaged at work!

 

Happily (or Budaya for those from Indonesia) is an amazing engagement app built for organisation to drive engagement amongst employees. It has amazing analytics and also provides activities for employees to be fully immersed in the organisation's culture and values. To find out more, click here or email info@leaderonomics.com.

Share This

Leadership

Tags: Be A Leader

Alt
Dan Rockwell is a coach and speaker and is freakishly interested in leadership. He is an author of a world-renowned leadership blog, Leadership Freak.
Alt

You May Also Like

still life roles with various pawns akin to leaders with team members

Why ‘One Size Fits All’ Management Is A Thing Of The Past

By Rebecca Houghton. Learn how to balance authenticity and adaptability in your leadership style to succeed in today's workplace. Leaders with great judgment understand their values and boundaries, and choose the most compelling leadership style for each situation. But what must you do before adapting your style?

Mar 22, 2023 5 Min Read

Lady smiling

Parents, Separate Tech Time and Screen Time

Randi Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Zuckerberg Media and a former Facebook leader in the early years of digital marketing

May 25, 2017 25 Min Video

Be a Leader's Digest Reader