Do You Routinely Worry at Work?
Are you the sort of person to worry at work, not just for some reasons, but for any reason? Are you constantly waiting for your manager to ‘catch you out’ that you are irredeemably terrible at your work? Or do you quake that when someone else makes a mistake, thinking somehow, it is going to bounce back on you? This is when any legitimate concerns you have about your standing at work has crossed the line into a sort of paranoia, but for many, it is hard to shake.
We have all been there – Your boss requests a one-on-one meeting—completely out of the blue and with no other purpose than “We need to talk.” Immediately, your mind jumps to the worst-case scenario: “I’m obviously getting fired.” It is easy to assume the worst. But it is also very unlikely that with absolutely no prompting or prior warning, that your boss is going to pull you into his or her office and tell you to pack your things and go. Is it possible? Absolutely. But in all reality, your excessive worrying is more than likely disproportionate to the situation.
Take Back Control of Your Fears
When anxiety rises in your body, pay attention to it. The best way to dissolve fear is through awareness. Face it head-on. It is OK if you feel worried. Notice it; accept it. But do know, in our biological development, we are wired for negativity. Our brains are equipped with a survival mechanism that alerts to all perceived threats so we can react.
The problem is that our fears — which are invariably of our own making — can seem overwhelming to us and stimulate an unwarranted ‘fight-or-flight’ stress response. By bringing more self-awareness to your fear, you open the door to dismantling its hold on you. You have to practice doing this. Someone just telling you to stop worrying will not cut it. There is a highly compulsive and robust psychological mechanism that tears us away from the present moment and puts our minds into a particular setting that can quickly spiral beyond all logic. As Mark Twain pointed out, many of the troubles that worry us do not actually end up happening, but in the moment, worries seem valid, urgent and insurmountable.
Firstly, begin to build your sense of job security by asking yourself whether you are truly delivering what your company hired you to do. Remember why they hired you, what their needs are, and whether or not you are using your skills to achieve that for them. If you feel you could do a better job, write down one thing you can immediately improve and do it within the week. Perhaps it is asking a colleague for a tip on performing a specific task better, or maybe it is registering ongoing professional development.
When you have done the mental checks and balances, and you are genuinely satisfied with your work performance, and your boss keeps giving you good reviews, then take some chill time away from work to get your emotions in check. You may have nothing to feel insecure about.
Still Some Nagging Doubts?
If you are sure the problem is non-existent, yet you still worry at work, then you have to re-frame your thought process completely. Turn it on its head. Who would you be without that worry, anger, stress and self-pity? Who would you be without this nagging negative thought hanging around your mind all day and depleting your energy? Who would you be without this thing that you worry about before you go to sleep and that is keeping you from sleeping? Would your family and friends appreciate a more engaged and present you? Just who would you be without these thoughts? The answers are clear; you would feel lighter and freer, you would have more peace in your life, more strength, more calmness. Your relationships would improve, you could live more in the moment, and most importantly for your career, you could be more present at work and actually do a better job.
When you go through this exercise, you can truly look at the issues that are bothering you and realise that not only are they not doing you any good, but they are actually hurting you. Once you get to that point, you can look at where you can take action and where you just need to let go…
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