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Tag Archives: Margaret Smith life coach

Are you a worrier? Do you tend to dwell on something and envision the worst possible outcomes? There is something to be said for preparing for the worst; however, constant worrying and catastrophizing can also lead to anxiousness, constant fear, and difficulty finding enjoyment or joy.

How can you combat your worrywart tendencies?

Psychiatrist Katherine Pannel recommends a thought exercise. If you’re faced with an uncertain situation, picture the very worst outcome, then shift your thinking and imagine the very best outcome. After that, consider the most likely outcome, which will probably land somewhere in the middle of the two scenarios. This exercise helps you to refocus and “redirect your thoughts to a more realistic, comfortable place.”

Another way to stop worrying so much is to focus on preparations.

When you know you’ve put in the leg work and are thoroughly prepared, there’s less cause for worry. Tell yourself that you’ve done everything you can, and the outcome will be what it will be.

When I’m preparing for a presentation or an important meeting, I try to allow myself time to A) prepare the material B) practice and C) anticipate possible questions. Ideally, when you practice it should be out loud, in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member. When you’re anticipating possible questions, think about the things people are likely to ask AND anticipate any follow-up questions to those initial questions. When you’re prepared, you tend to feel more confident and less worried. You’ve done what you can, and the rest is out of your hands.

Lastly, if you’d like to stop worrying so much it’s important to accept your imperfections.

Recognize that you are not perfect, and you don’t have to be. Nobody is! If you make a mistake, it’s okay (truly). Pick yourself, attend to any necessary damage control, and try again. Many of us have unrealistic expectations for ourselves (we would probably never treat others the way we sometimes treat ourselves!), and that isn’t healthy. Instead, be kind to yourself, recognize you’re an imperfect human being, and simply try your best.

Let’s combat worrywart tendencies once and for all! Most of the time, things are not as bad as you fear them to be.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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Graphic of person in the middle of four yellow arrows pointing outward

It is said that nothing is certain in life besides death and taxes. Let’s add one more item to the list, shall we? Uncertainty. While this addition might seem obvious, it’s important to acknowledge the uncertainty of life. When things are uncertain in terms of finances, health, relationships, or anything really, we can become anxious, withdrawn, and our health can even suffer.

Lately, life seems more uncertain than ever. Many people are out of work or still working from home; people are feeling isolated from friends and family members due to caution about COVID, or because of differences in philosophies or political beliefs. With so many changes and uncertainty, it’s difficult to know where tomorrow will lead (let alone next year!).

How can we confront the uncertainty of life? I recommend starting with the following four approaches, and going from there.*

*“Going from there” might mean seeking support from a qualified therapist or counselor. Do not hesitate to reach out for help if you need it!

1. Be Kind to Yourself

When you’re attempting to deal with feelings of uncertainty, it’s important to be gentle with yourself and take your time. It doesn’t pay to ignore your feelings or push through when you truly need to pause, take a meaningful break, and/or recenter yourself. Acknowledge that uncertainty is inevitable, and it has always been part of your life in one way or another. When you were a child, you often had to release control while adults made decisions. In your adult life, you’ve never been able to control things such as the weather, the influences of your genetics, or other people’s feelings/reactions toward you. Remind yourself that you are strong, you have overcome past uncertainties, and you will continue to overcome uncertainties.

2. Redirect Your Energy

It is completely fine to enjoy a healthy distraction from your present woes. Sometimes it’s helpful to occupy your body and/or mind by regularly engaging in meaningful activities. Try learning a new language, baking, painting, or simply catch up on your reading list. Exercise is also a great way to distract yourself from current troubles and gain some positive endorphins and muscle while you’re at it! I believe there is a form of exercise for everyone, whether walking, swimming, weight lifting, yoga, or cycling.

3. Connect with Others

You are not alone, and you are not the only one who has struggled lately. Even though the feelings associated with uncertainty—anxiety, sadness, fear, anger, etc.—can seem very private, it’s not healthy to let those feelings take control and lead you to become isolated or withdrawn. Before you reach this point, reach out! Connect with friends or family members. Seek the camaraderie of a club, volunteer organization, or church group. Just being around people you enjoy can have a positive effect.

4. Take Meaningful Breaks

Taking a break is not a sign of weakness. Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. Rest when you need to; step away from your work when you need to. And if you are completely burnt out, it may be time to take an extended break or sabbatical. Many workplaces would rather grant an extended leave than going through the process of hiring and training a new person. If your workplace refuses to give you time off (or, if you don’t envision a positive future in your workplace), it may be time to make a change.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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3…2…1…Happy New Year!

Are you ready? It’s hard to believe the New Year is only two days away, but here it comes, ready or not! In my experience, there are two types of people: those who make New Year’s resolutions, and those who view the New Year as just another day and don’t bother.

If you’ve tried, and failed, to make resolutions in the past, I can understand the inclination to avoid making another resolution. It feels a little false—just another promise you’re not prepared to keep. However, I don’t think it has to be that way.

Instead of obsessing over resolutions, reframe your thinking about the New Year. Think of this time of year as a clean slate, a fresh start. There is power in that symbolism. If you see yourself at the beginning of something new, you tend to feel energized and refreshed. True, no one has waved a magic wand and fixed all your problems, but there is still something empowering about stepping into the New Year. It’s a time that feels ripe with possibilities. You have 365 days ahead of you this year—365 chances to make a difference.

When thinking about the New Year as a clean slate, you might inevitably make resolutions. BUT you don’t necessarily have to think of them as promises. Instead, think of them as ways to put your best foot forward, to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Be kind to yourself and ease into any changes you make. Understand that you’re not perfect and that you will likely not always put your best foot forward, and that’s okay!

Too often, people fall off the resolutions wagon because they set expectations that are much too lofty. Instead, try incremental change. Visualize where you’d like to go and then make a plan to get there. Instead of planning for the entire year, try making a three-month plan. Taking small steps is much more sustainable than giant leaps.

You might also try looking at each quarter as a clean slate. If you don’t accomplish everything you wanted to get done in Q1, there’s always Q2. Reframe your goals, make a new plan, and try again! Don’t forget to ask for help if you need it, or call upon an accountability partner to keep you on track.

In sum: If resolutions are unappealing to you, try adopting a “clean slate mentality.” You might be amazed by how energized and empowered you feel.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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