He had reached out a few days earlier to the partners at his company to talk with them about stake in the company. He was waiting for their response and imagining scenarios over and over in his mind, most of which were negative.
One thing I noticed that he was doing was conflating the two events, so we worked on breaking them down separately.
In terms of the job, I asked him how he was feeling about taking the big step to approach the partners. I read the letter that he wrote to them and it was eloquent and positive and reasonable. He was advocating for himself and realized if he didn’t do that that it would lead to resentment and regret. I asked him if there is anything else that he can do that he’s not doing to help his cause and he said no. It was out of his hands at that point.
I encouraged him to meditate and visualize the response he hoped for from the partners and visualize how he wanted to play because our thoughts influence our actions and our overall mindset.
I emphasized that all these things are easier to say and understand than to put into practice. The process of putting it into practice is messy and will have ups and downs. I warned him against creating unfair expectations that he should be able to press a button and execute now that he has read the program. It doesn’t work that way.
So if you have something that is causing you anxiety try to identify what it is and why. Try to separate out what you can do to advocate for yourself versus what is outside of your control. Work on recognizing when the anxiety is there and telling yourself that it’s ok to feel what you’re feeling. Rinse and repeat.
I’ll leave you for now with one of my favorites, the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
P.S. Feel free to substitute whatever works for you for ‘God’ if that feels better for you.