3 Ways to Lead Positive in an Anxious World
Ed Friedman was my mentor. His book, Generation to Generation, and his other works set my positive direction years ago. I discovered four great leadership truths from him. The first one is that great leaders have “a capacity to separate themselves from the anxiety around them.”
We have an abundance of anxiety today at work, home, and everywhere really. How do you deal with it? And how do you Lead Positive with anxiety all around?
Here are 3 Ways to Lead Positive in an Anxious World:
Take a Breath
One of the best days of my life was when I learned I didn’t have to say everything I was thinking. My marriage improved. My work improved. My energy improved.
I’m very extroverted. So when an anxiety-dominated teammate, friend, or family member would spew all over me, I naturally wanted to fix it or straighten them out and spoke up immediately.
That rarely happened.
I learned to take a breath. To install a mental filter so I focus on the positive and filter out the negative. That one breath, strategically inhaled and exhaled, has helped me separate myself from the anxiety more times than I can count.
Just take a breath when anxiety appears.
Take the Long View
After you take a breath, ask yourself, “How much will this matter a year from now? Five years from now?
I am constantly amazed by how much anxiety is generated from situations that are more inconvenience than problem, more difficult than devastating, and more temporary than permanent.
Anxiety shoves the situation to the foreground when it probably belongs in the background. Another question I ask in such times is, “Any blood on the floor? Anybody having a stroke or heart attack?” Of course not. So I respond, “Okay, good. Now take a breath and slowly describe what’s going on.”
The situation is far less threatening when we take the long view.
Take Time Away
Every effective, positive leader I’ve ever known or read about made a regular habit of stepping away. Anxiety necessitates that you detox.
Taking time away allows you to lessen anxiety in the system rather than add to it because you focus on renewing your own capacity to separate from it. You act like a step-down transformer rather than a step-up one. You take 220 volts of anxiety down to 110 volts instead of amping 110 up to 220.
Rather than finding out how long you can absorb how many volts of anxiety, take some time away. Go to a movie, for a walk, or a long weekend, or even better—a vacation! Renew your emotional stamina to take a breath and take the long view when you take time away.
Lead Positive and separate yourself from the anxiety around you as you Work Positive today!