Recently a man explained to me how he had been successful in his career by controlling everything around him in order to create any outcome he desired.
He constantly had a mental list of relationships, situations and/or projects that needed his attention in order to stay in control. Maybe you recognize the thoughts that were racing through his mind almost before he woke up in the morning. Did I forget something? Am I on top of things today? Who do I need to call? No stone would be left unturned…He thought that the anxiety he was feeling was necessary to keep him on his toes, and ultimately, to succeed. He was trying to control everything in his world, and before he even got out of bed he was tense and anxious. Although many people would not notice it, he constantly had this inner dialog.
The reason he and I were meeting was that even though this model for success was still working on the surface, his number of working hours was getting out of hand and he was getting tired. Also, he had a feeling like his career was running him, instead of the other way around.
His career had simply reached a level of complexity that made this model for success unsustainable.
He, along with many other leaders I have met, vividly describe how control and anxiety are some of their most important tools to achieve success, and how they would like help with staying in control by using new tools and/or models.
In an increasingly ambiguous and complex business environment, many leaders are trying to stay in control by turning up their attention to all the things that are constantly coming at them. But like the leader described above, you might also recognize how this is impossible and unsustainable.
And not only is it impossible, it also closes down your innate inspiration and power.
You need a new driver for success. Something that will still get you out of bed in the morning without shutting out your innate power down. You need to take back the steering wheel and let your intention, rather than your anxiety, guide your actions. This is done little by little, by changing your focus and your inner dialog and asking yourself the following:
What is your intention with your career? To be inspirational? To be caring? To change your industry?
What is your intention with your day today? To raise awareness? To connect with the people you meet? To reach your sales target for the month? To encourage learning?
What is your intention with the next meeting/encounter? To build the relationship? To reach an agreement? To produce a certain output?
When you get used to asking yourself these questions, it will make it easy to focus on the activities relevant to your goals instead of activities that will make everything appear perfect and under control. Also, you will be more flexible and have access to your innate power.
The result for you will be more energy and better access to your innate power.
In short, you can move from anxiety to intention little by little by asking:
1. What is your overall intention for today?
2. Before you engage in any activity, are you clear about what your intention with it is?
3. Whenever the anxiety pops up again – and in the beginning it will – and you are about to take action: Ask yourself, is this action relevant to my overall intention?
Good luck with moving from anxiety to intention!