”Don’t worry. Be happy.” Did people say this to you when you are procrastinating?
You worry that others will criticize your work so you don’t feel safe to deliver?
Do you need lots of affirmation to put yourself together before you start working on your task?
While these all sound like a confident issue, they do link to the fear response in our brain – in the amygdala. This is where we are triggered during Fight or Flight behaviors – flight especially in the case of procrastination. Worriers fear easily for various reasons: failure, uncertainty, novelty, judgment, conflict, and even success sometimes. Due to this fear, they avoid rolling out their plans or taking action, even though they know they have been wanting to do it for a long time!
Need: Safety, Love and Connection
One of the typical responses of Worriers are pacifying behaviors – eating chocolate or chips, talking to their best friend or a colleague for exciting business ideas (but not doing), soaking in a hot bath, watching Netflix or Disney+ or scrolling social media, etc. They come into the familiarity they have formed in the past, in order to feel safe, loved and connected. They also don’t have very high self-esteem, which feeds their anxiety and sense of unease.
So how can Worriers go ahead even when fear and anxiety present?
1/ Getting a supportive team
Safety is the first priority for Worriers. A nurturing environment will reduce their anxiety significantly. List what you are worrying about and discuss with your loving and caring teammates. You may realize these points are invalid and you no longer need to fear. Knowing that these worries only exist to alert us about unforeseen dangers. But we can also learn to tell if they are unreasonably amplified.
2/ Collect successful stories
When receiving comments, Worriers tend to focus on criticisms rather than acknowledgements. Because of their strong need for safety, they are also more vigilant for any potential negative feedback, which is why training the brain to be conscious about positive outcomes is important. Our brains learn from doing so we must take actions and truly experience.
When you realize even when you worry, you can still keep going, and the result is not even that bad. That gives your brain a positive sign. Note that down and teach yourself about your personal success. Embrace it and let it become your source of courage for your next challenge.
3/ Hire a coach
If the love and safety you are receiving is still not enough to eliminate your worry, a deep inner work with a coach can help you dive into the root cause of your fear and make peace with it. When you are emotionally hijacked by worries, an empathetic and rational approach is very much needed.
A professional coach usually uses reflective questioning to help you understand why this worry holds you back, what you have been missing, and make sense of it. You identify a security plan to start, and take safe steps to get going.
You also learn how to quiet down the self-sabotaging voice and catastrophic thoughts in your head even when you are all by yourself. So every time a task freaks you out and you are frozen on the spot, you know how to warm yourself up and restart.
While the needs of Worries may seem simple, the complex within their mind is nowhere simpler. Just like Dreamers, Worriers perceive a distorted reality and fact check is beneficial too. It takes courage to change and step into the unknown. It is totally understandable to worry if we fail, but what if we fly instead? Can you allow yourself to try?
Maybe that is something that can stop you from worrying and chase your dreams.