This is a phrase I use with my kids and sometimes with my husband and very often with myself.
Think about a time when you were either at a jumping off point or you were “in progress” working on something important to you.
Did your mind ever run away with thoughts about how things could go wrong? Sometimes, those thoughts can grow into certainties… or what feel like certainties.
You send an email to a client and realize the next day there was a typo in it. You begin imagining your client contacting you to tell you they’re rethinking the project because of your poor attention to detail. Before you know it, you’re certain that’s what’s going to happen.
Or you’re in the middle of a project and find yourself stalled out for a day or two. Your mind starts racing about what will happen if you miss the deadline… and none of the potential outcomes are good. And again, you start to feel certain that what could happen is going to happen.
This is called catastrophizing. And it’s your brain’s somewhat unhelpful attempt at protecting you from danger.
It happens because your brain reads uncertainty as a danger. If something goes wrong or could potentially go wrong and you become uncertain of what will happen next, your brain goes into worst-case scenario mode in order to protect you.
That worked great in ancient hunting-and-gathering societies… in today’s landscape, it’s mostly a recipe for stress.
So how can you de-catastrophize and get back on track?
One of the first things to do is look back on the evidence surrounding similar situations you’ve been in before. If you’ve just made a mistake with a client, think back to a time when you’ve made a mistake before. How did you respond? How did your client react? Often, this quickly brings things into perspective so you can move forward.
But if that doesn’t work, pause and envision your worst imaginings do come true and your client fires you over a typo in your email. What would you do next? Chances are, you’d market yourself and land new clients. If you did that before, you can do it again.
Once you’ve given yourself some perspective, try to stay in the moment and take the next best step based on what you know. For example, if the email to your client wasn’t an important one, your next best step might be to let it go. Or, you might just say, “Sorry for the typo. That should have been…”
If you find yourself getting caught up in catastrophic thinking — which is particularly easy to do in these extra uncertain times — try those three steps to restore your perspective and help you move forward.
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Mark Your Calendar
October 9: Coming into the final quarter of the year, now is the time to make big progress toward the goals you set at the beginning of the year. In this live webinar event, I share some tips to help you make big gains between now and then. Join us.
October 9: This is the deadline for the initial entries for the 2021 Reality Blog Challenge. If you are interested in becoming Wealthy Web Writer’s next Reality Blogger, see how you can make that happen right here.
October 14: Do you ever feel like you have more to do than there is time to do it in? If you’re nodding yes, know that you aren’t alone! In this webinar, I share some of the tricks I’ve learned over the years to get more done in less time. You can join the live event here.
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That’s all for now. Make it a great week!