Me × 21 Meetings = Functional Calm
I have a rule—a very new one and tailored to my personal style of paralysis and panic. When I need to get a new job or move to a new place or do anything that I’m totally and absolutely nervous about doing, I have to set up 21 meetings. None of these meetings have to come to anything. Nobody has to offer me anything on the spot or hand me the secret to my existence. But we do have to talk about the goal at hand.
In common sense terms, what this process does is let me gather information and learn from outside sources. But what it also does is force me to do something, just at the very moment I'm sitting at my desk thinking, "What if I can’t get another job?" or "What if there are no houses we can afford—ever?" I don't have time for those kinds of thoughts; or, I have less time for them, at least, because I have to call somebody up and try to get them to go to coffee with me. The illusion of packed, high-power schedule—much like the illusion of decaf (which by the way does so have caffeine in it)—can be exceptionally calming. So much so that by meeting 22, I'm usually relaxed enough to make a decision—if not take action.