If you're a worrier at heart, you can't just stop because I told you to. "These traits stay with us," says Nancy Parsons, executive coach, president of CDR Assessment Group and author of Fresh Insights to End the Glass Ceiling. But over time, she points out, you can make key adjustments. "You can manage to neutralize your tendency to over worry and prevent it from interfering with your performance."

Start by following a piece of age-old advice. Ask: "What's the worst that can happen?" According to New York City psychologist and author Dale Atkins, PhD, that approach can really help. Unless, she says, you suffer from extreme anxiety, which could make thinking about the situation worse, it's instructive to play the scenario out in your head and consider the possible ramifications. More than likely, it won't be anything you couldn't handle.

Ask yourself the following:

  • What's the worst that could happen?
  • What's the likelihood of the worst happening?
  • What strengths would you bring to the situation if the worst happened?
  • How have you coped in any similar worst-case scenarios in the past?
  • What's your plan for handling the worst if it actually does happen?

Going through this exercise allows you to see that even if the outcome is bad, you will have a way of dealing.

It can also be helpful to use a friend (not a work colleague) as a sounding board. A friend can remind you of your core strengths (like my husband saying I was a working woman) and how you've coped with challenging situations in the past.

What's key, says Parsons, is to try to catch yourself before going into worry mode because it's easier to neutralize the tendency to worry than to eliminate your tension and anxiety when you're in the thick of it. Note the worry beginning to build, ask yourself what triggered it and refuse to allow your buttons to be pushed.

Excerpted from The Gutsy Girl Handbook: Your Manifesto for Success, by Kate White. Copyright © 2018 by Kate White. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.


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