Lose the Worry To Be a Better Leader

Last Updated Jun 27, 2008 3:01 AM EDT

2039851019_aab17b7912_m.jpgLeadership skills expert Scott Hunter, the author of "Unshackled Leadership," says that if you can let go of worry, you'll see extraordinary results both in the workplace and in your personal life. I spoke with the corporate coach to learn more about his philosophy.
Why is worrying a bad thing? Most of us do it at some point. Because there's no such thing as an idle thought. Human beings are like magnets; they attract to them that which is consistent with their predominant thought. If you worry, then you will have a lot in your life to worry about.
Does worrying serve any purpose at all? I can't think of anything useful that worry does. Worry is a version of fear, and when you go around being afraid, you attract to you those things that support you in being afraid. Your job as a leader is to start being excited and enthusiastic and to not take your worries seriously.

What creates worry? The ego, which is a fear-based structure that's all about survival. You can tell it's your ego talking when when you're stressed out or feeling anxious. When you're happy or excited, it's your higher consciousness at work -- the voice of joy and peace. But that voice is usually in the background because the ego is so loud.

What happens if you can stop worrying? Here's a classic example. I worked with a company that (was averaging) sales of $50 million and never made much profit, and the owner was a worrier â€" he'd wake up in the middle of the night to worry and made sure his managers worried about the business too. But when he started being excited, enthusiastic and grateful instead of worried, it totally blew the lid off the company. He made $67 million, then $89 million, then $104 million in the next three years.

What about people who are in "just in case" mode or trying to plan for contingencies? That's just a nice way of saying "I'm a worrier." People think they have to be in control of everything. Most planning is a fear-based conversation, not willing to trust that the universe will provide you what you need. If you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and do what you need to do, it'll work itself out.

But in the workplace, you are often required to make plans â€" you can't just wing it. There's a difference between planning and worry. You can plan your project, but don't worry about it. Go through the game but just don't take it too seriously.

Okay, now the big question: How, exactly, do you stop worrying? There's no one-size-fits all method to stop worrying. Usually, I just explain the consequences of worrying and say "stop it." For me, I treat worry like someone trying to sell me long-distance telephone service. Anytime I feel anxious or unhappy, I know it's the voice of my ego and I say, "I'm sorry, I'm just not buying any." When you let go of worry and you start living with excitement, enthusiasm and passion, all good things start to happen.

(image by KaCey97007 via Flickr, CC 2.0)

  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for AnchorDesk.com and writes regularly for Law.com and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.