My client sat before me an absolute wreck. She felt beaten down. Her face was ashen and her eyes red and puffy. I could tell from these signs and her slumped posture that things weren’t going well. I could see the anxiety and overwhelm written all over her. It was time for a training on how to avoid anxiety.
“What’s happening?” I asked.
The menacing list of all of the things that were going wrong came oozing out of her like hot lava. There was an abusive client that had sworn at her and her staff, ridiculing them for their apparent lack of skill. The upcoming staff wages were due and a short list of current projects with no long term proposals in the future. The overdue invoices piled up. There was exhaustion, sickness and loss of hope. There was so much to do that even being at our coaching session was causing not avoiding anxiety.
Get a List
I had already started the list, so I asked, “What else?”
My client seemed confused by my question and rightfully so. I rarely ask my clients to continue to babble on about what’s going wrong. What I usually want to know is what actions are my clients taking and in what order and what system are they using.
This was different though.
“What else is pending? What else is about to topple down on top of you?” I clarified.
She continued to talk and I continued my list. When she was all talked out and the menacing ooze solidified, we had a list. It was a list not to overwhelm but to oversee. It was a list that was outside of her instead of inside her head. A manageable list. A list to look at not to be consumed by.
Get a Priority
I then asked her some strategic questions to get the list in a priority order. She was now sitting upright and alert. The colour had returned to her face and she was expressive. The mood had changed dramatically. We were getting somewhere.
How do you avoid anxiety? Take a list of TO DOs and compare the first on the list to the 2nd, which is more important to get finished? Whichever wins continues and gets compared to the 3rd item on the list. Again ask, which is more important to get finished? Whichever wins continues and gets compared to the 4th item on the list. Again ask, which is more important to get finished? Keep doing this with the winner continuing on until you have a clear top 3 and preferably top 5.
Once we had the priority order, I had her schedule herself for 3 appointments to tackle the top three things on the list and the ones that were causing the most anxiety. The sigh of relief was audible.
And then it was Champagne time! The weight had been lifted and she was back to her bouncy, energetic self.
- She made the decisions she needed to make
- The was a plan to tackle the minor decisions that were still pending
- Her calendar was booked to get her 3 biggest issues off her plate
- She booked more time to review the other items on the list and schedule them as appointments
The shadow towering over her was now gone and in its place light shining onto the small manageable pieces that were put into a system that worked.
Once again, life was good.
What about you? How do you avoid anxiety? Take the Anxiety Questionnaire to discover your current level and see how you’re doing
Get your thoughts out of your head & on to paper – oversee not overwhelm
Schedule your top 3 priorities immediately
Keep scheduling appointments with yourself to plow through the list
Learn to make decisions faster by practicing making decisions faster