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02/24/2009

Anxiety Is A Fact Of Life � How You Use It Makes The Difference!

We associate anxiety with fear, stress, and instability. We are afraid we can�t understand or manage our anxiety, so we avoid, deny, or medicate it. And we refuse to see our anxiety as a major source of energy in or lives and our organization, says Robert Rosen�s article in UU World magazine, �Do you have just enough anxiety?�

He believes the problem lies with our faulty thinking. Change and uncertainty make us anxious. We see anxiety as negative, as a sign of weakness, so we do whatever we can to a void it. Therefore, we have  to avoid change and uncertainty.

This thinking comes from centuries of viewing change as dangerous. It comes from medical models that frame anxiety as a mental health problem. And it comes from  years of outmoded thinking that ignores the human side of business and life.

But anxiety has a place in leadership and life:

1)    It�s time to embrace change and uncertainty as facts of life. We need to let go of our desire for stability, take an honest look at what we can and can�t control, and accept with we discover.

2)    We and use our healthy anxiety as a positive force for growth, Our anxiety is exactly what we need to deal with the ups and downs of  life. It can prompt us to make healthy changes in our lives, take advantage of unforeseen opportunities, or confront difficult issues. We just need the right amount of it.

3)    Just enough anxiety is the key to living and leading in our complex world. Just enough anxiety is the level of anxiety that drives us forward without causing us to resist, give up, or try to control what happens. It unleashes our productive energy and makes us want to do better. Just enough anxiety produces the optimal state of arousal that enables us to become the people we truly are and want to be.

It�s time to rethink our understanding of change and uncertainly and our ability to manage it in our lives. It�s time to reframe our perspective on anxiety.

To keep our minds open we must deepen our self-awareness, make learning a lifelong priority, and practice non-attachment, the art of letting go of preconceived notions we have about who we are. We need to admit our mistakes, ask difficult questions of ourselves, have the courage to change patterns that don�t work, and avoid rehashing the past or rehearsing the future.

When we become attached to the ways things are, we sabotage our efforts to live with uncertainty. Our attachment to stability causes us to magnify or suppress our anxiety when circumstances start to change, as they always will. Only when we allow ourselves to feel our insecurity, discomfort, confusion, and pain can we moderate our lever of anxiety. And only then can we make the most of change.



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