Word Of the Week #45: Anxiety

April 22, 2009 by  

Anxiety: a state of being anxious, uneasy or apprehensive.

Is there a part of your personal or work life that creates a feeling of anxiety?


Steve Straus, the 3 Minute Coach, sent this wonderful quote in his weekly e-mail letter.”I often remember realizing that much of my anxiety was stemming not from where I was, but from what I was afraid would happen a few miles in the future.” Lane Wallace – writer/pilot for Flying Magazine

Coaching Point: A wise pilot plans for possible future outcomes. But are you planning or being anxious?

I think we become anxious when we try to figure out Step 10 before we even get to Step 2! The unknown can be either scary or exciting! It just depends on how you perceive it.

Certain behavioral styles love not knowing, while others may feel out of control. This week see if you can identify any areas in your life that create anxiety for you. And as Steve says, “Are you planning or being anxious?”

Reader Responses

“I think we see anxiety all around us every day. Most of what makes people anxious are things out of their control. Obviously, we can’t do anything about things over which we have no control. So, there is no sense in even thinking about it.  Another aspect related to anxiety is having someone or something to point to if something goes wrong. When things go haywire, as they will do, those who have not planned well enough ahead for contingencies tend to look for someone to blame for their lack of planning and/or accountability.  We do live in an age where people are not being held accountable for their actions, or they just abrogate their responsibility (pass the buck) when things go wrong. You know it happens every day. Heck, we live in a time where even the President of the U.S. is not held accountable for his actions, especially in regard to a war. One of the most common excuses used by people after they are reminded about what they could have done to prevent a situation, and thus prevent anxious moments for many people, is that they didn’t know! It is no excuse.  Anxiety can be prevented by thinking ahead. But even more important is how people either react or overreact to situations. How we react to every situation can go a long way to eliminating anxiety. There are many anxiety-causing instances that are so small as to not even warrant a reaction. But people do overreact when they feel they may miss a train or wind up late for a party. There are many more important things in our lives than worrying about being late or forgetting something.  After our daughter was born, a family friend gave us some advice: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” And he was so right. If we don’t sweat the small stuff and plan our contingencies, we won’t have to worry about anxiety. Life is too short to worry. Have dessert!  And what can we do about the weather. I read a quote somewhere that noted, “The weather does not pay attention to criticism.” When passengers get upset because the weather is delaying their flights, it is almost as if they are the only people being inconvenienced and their reason for flying is more important than all of the other passengers. What I always do is bring plenty of reading material with me, including magazines, newspapers and books.  It is surprising how quickly reading passes the time in an airport, or when we are stranded on a runway. Two years ago, I was on a Friday afternoon flight that was supposed to leave O’Hare for New Orleans at 3 p.m. Because of rain storms around the country, I was stranded on the runway for at least three hours. During that time on the plane, I began writing the first chapter of my second book, “Goin’ Uptown: Marquette’s March to Madness and Return to the Final Four.” I was heading to New Orleans to watch my Marquette basketball team play in the Final Four, and I only had two and a half months to complete the book. So, I took advantage of the time I had on the runway to get a good start.  In these type of situations at airports, I just sit and catch up on my reading while those who are frustrated because they can’t control the weather go berserk. I figure, when we get there, we get there. Oh, well. As my father says, “It takes all kinds to make a world, and there isn’t one missing!” — Joe Moran.