Last week I was at the movie theater watching a great movie and I found myself worrying about work. I realized it was a waste of time to worry about something I couldn’t do anything about at that moment, but I couldn’t stop it either.
The next morning I called a friend of mine who is Buddhist and one of the most interesting people I know. I told her about what happened and she shared with me a method to overcome worry and anxiety.
Step 1: Make a List of All the Things You CAN Control About the Situation
I was concerned about one of my employees who wanted to leave my company for six months to travel around the world, so this is what I wrote down:

  • Ask her to stay with us for two more months so she has enough time to train someone to replace her while she’s gone.
  • Take over her work for six months.
  • Let the two clients she is working for know that we won’t be able to provide those services for six months.
  • Partner with another Internet Marketing Agency to have them take over those two accounts for six months.

Step 2: Make a List of All the Things You CAN’T Control About the Situation

  • I can’t change her mind if she decides to take a break.
  • I can’t change the fact that she’s the only one (in addition to me) who knows how to take care of certain things.

Step 3: Understand What This Means
After I created both lists, my friend told me a couple of things:

  • You have a list of all the things you can do. Do them.
  • You have a list of all the things you can’t do anything about. Worry is a waste of energy. You shouldn’t waste a single second worrying about something you can’t change. Accept it and move on.
  • Think about the worst case scenario (in this situation, the worst case scenario would be that she needs to train someone else to do her job while she’s gone). What would be the consequences of this happening? (I thought about it for a second and I realized that this wouldn’t affect my company or my clients at all. Even if worse comes to worse, it wouldn’t affect me much.)

I realized that I had been worrying because of the uncertainty of the situation (I didn’t know what was going to happen). But, once I thought about all the possible scenarios, I realized that even the worse one wouldn’t be so bad after all. That made me feel 100 times better.
One More Piece of Advice: Don’t Worry About Problems that Don’t Exist
How many times have you worried about something that never happened? You worry about losing a client that you never end up losing. You worry about being fired and your boss has no plans of firing you. It’s great to work on preventing problems, but don’t forget that some of these might never even happen, so you might as well spend some of that energy working on your life goals.