Byron's Babbles

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Posted in Coaching, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 16, 2015

worriedThis week’s entry in The Disciplined Leader (Manning, 2015) is a great one that we all have to diligently work on as leaders taking the responsibility of leading ourselves first in order to effectively lead others. The topic was that of managing our worries. This is one topic that we can all say we have experience with, right? If we are honest, this is something we all struggle with. Instead of mindlessly rushing through life, often stop during the day to ask yourself what really matters to become more aware of your inner world and the chatter in your mind (metacognition). Another very helpful way to calm anxiety and fear is to take the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’ perspective as an observer. When you experience these emotions, imagine stepping back as a third person observer and observing yourself and the situation at a distance. Distancing has proved to be one of the most effective ways to calm our fear. This mindfulness allows us to be very thoughtful in analyzing the situation to either develop a solution or realize no action or worry is necessary because it is out of our control.

“Worry is a toxic emotional condition that can feel like it’s choking us at times, even though most of what we worry about doesn’t ever happen.” ~ John Manning

worry1Manning (2015) offers three suggestions for leaving your worries behind:

  1. Understand that worrying is not a solution. I am reminded of one of my favorite TV shows growing up: MacGyver. I’ll let you click on the link I’ve provided to get the details if your not familiar with the show. My takeaway and lesson I learned from watching the show was that MacGyver never let fear take over; he looked for the solution instead of staring at the problem. Then he would take action with his trusty Swiss Army knife and go to work. What a great lesson – if you have never watched an episode get one and let the learning begin.
  2. Surface your worries. Categorize into what you can control and what you cannot control. I always go one step further and think about what do I need to control and when do I need to worry about controlling it. In other words is it something that is a priority right now.
  3. Reduce worries. This involves being proactive. Taking control where you can. I use the example here of having a very tight and sound school safety plan. I can’t control what may happen, but with an outstanding plan that every staff member understands, I can eliminate constant worry.

indexFinally, just be mindful of priorities and use your problem solving skills to diminish your worries so you can be like MacGyver and look for solutions instead of mindlessly staring at the fear.


Manning, J. (2015). The disciplined leader: 52 concise, powerful lessons. Oakland, CA: Barrett – Koehler Publishers, Inc.



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