Redirecting worry

With the economy on everyone's mind, it's no wonder that I spoke to several people recently about worry. Potential job loss and 401(k) deflation can keep you up at night, or at least checking your balance often.

While it doesn't pay to be Pollyanna, the energy wrapped up in worrying puts a damper on actually doing something positive about it.

For example, say you're starting a new business right now. You want to be your own boss and have a great idea that you know will attract customers if you can just get the business off the ground.

Getting in the way of taking the big leap with this new venture is what you're hearing on the news. How can I jump now when I don't know what will happen?

First, you never know what will happen. Consider what you would do if you launched your business (or went after this goal) six months ago. How would you handle the teetering economy as a small business owner?

Next, I believe that it's possible to make smart-and-impassioned choices. You don't have to stay in a safe job you hate, and you also don't have to quit without any idea how you'll make ends meet.

So where is the middle ground?

What counts is where you put your focus. Think about how to provide for your needs and move forward with the new business. All of that time spent worrying about your 401(k)—which you never looked at before now—needs to be redirected into working toward your goals. Not against them.

Visualize for a moment how much time and mental/emotional energy is absorbed in worrying about the economy (or whatever subject). How many minutes in a typical hour does this consume? What is the result of that worry? Do you get anything out of it?

Now consider a scenario where that same amount of time and energy was put into helping you achieve the goal you most want. It's probably more time and energy than you're currently putting into the goal. And, what could result from this effort? I bet a lot fact likely more than you imagine.