To Worry is to Pray for What you do not Want

Katie Corbett holds the book, "Think and Grow Rich for Women"

By Katie Corbett

I would describe myself as a moderate worrier. I think about the future and propose the worst-case scenario in my head, brainstorming potential solutions to problems or strategizing how I would handle a past situation if it occurred again. On the one hand, this has been productive because it made me feel confident in my decisions and like I was on top of things. On the other hand, very few of the things I’ve worried about have actually happened and I’ve lost a lot of sleep worrying about things that have never come to be.

The book, “Think and Grow Rich for Women,” presents a definition of worrying that changed the way I strategize and think about my life. Author Sharon Lechter says that to worry is to pray for what you do not want. The book argues that by worrying about everything that could go wrong, you are bringing negativity into your life and not leaving room for the hopes and desires you have for your future. I would agree, and instead of worrying about all the bad things that might happen, especially when I’m taking a risk or trying something new, I’ve found a few strategies that have worked much better for me.

When I was getting ready to start working seriously to create my product, a huge wave of fear and anxiety hit and questions about failure and whether I was capable of bringing this project to fruition flooded my brain. I first sat down and worked on the Fear-Setting exercise (the same one I wrote a post about in November). This helped me work logically through what I would do if failure did happen, and to realize that, while failing would suck, it wouldn’t be the end of the world and that my desire to pursue this dream was greater than my fear of failure. When I was done writing down my answers to the questions in the exercise, I put the pieces of paper away and never worried about those specific concerns since that day. Sitting with your anxiety for a fixed amount of time, writing down your thoughts, and putting the paper away afterward can be an excellent way to process. I felt that after having employed that tactic, it was like my brain thought that since I had written the information down, it had already solved those specific problems, so it was pointless to worry about them anymore.

There were some questions that I couldn’t answer in my head though. Instead of letting them turn to worry, I wrote them down and sought out experts who could answer them. When I started this product invention process I had no idea how my product could be designed, where to find materials, what the specifics of patenting would entail – just to name a few of the questions floating around in my brain. I haven’t found the answers to all of them yet, but I’m confident that other people in my network know the answers to these and many more questions I’ll have along the way. They say we already know everyone who can help us achieve our goals, either directly, or through a friend or family member. This gives me the confidence that I will find at least one person who knows the answers to my questions. Plus, bringing another person in to help solve my dilemma reminds me that I’m not alone. Together, we can focus on what we do want – success!

What are you worried about? Try giving yourself permission to write it down. What questions do you still have? Make a point of finding the people and resources to help you find answers. Stop focusing on what you do not want. You’ll sleep better at night, be happier with your life, and be heading toward the hope and success you desire for your future.

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Why to Focus on Impact, Not on Income

Katie Corbett holds the book, "Think and Grow Rich for Women"

By Katie Corbett

Career choice can be hard. You might fluctuate between feeling like there are too many options one day, to feeling like there isn’t anything in the world you want to do the next. Thinking about what you want to give back to others is a great place to start brainstorming. That will get you focused on what skills, knowledge, and talents you can offer an employer at a job, or clients or customers in a business you build.

In her book, “Think and Grow Rich for Women,” Sharon Lechter draws on the wisdom of the original “Think and Grow Rich” book by Napoleon Hill, and applies its message to women. (The information I put in this article can benefit anyone.) Anyway, in the book, Sharon says that focusing on making an impact – as opposed to making money – will be more satisfying. I have found this wisdom to be true in my own job search.

I was preparing to meet the marketing director of the nonprofit for which I now work. At the time, I had no idea if the company had a writer position open, so I sent her some writing samples along with my resume, just in case. A few hours before the meeting, I happened to watch a TED Talk by Tony Robbins, in which he talked about why people do what they do and the needs that drive human motivation. Tony’s talk said that the need that marked the highest stage of growth is the need to give. This got me thinking about what I wanted to do to help the nonprofit for which I was informally interviewing. My frame of mind, which strongly influenced my answers to the questions the communications director asked me, showcased my skills and knowledge, but also my desire to make a difference in the lives of others through my writing. I left that meeting feeling great about how it had gone. A few weeks later, we were discussing a position in which I would start out as a contracted employee. I still work there today.

I’m confident that if I hadn’t taken the “how can I make a difference” mindset to heart, and just focused on what I wanted for myself, our talk would not have gone nearly in the same way. Before your next job interview, I encourage you to ask yourself how you, specifically, want to make an impact where you work. How do you want to give back? What special knowledge, skills and abilities, can you bring to the company? How do you want to make a difference in the lives of others? These insights could change the whole outcome of the discussion. Even if you don’t end up landing the job, you’ll feel good that you came from a place of wanting to help others, and that makes for satisfying discovery.

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Remember in December, Part 5

Katie Corbett holds up the December page from a calendar.

By Katie Corbett

For these last weeks of December, I’m switching things up! Welcome to the fifth and final part of this series of posts. I hope you’ve had as much fun reflecting on the past year as I have. Happy New Year!

• What was one thing I lost in 2018? What did I learn from that loss?
• What financial decision did I make in 2018? What are the results?
• What is one thing I did in 2018 that I thought I would never get to do?

Do you have a favorite year-end reflection question? Leave it in the comments. Listen to the audio for my answers:

Remember in December, Part 4

Katie Corbett holds up the December page from a calendar.

By Katie Corbett

For these last weeks of December, I’m switching things up! The question list continues with Part 4. Ponder on!

• Using 3 words, how would I describe 2018? Why?
• What did I do for my birthday in 2018? Who did I spend it with?
• What 2018 accomplishment makes me proud? Why?
• What is one new food or activity I tried in 2018? Would I repeat it?
• What are my favorite fiction books I read in 2018? Why?
• How have I changed in 2018? How do I feel about these changes?
• Who did I discover in 2018 that I wish I could meet in real life?

Do you have a favorite year-end reflection question? Leave it in the comments. Listen to the audio for my answers:

Remember in December, Part 3

Katie Corbett holds up the December page from a calendar.

By Katie Corbett

For these last weeks of December, I’m switching things up! Here is Part 3 of my question list. Enjoy.

• How have I become a better friend in 2018? What caused it?
• What am I grateful for from 2018? Why? What will I do with it?
• How have I invested in myself in 2018? What are my hopes for the results of those investments?
• What is a book I read in 2018 that will stay with me? Why?
• What is one hobby that I have come back to in 2018 from younger days?
• What was my favorite event in 2018? Why specifically that event?
• How have I helped others in 2018? Will I continue to help them in that same way?

Do you have a favorite year-end reflection question? Leave it in the comments. Listen to the audio for my answers:

Remember in December, Part 2

Katie Corbett holds up the December page from a calendar.

By Katie Corbett

For these last weeks of December, I’m switching things up! Welcome to Part 2 of my questions list. I hope these questions enrich your reflections as you think about the progress you’ve made in 2018.

• What is the best piece of advice I have received in 2018 and how did I apply it?
• What helpful resource have I learned about in 2018? How will I use it?
• Who is one person I have helped in 2018 and what did I do to help?
• What is one new way I have learned to care for my loved-ones in 2018?
• What song would sum up 2018 for me? Why that song in particular?
• What was my favorite purchase in 2018 and what have I gained through it?
• What is one hobby that has stayed with me throughout the years? Why has it stuck?

Do you have a favorite year-end reflection question? Leave it in the comments. Listen to the audio for my answers:

Remember in December, Part 1

Katie Corbett holds up the December page from a calendar.

By Katie Corbett

For these last weeks of December, I’m switching things up! I’ve come up with a list of 31 questions, and used them to reflect on this previous year. You could answer one per day, if you’d like. I hope the questions enrich your reflections as well.

• Who is one person I have met in 2018 that has changed my life?
• What struggles have I had in 2018? What did I learn from them?
• What is my favorite memory from 2018 and what was special about it in particular?
• What did I discover in 2018 that I want more of? What will it take?
• What is one habit that I formed in 2018? Should I continue it?
• What have I done in 2018 that made me feel older than I am or younger than I am?
• What is a ritual that I started in 2018 that I want to continue?

Do you have a favorite year-end reflection question? Leave it in the comments. Listen to the audio for my answers:

The Joys of Automation and Outsourcing

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The 4-Hour Workweek"

By Katie Corbett

When I was twelve, we moved to a house without a dishwasher. A small thing, I know, but it was super annoying to spend at least an hour each night doing dishes. I made a promise to myself that I would never live in another place that didn’t have a dishwasher. On the one hand, it was fun getting to chat and listen to music with my sister each night. On the other hand, it just took so stinking long to do the dishes! The week I moved to my college dorm, my parents remodeled their kitchen and installed a dishwasher. (It’s nice to know where I stand, guys.) Anyway, this whole experience made me think a lot more about automation, and how it can improve our lives.

In “The 4-Hour Workweek,” by Tim Ferriss, the concept of automation and delegation is taken to areas of life other than the kitchen and laundry room. I even saw a blog post where Tim automated the online dating process!

I’m definitely not at total automation yet, but just developing the mindset that I don’t have to do it all has helped tremendously. When I was looking to build this website, for example, I hired a web developer to write the code and install WordPress plug-ins, a graphic designer to draw up a logo, and a freelancer to design and print business cards. I even sent said business cards out to a company in Canada to have braille put on them.

Having other people help me with my work was excellent because, not only did I get to know a few awesome fellow entrepreneurs, it freed up my time so I could do what I do well–write blog posts, coach clients and plan for the future of my business. This did cost money, but in total I spent less than $600. The time I got back and the knowledge and expertise of great people made the investment worth it.

As I got deeper into my coaching, I recognized the need to automate one aspect of my business: scheduling. I started working with people from overseas and in different time zones. I found Calendly, which is a platform that shows anyone with a link to my Calendly page all the available slots on my calendar—in their time zone. This eliminated the back-and-forth of trying to find a time that worked, and freed me up to reach out to new clients and host coaching sessions.

Whether you own a business, work full-time for someone else, or are looking for your next job, consider in what ways automation and outsourcing can help you in your daily life. Would you love it if someone cleaned your house on a regular basis? Took your dog for a walk? Delivered your groceries? Ask around in your community about these and other services you might find beneficial. And if the service doesn’t exist, maybe you’ll be the one to create it.

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You Really Need to Sort Out Your Priorities

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The 4-Hour Workweek"

By Katie Corbett

In the craziness of daily life, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Between work, school, family life, friends and all the other responsibilities that come with adulting, it can be a struggle to get back to what is really important. In “The 4-Hour Workweek,” by Tim Ferriss, I found a tip that changed the way I think about my life and the tasks I need to accomplish each day. It goes something like this:

If someone said you only could work for two more hours, and after that you needed to stop everything and recover from a fatal illness, what would you get done in those two hours? Put another way, if someone held a gun to your head and told you that you could only do two things that day, what would you do?

I know these are extreme questions, but sometimes getting extreme is enough to make you pause and really think about the answers. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I like to stop and ponder those two questions. That way, no matter what else happens that day, I’ll know I’ve accomplished the two things—or the two hours of work—that really needed to get done.

I have a long to-do list today, but I know that I absolutely had to write this blog post and I’m planning to make some phone calls as soon as I’ve finished writing it. So if the world ended, or I got stuck in traffic, or my computer crashed, I will have at least gotten those two things done. To me, that’s worth it—not to mention a lot less stressful.

So, what two things do you absolutely need to get done today? What would you do if you could only work for two more hours?

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Developing a Goal Plan

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The 4-Hour Workweek"

By Katie Corbett

I am a goal-oriented person. I get satisfaction from crossing items off to-do lists and being able to tangibly see myself moving forward. I realize that not everyone feels this way, and I even recognize the appeal of being a bit more spontaneous. In one of my favorite business books, “The 4-Hour Workweek,” by Tim Ferriss, I think I’ve found a happy medium. It’s a technique that involves some planning so that you’ll continue moving toward those things you want to do in life, but is not so rigid that you’ll need to cross items off a list each day, or even each week. I’ve done this twice, and I’m excited to share the concept with you.

First, take a piece of paper and divide it into three sections. Label each section, “To Have,” “To Be,” and “To Do,” respectively. Write 3-5 things in each category. Some examples from my own list:

To Have: A work-at-home job, a product prototype, an updated Linked-In profile, Trim and Burn weight-loss supplements, and a braille display; To Be: A remote worker, thinner, an interviewer, a product designer, and a hand model; To Do: Learn Filipino, finish latch-hooking project, join a young adult book club, finish editing the novel I wrote, and work with new coaching clients.

After that, pick the four most important items you’d like to achieve in the next three or six months. (I have always chosen three months as my target, because the immediacy of the closer deadline spurs me into action.) Write these down. Be sure and write the date of the specific day you would like to attain these goals. When you do this with goals from the “To Be” category, phrase these items as specific goal statements. For example, I wrote the desire to be thinner as a goal to fit into a specific pair of dress pants. This will help you measure something that might seem intangible.

After that, determine the financial cost of accomplishing each of these goals. Add the costs up and multiply by 1.3. This extra 0.3 will help account for emergencies, or if something turns out to be a little more expensive than you had previously anticipated. Divide the total by the number of months you set for yourself—so either 3 or 6—and there you have the cost per month. This should hopefully make you feel like the goals are easier to save for and you can justify putting money toward them since you’re planning ahead. Finally, I like to write down the first step I need to take in order to accomplish each of the goals. Mark the projected completion date on your calendar or put it in your phone so you can track your progress once the day comes.

Tim definitely lays this process out more concretely in his book, so I highly recommend picking up a copy. And even if you don’t get his book for this success secret, he has a million other nuggets of wisdom in there which are definitely worth getting a copy for yourself. It’s one of the most thought-provoking career and lifestyle design books I’ve ever read. I was so inspired after reading it for the first time that I went skydiving—something I had always wanted to do. Sure, I was unemployed, probably considered broke, and didn’t have a clear direction for my life, but I found a friend, took advantage of a Groupon and made time during the day on a random Friday in April to jump out of an airplane at 1300 feet. I lost one of my shoes on the way down, which still makes for a funny story. So take a chance and read the book—or at least decide what things you want in life by the next 3-6 months. Who knows what could happen?

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