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The Straightforward Way to Manage Anxiety
Anxiety. That all to familiar sense of apprehension, dread and uneasiness that can creep into our mind. It’s not uncommon for HECM professionals to experience anxiety in their day to day business. It’s a natural byproduct of working in an industry that has been challenged with repeated and rapid change. Recently I had to put thhis principle to work. I had a stack of paperwork to go through prior to meeting with my CPA.
Here are some practical steps each of us can take.
1- Make a worry list. If something is creating anxiety get it out of your mind and onto paper. Avoid being vague or generalizing your fears. Don’t worry about listing in order of priority, just get it written down. Break larger actions into smaller steps. For instance, send out proposal packets, deliver to shipper, generate new application, call processor, etc.
2- Delay decisions. Typically procrastination is not a good trait but it can be valuable in some situations. We do not want to make important decisions when our minds are seized up with fear or anxiety. Add pending decisions to your worry list. We will deal with them later.
3- Sleep on it. After you’ve made your list enjoy a restful evening and make sure to get adequate sleep. Even though you only made a list of your worries and haven’t taken action you may be surprised just how much better you feel having your list made. You’ve taken your first concrete step in regaining control.
4- Take small bites. As an Nigerian friend once told me, ‘how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Reviewing your ‘worry list’ begin knocking out the smaller tasks that require little time. As you cross them off you anxiety will begin to dissipate.
5. Voice your fears. If there are items on your worry list that cannot be overcome with a specific action on your part voice them by saying them out loud to yourself. Often just saying what’s on our mind forces us to realize that the fear an anxiety we face is often rooted in imagination rather than fact. If we say some of our fears aloud we may find some of them sound rediculous.
6. Embrace uncertainty. If there was zero uncertainty in our lives we would be mindless robots with no personality, depth or character. Uncertainty is what keeps us sharp, challenges us to improve and opens our eyes to opportunity. For example one may be feeling uncertain about their health but then seizes upon what they can control, their diet, sleep or exercise.
7- Make yourself uncomfortable. Those overwhelmed with anxiety avoid new experiences thus missing out on many opportunities. This preemptive anxiety robs individuals of personal growth and the possibility of becoming successful. Find what makes you uncomfortable and write it down and then find ways to overcome those fears. If it’s public speaking read books on how to become a skilled presenter and enlist the help of friends who are good communicators. Next take the plunge into making a public presentation to potential borrowers, realtors or financial professionals about the reverse mortgage program.
We all face anxiety and we all can take action to defuse it.