What we most enjoy about a Do-Over! is the excitement and exhilaration of reinvention. But there’s an underbelly to the experience, too. It’s the anxiety that may accompany open-ended change. For some, it’s a challenge to live with an unclear picture of the future. They know they’re ready for a Do-Over!, but they don’t know what it will be. For focused and successful women in particular, that’s an unfamiliar and uncomfortable place to be.
Anxiety is a normal part of change, but it shouldn’t be so overwhelming that it derails the larger Do-Over! process. Here are four strategies you can use to manage any Do-Over! anxiety you may encounter:
1. Let go of the old. That’s the only way to make room for the new. Stop rehashing, explaining, or second-guessing the past: those are really ways of holding on to the past.
2. Start or deepen a practice. Whether it’s yoga, walking, meditation, or 15 minutes of nothing a day, a practice will provide a structure for you to hold on to when there doesn’t seem to be any ground underneath your feet.
3. Pay attention to specific incidents of anxiety. Don’t try to fix them, just "be-with" them. Engage them with curiosity. As you get to know what they’re about, you can better figure out how to deal with them.
4. Write it down. There is nothing like a morning journal or a bout of freewriting to cut that anxiety down to size. If nothing else, just grab a piece of scrap paper, write "What’s happening?" at the top of the page, and keep the hand moving for ten minutes.
Ann Daly PhD (www.anndaly.com) is devoted to the success and advancement of women. Before reinventing herself as a personal and executive coach, she was a journalist and women’s studies professor. Her most recent book is Do-Over! How Women Are Reinventing Their Lives. For more of Dr. Daly’s Do-Over! advice, click here to sign up for her blog.