Worry, A Symptom of ‘Knowing’

In business and in life I believe Knowing + Acting = Transforming. Everything should be Transformational, nothing should be transactional. Years ago, when learning the formula ‘Knowledge + Application = Transformation’ in my monthly Convene meeting, I loved the concept. There are only two ways to know something; you have experience or education. I share this because whether it is one of my daughters, a department head, or even the CEO of a business I must reiterate:  

  • I know ≠ I am doing  
  • I know ≠ It is working  
  • I know ≠ It is documented  
  • I know ≠ Others know and can also teach it  

So many of us are frustrated because we ‘know,’ yet are unable to ask the right questions, use the right tools, or guide others to knowing along with us. In many cases, our knowing is based on poor data, incorrect assumptions, and -even worse- only feelings without data. Often in life when I find myself in these situations, I’ll be momentarily staring at my computer screen, staring down at my journal, or simply paralyzed with thoughts of where we can go from here. Knowing when to ask for help is a sign of strength and wisdom. 

Fear not, take a deep breath, know this too shall pass because 90% of what I worry about never happens. I read How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie in my twenties, even took the courses, yet still forget to apply some of the basic principles sometimes. These days, I often take a clarity break (as prescribed in Traction by Gino Wickman) and ponder the following:  

  • ‘Who’ not ‘How’ can help (Dan Sullivan book)  
  • Who & where can we get more data to learn if all the potential causes are people or process challenges, maybe a combination of both?
    • Is our tech working
    • Are our team trained properly
    • Is there a Leadership issue?  
  • Journal my thoughts – I keep one journal for all my personal actions and head trash, and a professional journal for my daily task lists, insights, and notes from work with my team and clients  
  • In my professional journal I always choose my top 3 priorities in my day’s list before even powering up my phone, laptop, or any other devices  

 With all the above, sometimes getting unstuck is a matter of minutes or sometimes it takes days or even weeks of follow-ups. Consistent with our Force Scaling value Faith, I always have Faith in the plan, process, and people – most of all, years ago I finally became comfortable with the fact that I do not have to be the answer man. The fact is, I have kept many of the books I have read and in moments like these I consult them to remind me of frameworks or teachings forgotten or not applied. Below I’ll share the rules for you to conquer worry from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie: 

Rule 1: Get the facts. Remember that Dean Hawkes of Columbia University said that “half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision.”  

Rule 2: After carefully weighing all the facts, come to a decision.  

Rule 3: Once a decision is carefully reached, act! Get busy carrying out the decision – and dismiss all the anxiety about the outcome.  

Rule 4: When you, or any of your associates are tempted to worry about a problem, write and answer the following questions:  

  • What is the problem?  
  • What is the cause of the problem?  
  • What are all the possible solutions? 
  • What is the best solution  

So as I walk myself through this exercise, I can see clearly that a few influences from authors read, coupled with life experiences, have led to our formula to help others see solutions that transform a business or lives. Knowing + Acting = Transforming 

-Paul Boyd, Chief Executive Officer