4 Ways You Can Win the War on Worry

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The energy leaders waste on worrying can be one of the greatest obstacles to their overall effectiveness.

In the face of a crisis on the scale of COVID-19, leaders are understandably looking at medical, financial and social disruptions of an unprecedented scale, and are needing to find a way to lead through it all.

At such times, mental energy is one the resources most vital to a leader, and yet when worry begins to take root, it is this very resource that can be so quickly depleted.

But the ability to overcome this challenge can be achieved, if you know these 4 ways to win the war on worry…

1. Understand the difference between worry and concern

Concern is action-oriented. In fact, concern is one of the fuels that drives effective leadership. It flows from a deep sense of dissatisfaction over a situation, and drives the leader toward problem-solving.

Worry, on the other hand, is merely hand-wringing negativism.

2. Recognize the futility of worry

There is no problem that has ever landed at the feet of a leader that has been solved through worry. Worry is wasted mental energy. It simply brings nothing to the table when it comes to a leader’s ability to tackle and resolve important issues.

3. Arrest “worst-case scenario” thinking

Much of worry flows out of assuming the very worst outcome of any situation.

For example, when results are below plan at a particular juncture, “worry” assumes that the trend will continue, that the plan will fail, that this will cost you your job, that you will therefore be unable to provide for your family, and on and on and on…

The mental discipline to recognize this thinking pattern, to arrest it mid-thought, and to refuse to entertain such scenarios is a tremendous energy saver.

4. Expect the best, prepare for the worst

This axiom may be slightly simplistic, but there is some truth to be found here.

Effective leaders don’t supplant worry with naiveté. And they certainly don’t adopt Alfred E. Neuman’s policy of “What, me worry?”

Instead they right-size the possibility of a negative outcome, and they put the necessary response plans in place.

There is no quick-fix, but if you embrace these strategies you can see dramatic improvements in your mental energy tank.

And over time you really can win the war on worry.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.


  1. Great wisdom here, Scott. I tend to be not concerned enough, and my wife is the opposite. Neither is a “right” place to be. Be aware – be informed – be alert – be prepared … and also, be thankful – be kind – be resourceful – be encouraging. There is a God who is still in charge. He has not forgotten us or abandoned us – and is steadily, quietly, deliberately unfolding a plan and purpose so much greater than we can imagine or see at present.
    Resting in THAT gives me the greatest peace and keeps away from my door!

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