Saturday, January 14, 2017

Do You Catastrophize?

I love the word "catastrophize." It's hard to spell and it's hard to say ... but it's a perfect word to describe what happens when you let problems eat away at you.

When something goes wrong in your business, do you spend hours worrying and fretting over it? Do you re-play the problem and imagine all the ways that it could get worse? Do you slip into self-pity and find yourself asking why this is happening?

You may not know that's what it's called: catastrophizing. Catastrophizing makes a small problem look much worse than it actually is. If you let it, catastrophizing can completely drain your energy and time.

An example of catastrophizing would be your computer has a minor hiccup. Maybe a document crashes and you discover the file is corrupted. Immediately, you think something horrible has happened to your word processing software and all your Word files will be unreadable. That client draft that you're in the middle of finishing? Gone. All the resumes you wrote over the past 3 years? Done for. Well, that's it for your business. Wish I had backed it up.

While it’s understandable to get upset when you face a business setback or new problem, this type of thinking isn’t productive. That’s because you’re focused on the problem and not the solution.

Imagine the above scenario does in fact happen to you. You can open another file and discover that it was just that one file. And, in fact, while that file was corrupted, Word saved a temporary version that you're able to work from. It doesn't have your latest changes, and the formatting is off, but at least you don't have to start from scratch. And, now that you can breathe again, you go ahead and backup your computer so you don't have to worry about losing ALL your work.

You can fret over it all day or you can say to yourself, “Whew, that was a close one. I'm going to make sure I stick to a backup schedule from now on!"

The first response makes you feel like a powerless victim. But the second one allows you to look at what you can do. It keeps you productive and focused. With that focus, you recognize that you can handle this problem without losing a lot of time and money.


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