What's Holding YOU Back – Is It Worry?



#2 in the What’s Holding You Back series — designed to help you think about why you are not moving forward in your job search, career, or life.

Yesterday we talked about how  alcohol can hold you back.

Today, let’s talk about Worry.

Like alcohol, worry is insidious (meaning – having a gradual and cumulative effect and being able to entrap).

You don’t see it coming and you don’t recognize the symptoms, usually until it is too late.

This one, I confess, has held me back at times. When my children were growing up, worry infused me. I worried about them, I worried about finances to take care of them, I worried when I heard sirens (especially when they were teens — they got sick of Mom calling the cell phones they both got when they were 16.)

My mother-in-law was even a more gifted worrier than I was. When my youngest son was in 8th grade on a bus trip from Wisconsin to Washington DC, she called saying that it was raining and had I made sure the bus driver would not drive in the rain? Her worrying was so well known in the family that the first phrase I came to know a long time before I had my own kids was “Don’t tell Mom.” Everyone knew that she could and did worry herself sick.

How does worry hold you back?

  • When you infuse your thinking with fear and worry, you lose valuable productive time.
  • It blocks your creativity because you will be unable to unlock your potential because of your fears.
  • You might turn down opportunities because you are afraid to review them or because you fail to see the positives because you are so focused on negative energy that goes into worrying.

It took me a long time and perhaps because my sons have given me good reason to worry in the past, I finally hit a point where I had to decide that it wasn’t healthy or productive for me.

In my case, because I come from a Christian perspective, I knew better, I knew worry was counter-productive and I had better places to put my trust.

In the process of trusting more and being reminded by a friend multiple times to focus on the section he calls the “Do Not Worry” section. In Matthew 6: 25-34, my Message Bible reminds me: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get all worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Everyone does not come from the same mindset or philosophy as I do, but for everyone there are ways to avoid letting worry hold you back.

  • Sometimes something as simple as getting more regular in sleep
  • Or perhaps better nutrition
  • Or minimizing or avoiding stimulants like caffeine can help you put worry into perspective.
  • Exercise will help you gain balance in your life and displace some of the negative energy.

If you are totally out of control with worry or it turns into depression, it may be helpful to seek a professional counselor who is trained to help diffuse those fears. In any case, when you eliminate the things that hold you back, you will find new worlds ready to conquer and new ideas to put into place. Negative energy or worry defeats you and you don’t have to let it do that.

Do you see worry as something that can hold you back in your career or job search?


  1. Melissa on March 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Ah, yes. I know this one well, especially in regard to my loved ones. It probably also applies to myself in over-thinking how I am being perceived, the usefulness of what I have to offer, etc. You’re right — that type of worry isn’t productive. It just feeds the negative tapes in a person’s head.

    Good food for thought, Julie. Thanks!
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Reactions to Your Mistakes Speak Louder than Original Mistakes =-.

  2. Reeta Luthra | Stress and Health on March 3, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Hi Julie – I really like this “What’s holding you back” series of articles that you’re doing.

    And I can relate to being an over-thinker 🙂 Not necessarily a bad thing – see it as a talent that lets you consider all angles!

    In my experience, excessive worrying often comes about when someone’s feeling:

    1) Helpless in some way
    2) At odds with the way that their own life is going
    3) A need to be in control because they don’t trust someone is ready to make their own decisions

    Addressing these underlying causes works wonders in developing stronger attitudes and abilities that help in enjoying the “new worlds to conquer” that you talk about.
    .-= Reeta Luthra | Stress and Health´s last blog ..How to Make Better Decisions =-.

  3. Dawn Bugni on March 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Julie –

    Worry is one of the most useless emotions, yet we all do it. If we’re doing something productive, moving forward, then we don’t have time to worry. Keeping that momentum in a job search (or in life) is difficult. We’re much better served putting our energies into action rather than worry.

    Great post. Enjoying the series.
    .-= Dawn Bugni´s last blog ..It’s the little things. =-.

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