No more excuses: Turn worry into action

by Steli Efti

No one worries more than a first-time entrepreneur, and it’s not hard to see why. From fundraising to product demonstrations to initial hires, it seems like there’s always something to worry about.

There must be a reason we spend so much time worrying. If it wasn’t valuable, we wouldn’t do it … Right? So what does worrying actually do for us? In a word, nothing. Worrying means you’ve identified a problem and:

  • Don’t know what to do about it, or
  • Know what to do, but don’t want to do it

Either way, worry is an excuse for inaction, and it’s a dangerous excuse because it feels productive. After all, you’re “planning,” right? That’s the problem. Progress isn’t measured in plans, it’s measured in action.

It isn’t that experienced entrepreneurs are worry-free, but they do have a skill many people lack: The ability to turn worry into action as quickly as possible. And they do it by asking one simple question: “Is there anything I can do about this?”

  • If they can do something about it, they stop worrying and take action.
  • If they can’t do anything about it, they stop worrying and refocus their energy on what they can influence.

See? Simple. If you can act, act. If you can’t, move on. Why worry about things you can’t control?

But simple doesn’t always mean easy. Taking action and letting go both require confidence and follow-through, and there’s no shortcut to those. But don’t worry, turning worry into action gets easier with practice.

When you catch yourself worrying, you’ve worried long enough. Decide in that moment to either take action or move on. Commit to your choice, and there won’t be any room for worry.

worry-startup-entrepreneurship.jpg

Recommended reading:

How to worry in business
This post was inspired by a recent episode of The Startup Chat, where Hiten and I share our insights on worry since we get a lot of questions that are rooted in worry. Listen to the episode here.

Effective entrepreneurship: The not to-do list
Every founder, entrepreneur, and startup employee knows the burden of the to-do list. Here's how to get more done by keeping a not to-do list.

Impostor syndrome: How to stop feeling like a fraud
Everyone, except you, has it all figured out—or do they? If impostor syndrome has you feeling like a fraud, you're not alone. This is how to handle it.