Managing Anxiety

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Managing Anxiety
By Bernadette A. Moyer

calm

I have lived with anxiety my whole life. For me I believed it was a by-product of having been raised in an Italian Catholic family. There was a lot of yelling and calling one another out. There was confrontation. That is just the way it was and often the end result for me was a certain degree of anxiety.

My father wanted us to be good kids and to be smart and involved and there were definite goals and boundaries. We were expected to get good grades be high achievers and to be polite and well mannered. That was the least that was expected of us. Often the expectations created anxiety in me. How would I measure up? Would I and could I achieve good grades?

Later in my life I appreciated my parent’s high standards for me. We were supposed to excel not to just get by but to be our very best. My dad was a proud man. He believed that everyone should work and work for what they needed and wanted. Hand-outs for him were an insult. Yet there were many times when I was a young child that my parents could have used a hand up to help them with raising their five children.

For a long time probably until my late twenties and early thirties I didn’t even know what “anxiety” was just that I could be sick when confronted with pressure. The pressure of a job interview or the pressure of a business meeting often made the pit of my stomach turn.

Looking back what was almost funny was that age 26 I was the youngest Realtor in my office and it was once confided in me “how put together and accomplished you come across” and yet before that big meeting you could find me in the rest room having just dumped my lunch. I would get so nervous and sick and worried that I literally made myself throw up.

Today “anxiety” is referred to as a “mental illness” and recently I spoke with a handful of people that like me have certain degrees of anxiety or have a child or loved one who experiences “anxiety” and like me they do not consider it a “mental illness.” One friend said, “Who doesn’t have anxiety?”

I know there are different degrees of it, some people can’t function, and they become so anxious that they just can’t function to do normal everyday tasks. Even the smallest meeting or taking them out of their comfort zone causes anxiousness and an inability to function. Many are medicated as a result.

For me I have learned to tackle the things that make me anxious and to push through it. There are times I have to talk myself down and tell myself to breathe and to calm down. Mind over matter often works for me. I also imagine what the other side will look like, how will I feel when I accomplish the task that is making me anxious? How will I feel when I have mastered that which makes me nervous and anxious?

On many levels my anxiety made me better, it made me try harder, it made me more aware it contributed to my drive and to being successful. Recently I was watching an interview with Tom Petty and he said that before he performs it “takes him all day to work himself up to perform and then all night to bring him back down” I am sure that every single performer lives with a certain degree of anxiety before they actually take the stage.

And for most all of us life is our stage and it seems normal to me that any time we leave our comfort zone we will experience some degree of anxiety. The single greatest thing that I have found to help with my anxiety is being prepared. Do your homework and know what you are walking into and what you are entering. Nothing helps reduce anxiety like preparation. Take deep breathes and visualize what success will look like and feel like. Imagine how good you will feel when you get past the anxiety and accomplish what you have set out to do.

Today I would tell my younger self, calm down, breathe, take it easy, you will get through this, you will survive!

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

The thing about anxiety is that you have to manage it, because if you don’t it will manage you …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Managing Expectations

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Managing Expectations
By Bernadette A. Moyer

expectations

Whether it is business or personal we have expectations on how things should go and how they should be handled. Often our expectations do not match up to what we experience. Then we are left with what to do? How to handle it?

I have high standards both professionally and personally and many times I have been disappointed.

Over the weekend we visited our insurance provided automotive center for repairs and/or estimate of our vehicle. It was hit from behind in an accident. It turns out that the vehicle had to be totaled. When we arrived in the office no one was at the front desk. We could hear people that worked there, we could hear them arguing and we heard one of them drop the “f” bomb. This is a place of business. They were loud and unprofessional.

When our adjuster returned with our paperwork in hand, he started talking to another customer who arrived after us. It seemed rude to me and it delayed our business transaction. From the very beginning our expectations were not met. We were told to track the progress by using a website and our claim number. This was the same site we used to schedule the appointment with the adjuster. We were also told that if the car was “totaled” we could receive our check that same day.

The website was never updated even after the car was in their possession for 5 days. There was no way we would receive a check “that same day.” Several times my husband called to inquire and the adjuster always responded with “I will call you back.” He never did. We would go through a weekend and total of 5 days before we received the adjuster’s findings.

When in business and you state how the system should work and then it doesn’t, you can’t act surprised when the consumer is not happy. Of course they send me the “how did we do” internet survey and all I could do was communicate our experience.

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Last month a friend referred a pool guy so I contacted him. His estimate wasn’t any less than the larger company that we were intending on using but we figured the referral would help insure that we would be taken care of. The owner never met us as we sent photos of the job through text messages and he arrived at a price and sent an e-mail. We agreed to the work and scheduled it.

The day before I was surprised that he said he was sending one of his guys and that it should be about an hour or 90 minutes. Again I was expecting to meet the owner and the guy I was referred to and so I was slightly disappointed. The guy he sent was here for hours and seemed to be wrestling with the job. I was never comfortable spending so much money over a thousand dollars before the pool opened and we could be sure it was working properly.

Well less than three weeks later another area of the pool filtration system is leaking and leaking heavily. It wasn’t doing this when we closed the pool. When I expressed my concern and my upset the owner response “we didn’t break it and I honored the quote even when my guy was there longer than the hour or so” Wow! I never accused him of “breaking” it but did state that it was working when it was closed. And the amount of time was never an issue until I originally asked how long it would take?

So in both stories, what happened? We had as set of expectations and they were not met, it didn’t go like we thought it should go. Then I say to myself? It will never be okay with me to go to a business and wait in an office and hear someone working there curse and use the “f” word. And if you are in business don’t say things about how it will be handled and then not deliver.

Now about the pool guy again my expectations were not met as I would never receive a referral from a friend in any business that I was in and not meet the customer myself. I just wouldn’t and it would not matter the size or dollar amount of the job.

All relationships are like that where we have to manage our expectations. A friend was telling me about a recent break up and as I was listening to her all I could think was that she had a certain amount of expectations that were not being met. Things didn’t go the way that she thought that they would and should go. She is a high achiever and big giver and extends herself a lot.

I think when you have high standards and when you give a lot and extend yourself a lot it is easy to be disappointed. It falls back to “that is not how I would have done it or handled it.”

So what should the pool guy have said? How about I am sorry you have a leak and let me take a look at it and see what it will require to fix it. Instead he was defensive and escalated the upset instead of diffusing it.

The longer you live the more you realize that lowering expectations is what you do for yourself to keep yourself happy. Whether it is a business or personal relationship we all have a certain degree of expectations. In business I always revert to “you vote with your dollar” we all work hard for our money and if a job isn’t being done the way that we think it should be then we can go elsewhere.

I had to go to our credit union recently and the girl who handled our business had to do several tasks for us. They all required paperwork from the credit union and she handled it well. I made sure I got her name and I ended our transactions by stating “I appreciate you.” In a world where customer service is on the decline I do my best to acknowledge people that do a good job.

You don’t experience 25 years with a partner in marriage without learning to manage your expectations. Sometimes they will be met sometimes they will be exceeded and yes there are times when they will fall short. Every once in a while I allow myself the opportunity to vent and blow a fuse on the things that I am not happy about. I think it is healthy. How could another person know how we think and feel about things unless we can share them? That means we have to be willing to take the good with the bad.

There are always deal breakers though when it is not just about managing our expectations but comes down to what we are willing to accept and what we are not willing to accept …

It is always nice when our expectations are met and even nicer when they are exceeded but sadly often our expectations will come up short. Managing our expectations goes a long way to maintaining our happiness …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble