Are you winning?

dwlimages1 copySo many of us struggle with worry and anxiety.  We ruminate about the past and have fears for the future.  We spend a lot of time not in the present moment.  A million to-do's, obligations, goals, dreams, should's, could's, have-to's, want to's, doubts, and more running through our minds all at once.  It's easy to get caught in your head and find yourself suffering with mental angst.

I use to be a hardcore self-proclaimed "worry wart" (it's genetic LOL).  I would always find myself obsessing over past mistakes or future stressors. While it didn't debilitate and I was still able to get things done, it was super uncomfortable and unpleasant.  Walking around with anxiety in your stomach and feeling unsettled is no fun. Over the years I've been able to quiet my mind more and have dramatically decreased my anxiety.

Then about a few weeks ago, out of nowhere (or so it seemed), I started feeling anxious and couldn't quite figure it out.  Yea there were decisions to be made and things going on that had me a bit stressed, but no more than my usual, so what was it?

Enter my new favorite book, Essentialism, by Greg McKeown.  I hit one of the final chapters of the book and the author posed the question "Are you winning?".  But not winning like we typically think of it.  Winning as in "What's Important Now?".  This concept instantly resonated with me.  Until that moment, I had been more focused on things that weren't important in the moment and things I had no control over.

Here's what I discovered...

My upcoming StrongFirst certification has me out of my comfort zone (I haven't truly tested myself since my competitive boxing days).  The anticipation anxiety regarding my performance felt all too familiar.  But come on Jess you still have 10 more weeks, you will be ready.  I realized I hit this point in my training and began to worry about my level of progress and started to doubt the process.  Once I read this question "What's Important Now?" I was instantly able to focus...all I can do if focus on what I can do right now in the moment.  

This part of the book further explained that you must stay focused on your game and how you are playing.  For me this was another "ah ha" moment.  I had spent too much time obsessed with researching how others trained for the certification instead of staying focused on me.  All I can control is my effort, focus and training.  I realized that any given day I can only make a difference in the here and now.  If I do my best to stay present and focused on how I'm training, I can let go of the outcome and let it be a by product of my training.  

I'm sharing this with you because I think so many can relate to anxiety and worry caused by our focus being pulled in the wrong direction.  In our fast paced lives staying focused and present isn't easy, but for our mental health we must focus on "what's important now" because that is all we can truly do.  When you find yourself struggling with anxiety ask yourself "what is important or essential now?".  Resist the urge to get caught up in what is nonessential, out of your control and what others are doing.  To achieve your highest level of contribution (another golden nugget from this book) we must be focused on what is truly essential. 

With this epiphany I have found myself with almost zero anxiety and enjoying the process again.  Sometimes all we need is a little reminder! Isn't it cool how the universe always gives us exactly what we need!