leadership: what do you worry about?

I’ll confess, I’m a worrier. I’m better than I used to be, but I still worry. I had a conversation recently with a really great leader who was talking about something they were worried about and I was amazed to find out:

1. They were a worrier. To me, they seemed far too cool, collected and together to worry.

2. They were worried about something totally lame. (OK, that’s mean and judgmental, but I couldn’t believe that they were worried about what they were worried about, trust me, it was a “nothing.”)

So, that got me to thinking about my worries and your worries. I remember one time polling my friends (they were mostly guys my age) and I was astounded that some of them woke up in the middle of the night and had trouble going back to sleep because they were worried about something — just like me!

Here’s what I’m thinking. Much like surgery, worry is uniquely personal. “Minor surgery” is anything you have done in a hospital. “MAJOR SURGERY” is any kind of “procedure” that happens to ME, even like having my teeth cleaned. Yet unlike most surgeries, the power of worry is its hidden nature.

Here are my top three professional worries:

1. Disappointing one of my clients. I hate the idea of letting them down. Nothing bugs me more than a problem I can’t solve or a project that doesn’t go the way I want it to. We’ve been blessed to deliver great results for our clients, but I worry about some how, some way, some day not “knocking their socks off.”

2. Wasting time. I hate the idea that I’m not using my time well. I am allergic to inefficient and wasteful. I can discuss and talk for hours, but when it comes time to get to work, let’s get to work. I’m about getting things done.

3. Meteors falling on my head. Well, not actually meteors falling on my head. I mean the range of bad things that “might” happen in my life but I have no control over whether this bad thing will happen or not. These are the worries that involve interest rates, postal rate increases, websites going down, people’s thoughts I’m not privy to, weird board decisions, etc. etc….. All things I worry about BUT that I have no control over. In fact, over the years, almost every worry in this category has never, ever actually come true. But of course, I worry that they might.

Enough about me. What’s this have to do with Oneicity and NPO leadership? Well, I’m realizing that worry is paralyzing. At times, I’ve worried rather than worked to solve a problem (dumb, I know).

I’d like to have the discussion here about what you worry about because I’ve realized that a lot of us worry but we keep it inside (probably a guy thing). The more we know we aren’t alone in our worry, the more freedom we’ll have. And then in future blog posts, if my theory holds true, we’ll talk about how that works. Maybe I’m the only worrier out there. If so, I can’t wait to hear how you guys help me not worry. If, as I suspect, there are a couple of worriers out there, I think we’ll learn something together about how to not let worry keep us from fulfilling our mission and our dreams.

What do you worry about? Because this is so personal, if you want to remain anonymous, no problem, just put your alias in the name field and as long as you’re not selling some crazy get-rich scheme or pharmaceuticals or brand-name watches then we’ll let you post one this time.

So tell me, what keeps you up at night?


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity


(photo credit: jurvetson)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

1 thought on “leadership: what do you worry about?”

  1. Pingback: oneicity // income solutions for non-profits » npo leadership: a bit of a round up

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