Worrying seems to be part of everyone’s way of life right now, myself included. With everything going on, it’s hard not to take it all in at once and just worry. The mantra that we hear over and over again is “Worrying doesn’t help.”. Today, I wanted to talk about how this statement is true but, more importantly, how it’s false. We’re all going to worry, so let’s try to see the positives of that worry and then see if we can’t focus it into useful endeavors. This comes down to worrying and your locus of control.
How Worrying Hurts
What we all tend to do is start with worrying about something that is outside of our control and then go into an anxiety spiral. This anxiety is usually caused by something that is outside of your control. How someone feels about you or how the weather will be on your wedding day. These are things that you may have some input, like how someone feels about you or you can prepare for, like the weather; however, at the end of the day, what will be will be.
How Worrying Helps
Overall worrying about a lot of things all at once is just overwhelming but, if you can focus your just one issue at a time, this can be really helpful. The key is when you are worrying about what will go wrong, you bring up ideas about what could go wrong. For something like a job interview, this could bring up the concern: “what if they ask me about my weaknesses?”. From there, face your worry head on by thinking, “What would I say if they ask me about my weaknesses?”. Turning the tables here can take your worry and turn it into strategy.
Locus of Control
A locus of control is defined as “a psychological concept that refers to how strongly people believe they have control over the situations and experiences that affect their lives.”. Your locus of control is the difference between worrying and strategizing. Essentially, this means someone with an external locus of control is concerned with what takes place outside of their circle of influence. Thinking that your future is dependent on things outside of your control is what leads to worrying. In contrast, having an internal locus of control is the belief that your actions will directly influence your future.
The way to take your worry and turn it on its head is to change your locus of control. Change your viewpoint to things that you CAN control. I’ve mentioned this before when it comes to goal setting. Focus on what you can do, not the result. When working with my clients, I find that a lot of their anxiety is related to external forces that could ruin their progress or set them back even farther. This is why the first thing that I always suggest is to create some wiggle room in their monthly budget and then use that amount, no matter how big or small, to create some cash savings. Having this cash set aside for emergencies will reduce some of that worry and turn it into strategy.
In addition an emergency fund, sinking funds can be used to offset specific spending categories that are irregular, yet expected. Between these two vessels, you can take your financial concerns, one by one and turn them into the following question:
Wrap It Up!
When I work with a client, we will work through their money anxieties to flesh out what keeps them up at night. From there, we can tackle each concern, creating a budget and savings strategy that fits their life. Remember that personal finance is personal for a reason. Finding the solution(s) that work for your budget and improves your money mindset starts with the question, “what worries you?”.
Have you ever used your worries as a tool to create your financial strategy? Let me know in the comments below!