I admit it, I used to worry about everything and analyze everything! I stress the words USED TO. Yes, I was that person who changed 15 times before walking out the door, who rewrote my emails over and over again, who pre-played my pitch for a business interaction weeks and weeks in advance. I would pick apart comments made to me, responses to my emails. YUP…I was a worry wart! I am not sure how or exactly when it happened, but I suspect it was when my son was about 5 and having a pure meltdown because someone on the playground was “mean” to him. I do remember, thinking to myself,” this is ridiculous… by the time he goes to bed he will have forgotten all about this and it just won’t matter tomorrow”. Sure enough, by the time we snuggled down for a bedtime story, the playground incident was no longer a memory; it just did not matter anymore. That is when I started to think. I was putting too much energy into things that would not matter or make a difference in the long run.

So now, when I find myself worrying over things, I ask myself, “will it matter in 5 days, will it matter in 5 weeks, will it matter in 5 months, will it matter in 5 years?” If something is going to matter 5 years from now, I know it is something that is worth my energy, my attention and yes, likely my worry. On the flip side, if it will not matter in 5 weeks or 5 days, that is my cue to make a decision and just move on.  I have found using this 5 barometer has really helped quell what I worry about and where I focus my energy.

I have shared this tactic with individuals I have coached and with my kids. I know it seems simple, however I can tell you it works. In essence this is really about taking a moment to step back, to reflect and to evaluate – if you are making something bigger than it really needs to be, or actually is. Taking that moment of clarity can move you, like it has done for me, from being a constant worrier to an occasional worrier. So the next time you are caught up in a decision and you feel immobilized ask yourself… Will it matter 5 years from now? The next time your teenager is having a breakdown over the comment on their Instagram post – ask them will it matter 5 months from now? Putting a timeframe on things helps to put it in context and into perspective.

As I close off, here are some final thoughts:

  • When you find yourself over-emotional about a situation ask yourself “will it matter in 5 days, 5 months, 5 years”?,
  • Focus your energy on those long term impacts, and
  • If the 5 barometer does not work for you that is okay… Just Breathe and Be Kind to yourself.

Until next time,
Just Breathe and Be Kind


Rita Mizzi-Gago picAbout the Author

Rita Mizzi-Gago
Rita Mizzi-Gago, VP Human Resources, works with all of our offices across North America on talent management, strategic development and policies and procedures, just to name a few. She is a positive, energetic person who loves making connections and being involved in all aspects of human resources while working with management to facilitate organizational improvements. In her spare time, Rita enjoys yoga, travel and spending time with her family.

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