Dealing with worry
It’s barely three weeks to my Kilimanjaro climb. I sit here with a laptop at 2:30am, unable to go back to sleep after being woken by a thunderstorm.
In the last few weeks, I have been feeling so nervous about this trip. Yes, I feel worried and overwhelmed and, for now, am letting myself fully experience these feelings. I know these feelings are natural given that I am going on a huge adventure, such as I’ve never been on, never even thought possible.
I remember feeling just as nervous last year, especially on the eve of departing for Mount Siguniang. I take some comfort that this feeling is part and parcel of venturing into the unknown.
Aside from the Kilimanjaro climb, quite a bit is going on in my life. There are looming deadlines for two major writing projects. The year is half gone and I am far from the goals set for the MLM business. My dad is just recovering from a bout of bad gastritis and I am concerned for him. My son is back for the summer break and I have not spent much time with him. I will be occupied this week at a four-day convention and will have little time to do much else. On and on my mind whirrs.
For some strange reason, a World War I song learnt as a schoolgirl comes to mind:
Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag
And smile, smile, smile;
When in your work you come across a snag,
Smile boys that’s the style.
What’s the use of worrying?
It never was worthwhile
So pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag
And smile, smile, smile!
Really, what is the use of worrying? It has never solved anything and certainly this is not the time to expend emotional energy on worrying. Worry will simply distract from finding ways to tackle the real tasks at hand!
Khoo Swee Chiow listened when I spoke of my anxiety about climbing Kilimanjaro. He replied in three words: “Focus on training.” Focus – this is what’s needed when there’s lots happening, or when there’s much to get done. Focus is the antidote for distraction. Focus means being 100 percent present in what I am doing, to ignore what is in the background, and zero in on what needs doing. All these voices in my head are merely noises and distractions – I have got to tune them out and tune in to what I want!
I can’t control the weather in Kilimanjaro, or if altitude sickness will hit me. But, I can get my fitness level up by training. Training – that’s something I can do. Training is being in action; and action – doing something constructive – is one of the antidotes to worry. The focus is to ensure I have the best chance of scaling the summit of Kilimanjaro and this means training, getting fit, and staying healthy. My task at hand is to follow a proper training programme.
Yes, EXPECT to ENJOY the trip, not merely endure it. I don’t plan to go all the way just to DO the climb – I want to savour every moment of every day. I anticipate climbing the majestic Kilimanjaro to be an unforgettably wonderful experience, set as it is amidst the vastness of Africa, a land I had only read about and seen in movies.
I am intentionally not reading about the details of what the journey will be like. There are any number of blogs and articles giving detailed accounts of the climb up Kilimanjaro. I think it will kind of take away the wonder of discovery. Or, freak me out – worrying too far ahead will hinder the mental preparations.
I am choosing to listen to Swee Chiow: “Focus on training.” I have been training consistently. My friends joke that I seem to be addicted to training; that I am the one always looking for training partners and asking for training sessions.
My fitness has improved since the start of this year. I no longer feel wiped out after each training session. I am managing 200 storeys in a much faster time – I have managed to slice off more than 20 minutes than when I first started.
I remember another time in my life when I was persistently plagued by worry. It was when I started the MLM business. A total newbie to sales, I was obsessing about monthly sales quotas, which led to many sleepless nights and anxious days. My mentor taught me the value of focus. I began focusing on the weekly ‘product parties’ and on the daily calls to invite people to view products and the business. The key is to be in action no matter what. In the first year, without sales experience, I consistently achieved high sales volumes.
Focus on what I need to do; cut up the tasks I have at hand; consistently do what needs doing; and expect to get better and faster!