Worry, Vulnerability, and the Myth of Success


I’ve been thinking about the word ‘worry’ lately as it has come up in conversations recently with clients. We’re worried about the economy, the war in Ukraine, our children’s safety in schools, and much, much more.  

The origins of words fascinate me, and so do their similar words in other languages. Here’s what I discovered:

Worry – in Latin is anxietas (sounds like the word anxiety); in Spanish, the word is preocuparse (sounds a lot like preoccupied), and in Italian, the word is preoccupazione (similar to Spanish – sounds like preoccupied)

Worry is defined as  “mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated,” and it comes from the Old English wyrgan, which originally meant “strangle,”

Worrying about things takes us out of creativity mode and puts us in an anxious state – it makes us preoccupied with something that may or may not happen, and yet, it’s simply part of being a human being. 

While a normal part of being a human, it’s also something that I’m asked by clients –  how to stop worrying – while I don’t believe that is possible, I do think there are things we can do to shift away from it. Here are a few things I’ve found helpful.

1)  Take a deep breath and let it out with a big loud sigh when you exhale—doing that a few times and noticing our thoughts can sometimes shift us out of worry and back into the present. 

2) Go for a walk. Feet on the ground, phone on silent, and simply walk with the intention of noticing something new. It could be a flower, the changing leaves on a tree, or even a grasshopper on your path. Instead of thinking about your worries, you leave them behind for a moment and look for something new.

3) Explore why you’re worrying – for many of us in business, we often spend a lot of time worrying about what others will think or say about us if we do something (damn you, inner perfectionist). Journaling about that is helpful, asking where this came from and what it is trying to protect you from. Considering the outcomes if it’s not perfect or doesn’t go as planned – oh, but then what if it does? Dialoguing with the worry a bit more and often even asking it to take a break so creativity and inspiration can return.

And finally, don’t beat yourself up for worrying. In today’s modern world, where we’re plugged into the world via little devices we take everywhere, it’s easy to find ourselves there. Notice it and let it go as much as you possibly can. 

October 25, 2022 –  Myth of Success Workshop. This is an essential part of my private client work and something I’m deeply passionate about.  If this work speaks to you, I do hope you’ll join us.

Save the date – put these on your calendar – more details soon.

November 15, 2022 – Book Launch 

December 9, 2022  – End of Year | Celebration and Intention/Goal Setting Workshop for 2023

I’m a fan of Brené Brown and her work – I’ve probably listened to her audio program The Power of Vulnerability at least fifteen times over many walks and long car rides, which I’ve recommended to countless others. I’ve also enjoyed her books and various videos, as well as her podcast. 

Unlocking Us, one of her podcasts shows, has been on hiatus for a while and has just resumed. Her latest podcast episode talks about what led to the extended break and about the sabbatical she took for much of the summer.  

We all would love to believe that there will come a time when hurtful comments made by mean people have no impact on us, but I don’t believe this will ever be the case – even for someone like Brené who has done so much work around this topic. Her vulnerability in this episode inspired me and helped me normalize my feelings around some of the awful comments I’ve received. While not on the scale as hers, I appreciated the honesty she shared in how they made her feel.

I feel like my relationship with social media is to love it one day and hate it the next. It seems to be an easy place for people to fire off nasty comments with little regard for how they may impact someone, and it’s also a place where we can share positive things that can genuinely change the world. 

Don’t let others stop you from doing the thing that makes your heart sing. Take a break when you need it and rest – if possible, have someone support you, especially if there are comments on social media that become too much. But please DO NOT stop because someone has something hateful to say. 

*Write the Book * Make the Art * Do the Podcast * Start the Business * 

“The willingness to show up changes us; it makes us a little braver each time.” Brené Brown

I’ll leave you with this:  You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them” – Maya Angelou


Michelle Spalding | Small Business Coach

Michelle Spalding
Business Alchemist | Mentor | Author

Let’s connect – find me on Instagram and Facebook.