Teaching Profession Opinion

Worry Smart: Advice from an Entrepreneur

By Starr Sackstein — May 31, 2016 2 min read
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Entrepreneurship is not only for business. In fact there is a whole movement of teachers becoming “teacherprenuers” using the wisdom of business and applying it to education without leaving the classroom.

It is possible to be both interested in education and innovative and business savvy and they don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

So sometimes it is interesting to dip into the business world for advice and that’s how Jay Abraham gets involved with this post. Jay Abraham spoke with Dr. Hallowell a while back about a book he wrote.

It’s amazing to me to hear how the business world connects to education; as I listened to the podcast, I thought about how his tips for entrepreneurship applies to education.

This show’s nugget of goodness was about worry.

By nature, I’m a worrier. I try to pretend that I’m not, but deep down, I know and accept that I am.

What I learned is that worrying happens because of a culture of fear; the belief that bad news sells and disaster and scary news are happening all around us, all the time. We connect the bad events to things that can possibly happen in our own lives. This generates toxic worry.

What I liked about what Dr. Hallowell was saying is that he distinguished between worrying smart and toxic worry. Worrying smart is all about problem solving and toxic worry is a disease of the imagination.

Dr. Hallowell offered some easy advice on how to convert toxic worry to smart worry.

Here’s what he suggests:

  • Never worry alone (talk to someone)

  • Get the facts about any and all situations. Too often we have wrong information which perpetuates toxic worry.

  • Make a plan. Planning always helps us move forward. His idea for making a plan has to do with his CDE process - (Curtail, Delegate and Eliminate) This also helps with prioritizing what matters.

After I listened with interest to this interview, I wondered how much time I could have saved helping students and myself move away from toxic worry. My imagination is a true wonder and sometimes what I’m able to develop in my mind could never happen in real life.

Too often, teachers worry like this... especially in the current climate of fear that many education reforms have created. It’s time for educators to take back control of the system and worry smart, look ahead and problem solve so that our education system can do what it is meant to do.

How can you turn your toxic worry into smart worry? What plans will you put in place?

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.