056 — Overcoming the Anxiety from Your Leap of Faith

Every major life change is accompanied by chaos and anxiety. How can you manage the chaos, stress, and anxiety that comes with exciting new adventures or with the change of unexpected or undesired changes or tragedies? Even in our day to day lives just simply trying to accomplish something of significance, chaos and stress are a part of the equation. Why is that and how can we manage the chaos and anxiety and stay focused on joyful living?

Overcoming the Anxiety from Your Leap of Faith

For two years or more we’ve been considering our next life step. When we think of the need for change in our lives we usually thing of doing new things, going new places, rather than staying where we are and rebooting what we are already doing. We’ve been careful to pray, talk, and think through whether or not the thing for us to do was stay put and redefine our roles. So, for two years, if not three, we’ve been talking about this.

Last week was our moment of the public reveal. After the public reveal, there’s no turning back. Making your plans public is powerful, its the next level of commitment to the path.

Here’s a few things I’ve observed since making this public.

  • Our resolve has practically increased and our preparations have gone to a new level.
  • Our excitement has increased and our outlook has focused forward.
  • I am starting to say, “that one is for the next guy to figure out,” because I’m still committed but my long-term commitment is quickly transitioning in to a short-term commitment.
  • With every layer of public commitment a new layer of of opportunity has emerged. Doors of opportunity in the new adventure are opening. The hand of God is revealed when you commit.
  • We’ve experienced vacillation between excitement and anxiety.

Every major life change is accompanied by chaos and anxiety. How can you manage the chaos, stress, and anxiety that comes with exciting new adventures or with the change of unexpected or undesired changes or tragedies? Even in our day to day lives just simply trying to accomplish something of significance, chaos and stress are a part of the equation. Why is that and how can we manage the chaos and anxiety and stay focused on joyful living?

Chaos is the Path to Transformation [11:36]

When we lost our spouses, our lives spun into anxiety and chaos. It was a major disruption in a bad way. Our step into our great adventure and exciting future is also a major disruption. It is creating chaos in our lives, but our clearer hope is that this chaos leads to good things.

Your status quo does not change for the good without chaos. The way things are, the comfort zone, the way you’ve always done it, your well worn paths must be disrupted before new paths and opportunities can emerge.

Simply, there is not a path to desired transformation that does not involve disruption. This is why people have different risk tolerances and this is why some can climb to new summits and others find great joy and peace by settling in the valley and watching the sun set behind the summit. Its not that one scenario is better than the other, but to stand on the summit is going to involve some chaos.

What causes us to engage the chaos?

I often think of the book, Leading Change, by John Kotter. He claims one of the things necessary for prompting and leading change in an organization is creating a sense of urgency. We have to feel the destination to be enough better than the status quo that we will accept the disruptions and the costs of the change to press forward.

We have to disrupt something in our lives to experience the new. Old things have passed away and all things have become new.

How Can You Manage the Anxiety Associated with the Chaos?

Chaos and disruption cause anxiety.

As we’ve laid the path for our next adventures we’ve felt a mix of joy, excitement, and anxiety. It’s like disciple Peter getting out of the boat to walk on the water with Jesus. When he took his eyes off Jesus he began to sink. There is the excitement of all of the things that might happen, and there is the anxiety for all of the things that might happen.

We learned this through the intense pain of grief recovery. One day, early on in my grief recovery, I realized that a mildly stressful routine phone call caused me to have a melt down and I had to leave the office and go home. I feared this was my new normal. I questioned why such a simple and mildly stressful call caused me to melt down.

I realized that grief and stress are very similar. I was near my maximum capacity for stress and anxiety. Living near my maximum capacity for stress, the smallest stressors put me over the edge and caused me to start shutting down. My emotions simply could not handle even a slight increase in my stress levels. I learned to manage my stress on a new level to keep the stress gauge away from maximum capacity.

Stress and anxiety affect you according to how much of it you are already carrying and according to your maximum capacity for stress. That threshold is different for all of us. You can learn to feel the physiological symptoms, and when you feel those symptoms you have to dial the stress levels back. In the grief recovery process, which caused astronomical stress levels, I sometimes had no alternative but to flee. You cannot live your life-like that, but there are times that you just need to get yourself out of a situation before you melt down.

So, the better option to managing anxiety and stress is to keep your operating level at a manageable level so you can withstand sudden spikes.

Calibration Tools… Calibrating our Lives and Lifting Those We Love and Lead [23:14]

Here are some ways to manage your anxiety levels:

Rest. You replenish your anxiety to cope with chaos and disruption when you rest properly.

  • Get enough sleep at night, which is probably a minimum of 7 hours more often than not.
  • Have a “quiet-time” block daily where you can pray, reflect, journal, and gather your thoughts and take a breath.
  • Take one day a week off, and for my entrepreneurial friends, that means a 24-hour unbroken period of refreshing.
  • Reserve one day a week for personal business so you are not overwhelmed on your day off.
  • Take a long weekend once a quarter.
  • Take a 2-week vacation annually that is focused on refreshing and replenishing.
  • Consider a 8 to 12 week Sabbatical every 7 years if possible.

One book we recommend that expresses very well the concept of keeping you emotional tank from becoming drained is Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro.

It’s a challenge to consistently find time for recharging, but I have managed these things and it fills my emotional tank so I can withstand greater chaos necessary for next level living.

Refreshing. We’ve already talked about rest, but we need to live at least part of our lives in our passion zone doing the things that we are excited about. This is part of our great adventure, positioning ourselves to live more in our passion zone and a little less in our drudgery zone.

  • What activities drain you and what activities fill you up? Just observe how different activities make you feel. Balance your life so that you do enough tasks that fill you to keep the things that cause anxiety from completely draining you.

Relationships. Which relationships are like an oasis to you? Seek refreshing and refilling from those relationships.

Physical activity. It seems counter intuitive, but physical exercise gives you more energy. Physical exercise melts stress. I found that exercise and going for a run during my grief recovery significantly lowered my stress levels.


We are off and running on a new and great adventure. When I think about finances and resources and all of the things we have to do, anxiety and stress starts to rise. We’ve caused chaos in our lives. This is going to be a major disruption to our lives. For things to become new in our lives, old things must pass away, and that causes anxiety.

To manage the stress and anxiety of this latest disruption in our lives, we have to keep the overall stress level contained through rest, spiritual exercise, physical exercise, and regular emotional renewal.

We will not eliminate the chaos, in fact, we have to fuel the chaos. We will not eliminate the disruption, we must embrace it. We will not eliminate the anxiety that comes with leaps of faith and risk necessary to get to the summit, but we must live our lives in such a way as to manage the anxiety in a healthy way so we don’t blow a fuse.

Whether it be painful things or joyous things that are creating anxiety and stress in your life, remember, you’ve got to manage those levels so you do not blow a fuse and so you can press beyond the tough stuff and experience the joy of living, leading, and loving.

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