Facing big challenges? Anxious you might not seize an opportunity, or that people and personalities might get in the way?

There are some things in working life you can’t fix or tackle until the right moment comes; so rather than worrying, sometimes it’s best to save your energy and trust yourself to perform ‘in the moment’ and do what is needed when it’s needed.

But when other people are agitated or agitating, it can be hard to take your time or leave a problem to ‘ripen’. People can think you’re ‘ducking it’.

One answer is caring a little less about work. It’s good to care and important to work hard, but if work is all-consuming you lose a bit of perspective. If you worry too much or try to arrange and fix things too tightly – especially around people – it often backfires.

Saying what you’re thinking, not worrying so much about being right, asking for help and admitting to uncertainty and occasional inconsistency all helps. Owning up to being a real person usually works like a treat.

The thing to avoid is ‘curling’ – the sport with the stones on ice where you polish and polish and polish the ice furiously with what looks like a garden brush to get your stone to the target.

Too much fussing, brushing and polishing of an issue usually creates problems. Sometimes it’s better to ten pin bowl: say what you think and clean out a few skittles.

The conclusion is, sometimes by caring a bit less at work you can be a lot more effective, more spontaneous, less anxious, more authoritative, and more able to seize the moment. You’ll also have a lot more mental energy left for life and loved ones at the end of the day.

Here’s a quick list of problems you’ll suffer fewer of by caring a little less about work:

  • Gripping things too tightly
  • Being anxious
  • Focusing on what you might lose not what you could gain
  • Having to drive people towards things because you’re not attracting people to them
  • Running down your batteries
  • Sweating the detail
  • Overdoing things
  • Interfering
  • Being seen to meddle
  • Taking the responsibility away from where it lies
  • Confusing people
  • Strobing (rapid jerky interventions with no linking narrative)
  • Appearing tricksy or political
  • Guessing or assuming, not asking
  • Overpreparing
  • Not seizing the moment

Best of all though you’ll simply feel better; and that’s reason enough.