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The Theory Of Dead Webinars

I’m going to go on a rant.

Maybe it’s one too many of Sam Oven’s “webinars are dead” ads, but I need to say something about the theory of dead webinars.

It’s an easy thing to say (and believe). Especially when:

  1. Notable Internet Marketers are claiming it
  2. Show up rates for live webinars are at an all time low
  3. Facebook is denying webinar ads more frequently
  4. People can’t get their webinars to convert

The logical conclusion is…they don’t work anymore and it’s time to do something new.

Here’s why that’s a TERRIBLE conclusion.

It’s time to redefine a webinar, because we all are carrying ideas about what a webinar is (and isn’t).

There are a few things COMMON with webinars that absolutely should die…

  • 30 minute origin stories
  • 45 minutes of fluff before the meat
  • Bait & switch headlines
  • Unoriginal hacked secrets that are overused
  • Fake live webinars that are clearly not happening in real time
  • Staged testimonials
  • High pressure sales
  • Hype-y style personality transformations just to get in “state” to convince people to buy

That can all die and I would be just fine. And frankly, these are the reasons that Facebook is denying more webinar ads and people aren’t showing up. They are coming to EXPECT this sort of nonsense.

But really, if we redefine the word “webinar” as an online presentation, now it sounds awfully silly to say they are dead.

Why? Because…

  1. Video is the fastest growing medium on the Internet. Look at YouTube. It’s still gaining traction at a crazy pace. Then there’s IGTV, Facebook Watch, etc. Video is not going anywhere. ????
  2. The Internet is still the best and most lucrative place to advertise your business’ products and services. Anyone want to go back to billboards and direct mail? Yea, didn’t think so. ????
  3. Presentations are still a valid way to communicate information. I guess you could also mime or do some interpretative dance to communicate your point. ????

Online presentations are a FANTASTIC way to teach, define, and sell. Online presentations along with written versions of that presentation are doubly powerful.

So why would anyone write off the single most powerful way to communicate to 1, 10, 100, or 1000 people? Why would you write off video, the Internet, and the logical sequencing of information because maybe yours happens to not be converting, or some Internet Marketer is trying to throw rocks for his own gain?

If I flip this script for a second, I’m going to say this….

The people who become MASTERS at the online presentation, the people who go deep in understanding the psychology of a presentation, the sequencing of information, the way to build rapport with an audience…those are the people that are going to make as much money as they want while the rest of the masses go off in search of a new shiny object.

Here are some of the ways learning how to create and craft a great webinar helps you in the long run…

It helps you write sales copy.

Yup. You can turn a webinar into sales copy in a hot minute. In fact, in a bunch of our current webinars, we are turning the online presentation into a readable version for people who prefer to read. If you don’t want to write sales copy, write a webinar and turn it into a sales letter.

It helps you figure out how to create mini-series with several steps, secrets, or methods that you roll out on social media.

Whether you’re rolling out a new series on IGTV, a new podcast, or even just a bunch of Facebook posts, have you ever broken a webinar down into sections and used it for content strategy? Stephen Larsen did this with his podcast launch and called it a Sideways Webinar (each podcast episode was a piece of the webinar so that over six or so episodes, you got the whole webinar).

The same goes with the Product Launch Formula from Jeff Walker. He advises you release three videos prior to opening the cart to your offer. Video one is part one of your webinar. Video two is part two. Video three is part three.

It helps you figure out how your offer fits in the market.

I guarantee if you sit down to write a webinar BEFORE you create your next product, your product will be better after working on the online presentation than before. The actual act of creating a presentation puts you in the unique position of looking at your sales message from both the angle of the seller and the buyer right? You’re trying to create a presentation your prospects will love. That dual angle of looking at things gives you a 360 view that allows you to see your blindspots.

In fact, I just wrote a webinar the other day – even while the offer was still foggy. By the time I was done with the webinar, EVERYTHING I had questions about became clear.

Webinars aren’t even close to dead, but you may need the following…

  • It might be time to get creative with HOW you use tried and true formulas like The Perfect Webinar.
  • It also might be time to see that the master presenters learn how to create powerful webinars in the context of a formula, but NOT STUCK TO IT.
  • It might be time to learn new methodologies for drumming up buzz and anticipation, getting people to stay and watch, and ultimately, buy.
  • It might be time to lean into your natural personality and brand, instead of trying to “become” like someone, thinking that is the key to selling (it isn’t).

If your webinar is not converting, it’s an easy out to decide that webinars are dead and it’s time to go hunt for the next shiny object. Which is cool if you want to create an interpretative dance and put it on a digitally rendered billboard, but I would gently suggest to reframe the webinar as an online presentation and decide…

Maybe it’s time to study new ways to create compelling content that moves people to buy!

xx Julie

P.S. Webinar Gorgeous is launching June 10th, and this blog post is a pre-cursor to the training that will be coming when Webinar Gorgeous launches. I’m tired of watching people stay stuck in formulas that don’t fit them, and if we all just make better presentations, then the old crappy webinar we’re all tired of…will in fact die. Without a funeral. Good riddance.

Julie Chenell

The Deliberate Mental Shift You Need To Make That Stops The Bad Habit Of Over Organizing

When I was a little girl, I hated Saturday mornings with a vengeance. Mom would wake us up and proceed to hand out to each of us, a white index card filled with the day’s chores.

‘Sorting socks’ always seemed to land on mine, and it was annoying as hell. The whole family’s worth of socks would be in one big basket, and it was my job to sort and match them all. No matter how fast I went, it still took forever.

So when I found myself as an adult sorting my kid’s socks, I started to wonder, “How can I stop doing this….forever?”

Turns out…I could.

And no, it didn’t mean handing the chore off to the kids.

I figured out a way to think differently about socks.

First, I bought each kid a different brand of sock. Adidas for Evan, Nike for Ellie, and Hanes Her Way for Eden.

Next, I found this cute shoe bench for the front room. The seat opened up and had storage underneath.

I literally just dumped all the clean socks into the shoe bench.

Instead of folding socks, matching socks, putting them away in drawers, I kept the large pile of unmatched socks in a storage compartment RIGHT next to the shoes. Whenever one of the kids would go outside, they’d run to the front room, open the bench, grab two of their brand of sock, put it on, put their shoes on, and go.

I got even smarter as time went on, and had a little basket for the dirty socks too. That way when they came in to take off their shoes, they could take off the socks and throw them right there. I bought enough socks to fill the bench so every kid had way more than enough, and the whole thing became a self-contained system. Grab the basket of dirty socks. Wash. Dry. Throw back in the bench.

What used to cost me so much time and aggravation, was virtually eliminated.

I made the mental shift from “Socks are clothes” to “Socks are a part of shoes”.

Deliberate Mental Shifting

There are so many things in our lives and businesses that we just “assume” we need to do. We don’t stop and observe how social pressure or the “normal” way to do something might actually be flawed, or altogether unnecessary. In just my last post, I explained how I mentally shifted the idea of the morning routine because it wasn’t really as productive as I thought.

If you were to go through your daily tasks, I bet there are evidences of what I call “over organization”. Matching socks is an example of this. It appears organized. It satisfies our OCD. It’s also a complete waste of time. Here are some ways in your business in which you might be over organizing and tricking yourself into thinking you’re being productive:

  1. You spend all day creating a complicated filing system on your Google drive or your inbox even though you know you won’t be able to stick to it and eventually your downloads folder will look like a bomb went off.
  2. You spend all day setting up a new system on Trello or Asana or some other program thinking this will solve your issue of disorganization (forgetting that you’ve done this three or four or five times already).
  3. You have created 17 Google calendars all with different colors and labels to keep track of every task you need to do.
  4. Your content strategy plan includes turning every podcast episode into 85 different quote memes for Instagram because you’re supposed to be everywhere all the time.
  5. When it’s time to create your course or write your book, you find you’re spending 95% of your time block working on your outline.

Some of you might be reading this and laughing because there is NO semblance of over organization in your life at all right now. Even if that’s true, this principle of mental shifting is still important to understand because I find that the most disorganized of people tend to revert to the “strictest” of systems and rituals in an attempt to control their distracted mind.

It also stands to note that you might not notice this rigidity in your business, but it might be showing up in other areas.

  1. Are you the kind of person who gravitates towards diet methods that include weighing and tracking your calories, macros, whatever? When you’re about to start a new plan, you clean out your fridge, buy all the new perfect foods, and then organize them with exacting perfection in your fridge?
  2. When you go to clean a room, do you get lost in ONE drawer and find that three hours in, you’re now organizing all the old photos by year and month?

The key to spotting this behavior in yourself is to look at where you feel the most out of control.

Since we’re wired for symmetry and order, when we feel the opposite of it in our lives and businesses, we tend to grab onto any methodology that promises to put it ALL back in order. It gives you a feeling of control. That is a powerful feeling, but what has really happened? The control you want over that issue is now not really in your hands, it’s locked into the rigidity of a new routine that now takes TIME to keep up with.

Let’s unpack this with one thing we all have…. an inbox.

Deliberate Mental Shifting With Your Inbox

There’s an understood belief for most people that says…Inbox zero = organized.

We laugh and joke about the little red notifications on our phone that say 15,403 unread messages, and then feel enormous stress when we open up a disordered disaster of a Gmail.

In essence, we feel out of control.

What if there’s an important message I’m missing?

Then we launch into a three hour long research project looking at all the new apps and tools and methodologies to organizing our inbox. By the way, we probably also do this during our sacred time. It’s natural for this to happen because when we set aside time to clear our mind for the important work we want to do, it also creates a beautifully empty arena for every worry and insecurity and problem to come rushing in.

Back to the inbox.

  • Maybe you set up a tool like
  • Maybe you create all kinds of new filter rules.
  • Maybe you have 85 new folders to organize all your emails.

But three weeks later, you’re annoyed by cause some of your favorite emails are now going into that folder and you want them in your inbox. It’s hard to sort every message into a folder and with a zillion folders, it’s time consuming. The filter rules also caught a message you needed to see, and now you’re nervous that you’re missing stuff just the same as when you had a million emails in your inbox.

Time to think of a new system.

And round and round it goes.

Do you see how this causes so much additional work and mental bandwidth?

Let’s think about Gmail differently.

Truth #1 – Gmail is powered by Google. Which means, you can buy unending amounts of storage for like $10 a month. You don’t have to ever delete an email. Just hit archive. And…if you need to find it again, Gmail is also powered by the company that makes the BEST search tool on planet Earth, and you can just search with one keyword and it’ll pull up whatever you need.

Truth #2 – There’s really only ONE folder you need in your inbox, and that’s the ACTION NEEDED folder. A folder that tells you, “Hey! I need to answer the emails in this folder!” Once they are answered, you can archive. Long ago in 1992 your inbox was the action needed folder, but those times have come and gone. How bout each morning, you take three seconds, scan your emails – and just move the ones that need your attention into ACTION needed? Archive the rest, and then find a “non sacred time” to go through your action needed folder from bottom to top.

Truth #3 – You know the crazy inbox is bugging you. And mentally, you want it to feel clean. So…file email bankruptcy. Scan the first one or two pages of your inbox, archive everything and put only the important ones in ACTION NEEDED, and then make one new folder called “Email Bankruptcy”. Take your entire inbox and put it in that folder. Chances are, if you don’t have to go scouring in there for at least six months, you’re not missing anything important, and just hit ARCHIVE *not delete- remember truth #1*.

  • I’m rethinking the idea that I need to delete stuff (I don’t).
  • I’m rethinking the idea that I need a million folders (I don’t).
  • I’m rethinking the idea that I need to sort all 15,000 emails before I can have a clean inbox again (I don’t).

This could literally be done in the next 20 minutes, and then you’re off to the races.

Not only that, now that your inbox is clean, when new messages come in, you have a simple way to manage them. ARCHIVE, or ACTION NEEDED. That’s it. And you can go into your ACTION NEEDED folder once or twice a day and answer them.

Train your brain to HATE systems that take more time than is necessary and it’ll help you stop over organizing things. Even if it’s something like a content strategy plan that at first glance makes sense, maybe it doesn’t for you. If you’re busy creating scheduled posts that get no engagement, just stop doing them. Rethink why.

Sometimes just acknowledging that you feel out of control is enough to get your brain to stop and realize it’s a bad idea to cling to a system that’s going to be too hard to maintain. Your processes should work naturally with your personality, with the way you do things innately, and they should never consume more resources when your goal is to try to leverage time!

Hitting the 1 Comma Club With The $1k Facebook Ad Test (Case Study With Tatiana’s Funnel Boards)

As the Voxer message came through, I braced myself for a panicked message.

After all, this is what happens nearly 100% of the time. No matter how many times I prepare and warn my mastermind clients about the feeling of dropping $1000 in 72 hours on ads, all my reassuring words of advice and logic fly right out the window once the ads have been live for 24 hours. I’ve come to expect it, and know that it’s just part of the process.

But this particular morning, I was pleasantly surprised when Tatiana’s message came in (she’s given permission to be featured in this post by the way)…

Believe it or not, this is NOT normal. Usually, it’s more like this…”WHY AREN’T PEOPLE BUYING MY PRODUCT YET?”

I usually login to their account, pull up the stats and see something like:

  • Pageviews = 41
  • Sales = 0
  • Ad $$ Spent = $175

And then I begin my very calming reminder of why we wait 72 hours and $1000 before making ANY decisions about the funnel. By the way, if you haven’t listened to my podcast episode called “In Defense of my Controversial Facebook Ad Advice”  – you should listen. It goes into detail about my advice, why I give it, and what it produces when you do it that way.

But back to Tatiana…

She finally launched her funnel last week.

Important details to note:

  1. When my mastermind students want to launch something low ticket, I recommend a $27 to $37 front-end offer with NO lead magnet in front.
  2. Just a straight-up, GORGEOUS sales page (a la Funnel Gorgeous) to an offer that’s so juicy, I can’t even stand it.
  3. I make sure that their sales page checks off ALLLL the things on my sales page checklist (by the way, Tatiana’s is not complete by my standards yet, but I wanted to feature a real example, not a pretend perfect one).
  4. Once that’s done, I make sure there is an order bump and at least one OTO (I like the order bumps between $12-$37 and the OTO between $77-$97).
  5. Then, after testing and all that blah blah blah, we start the Facebook Ad Test.

What is The Facebook Ad Test?

For this type of offer, I want to spend $1000 in 72 hours…ish. About $333 a day.

Campaign Objective = PURCHASE

Yes, even on a new pixel. It’s scary, but we do it. Because you know what? It doesn’t make sense to dabble with ads. It’s just a waste of money (listen to my podcast). If your offer is good enough, it’ll convert usually at least 1 sale in three days at that price point. That’s what I’m looking for. Just any sign of life on planet funnel!”

You can do Campaign Budget Optimization or the old Ad Set Budget (which is sunsetting soon), but whatever you do, it’s about $300 a day or so….and it spans about 5-10 different audiences. If you have Lookalike audiences, DO THAT. But….whomp whomp, Tatiana has never run ads to an offer and has no list. So we had to do Facebook Interests Targeting.

Tatiana went after traditional entrepreneur audiences because her product are these insanely cool Trello boards that help you keep track of all 800 bazillion steps of funnel building. She knew people who liked Russell Brunson would like the boards.

Here’s the funnel thing: When you know you’re going to spend $1k in a few days, you make sure everything is working…way more carefully than if you dabble. The mindset shift is huge. She made a few ads and had all the ad sets compile onto the individual post IDs.

She was just about ready to go.

Then I got this Voxer message…

My response?

On Thursday at 9:59pm, she had two ads in review.

Not quite 24 hours later… this is what we had (about $130 in).

UNBELIEVABLY promising so soon in the campaign. Again, I’m looking for 1 sale per 100 people that see the offer. This is my benchmark to start. The test is designed to get data from Facebook, not to get rich in 5 minutes. Tatiana was excited!

The next day, the message I showed you at the top came in. $1k in sales in one day on $300 of ad spend.

Do you want to what’s hilariously funny?

The next day she only had one sale and turned off her ads. ???? I didn’t give her too much crap since she’d successfully completed her $1k test, but took a moment to remind her that you need to TRACK DAILY, DECIDE WEEKLY.

Never make ad decisions based on one day. Track the day, decide based on the week. It’s a golden rule of “Not going insane when running ads”.


What did her stats look like? Here’s the breakdown.

She had 745 people view the offer and 41 sales. That’s a buy rate of 5.5%. Which is VERY good.

Order bump is 9.9%. Already, super obvious this is the issue in her funnel. It should be above 20%.

Her OTO is KILLING it at 29%. I expect around 10% or so, so that’s amazing.

So at the end of her test, she had spent $1200 in ads which resulted in 24 sales with an average cart value of about $60.

She had an additional 17 sales from organic traffic sharing her product around, and also some of these were from the follow up sequence she created off the funnel. Note to self: Great offers get shared! 

What does she know now?

With a three day test with this much ad spend, she has so much important information she didn’t have before.

First, she has a validated offer…period. She NEVER has to worry again in the market wants it. They do. End of story.

She knows she needs a better order bump.

She needs to optimize the sales page per my checklist.

She needs to spend her time and energy on ADS. That’s the goal.

Isn’t that cool?

And even if she hadn’t had such a successful ad test (like MANY of my clients who don’t break even on the first shot), they at least get market validation.

This is why I advise the way I do. Go all in. Spend hard for a few days, make up your mind that you are paying for data, and get the data you need. Adjust and keep going. Please remember that this works best on a straight to sales page offer of $37 or less. There are other variables that come into play with different funnels. But the general rule is…

Stop dabbling, give it your best shot, and give your funnel the best chance of success!

xx Julie

P.S. I have another mastermind student who did this exact strategy and grossed over $85,000 last month. Too legit to quit. 🙂


Julie Chenell

How Your Morning Routine Might Be Hurting Your Productivity

I only have to swipe a few times through social media each day before I find someone talking about their sacred morning routine like it’s the magic elixir to the perfectly productive life.

The idea of a morning routine has been around forever, but in recent years, the obsession with it in the entrepreneur world especially has resulted in a  flood of podcast episodes, planners, and Instagram stories.

Everyone wants to have the best morning routine ever.

  • Meditation
  • Celery Juice
  • Workouts
  • Yoga
  • Journaling

Some even tout that the perfectly scheduled morning routine has radically transformed all of life.

I have to be honest. Some of these morning routines look like they require a 4am wakeup call or the bulk of the morning just to get it done! If you are trying to meditate, workout, journal, make a smoothie, shower, get ready, etc. all before 7am, well – have at it.

But I want to make a bold and radically controversial statement…

Most Morning Routines Are The Opposite Of Productive

Lots of people have asked me about my morning routine, and what it looks like. And I love to say, “I don’t have one,” and watch people stare at me with a combination of confusion and curiosity.

I don’t have a morning routine for a few reasons, that, if you’ll stick with me, might start to make sense. But first…

What is a routine?

A routine is simply a fixed set of steps or actions that are followed repeatedly and in sequential order. There are really two parts to a routine – the steps themselves, and the order they go in. This is an important distinction. Steps AND order.

When I say I don’t have a morning routine, I’m not saying that I don’t do similar actions each day. Because let’s face it – I do. I wake up. I go to the bathroom. I check my phone. I get dressed. That happens every day. But the ORDER of it changes depending on my mood, external factors, schedule, my sleep needs, etc. And most people who are boasting about a morning routine, aren’t talking about these steps anyway. They are talking about things like meditation, yoga, working out, smoothies, etc.

Before I launch into why I think the morning routine in its current form is a terrible idea, I need to give a big disclaimer. If you like your morning routine, skip the rest of this post. Just go with your awesome morning self and move on.

But if you’re struggling to be productive and you feel like there are never enough hours in the day, the problem might be hiding in your morning routine.

Why I Say No To A Morning Routine

First off, a morning routine often includes activities that I would not consider 100% brain activities (no idea what I’m talking about? Read my 100/50/10 system). Things like showering, getting dressed, working out, making smoothies, etc. None of them qualify as the sacred time activities I talked about in my earlier post. And yet, most morning routines are at a time of the day when:

  1. Your brain is in PEAK state
  2. You DO have control over the time since other family members are asleep

So many mom and dad entrepreneurs pull themselves out of bed at 5am and proceed to waste TWO hours of precious sacred time doing things they could easily do at another time of the day.

Secondly, a morning routine assumes that we humans are consistent. And it’s not just morning routines that assume this, most productivity products on the market forget the small fact that we are not robots, but humans with hormones and moods and kids that love to break ANY semblance of a routine they can. Because of this, when a routine can’t be followed, you’ll hear people say things like, “My day just got so messed up because I couldn’t get through my routine.”

The routine turns into a thermometer that sets up the person to either feel awesome or horrible depending on how many steps were accomplished. Funnily enough, if the routine hadn’t been there in the first place, the person wouldn’t have to battle feelings of failure in the first place.

I can hear you saying, “But what about my daily meditation! It’s so important to me!” or “I need to workout each day or I get nuts”. The good news is that you can KILL off the typical morning routine and still do all the things you need to do each day. And I’m going to show you how!

The Daily Evaluation

Okay so here’s the crucial first step. Identify your sacred time slots in your day. If the wee morning hours are part of your sacred time, take out everything you normally do during that time that doesn’t constitute a 100 task.

These are things like showering, making breakfast, and working out. All of these things can be done when kids are around OR…at a time during the day when you don’t need your PEAK brain power.

Some stuff might need a sacred time slot. Journaling and meditation for example. But…does it need a peak brain time slot or no? Let’s just say for a moment – what might your day look like if you meditated in the afternoon, or in the evening?

Next, look at the stuff that never seems to get done. Writing your book, finishing that project, starting that podcast you wanted to. Things that you schedule into the busy workday but always get CROWDED out by other interruptions.

You’re going to swap IN the important work that you’re putting off, and swap OUT the stuff like taking a shower or getting in your celery juice for the day.

Schedule Setting The Night Before

My solution to my human-ness is to simply set my schedule for the next day…the night before.

Rather than create a routine I can never stick to, I look at the current state of affairs in my house, my business, and my life, and take five minutes to plan what my next day looks like.

  • Sometimes that means I’m going to sleep in til 7 and use two hours of sacred time to get more shut eye.
  • Sometimes that means I’m going to put my laptop by my bed and wake up at 5am and write for 60 minutes before I even get up to get dressed or make tea.
  • Sometimes that means I’m going to wake up at 6am and record a podcast or two and take my daily walk later in the morning during a call I have with a client.

I will tell you that everyone who has ever stopped to think outside the box of what you could be doing in those typical morning routine hours of 5-7am, has felt a RADICAL difference in momentum.

When you release yourself from having to do the same thing in the same order each day, you eliminate the feeling of failure when it doesn’t work out the way you planned. Less mindset baggage equals more productivity because you have brain power to use on other things.

Here are some ideas for how I work in the typical “morning routine” stuff throughout the day.

  1. Unless I have a meeting first thing, I take a shower mid-day, not in the morning. I wait until I have a lull in my schedule, or I need to take a break and regroup, and use the shower as my “break”. If you work from home, this is such a good move – I love doing this!
  2. When I want to exercise, I wait til that slumpy afternoon time. My productivity and creative brain is dead, but I’m perfectly able to go outside and play a game of tag or soccer with William for 20 minutes.
  3. If I want to eat a breakfast that takes time to prepare, I do it around 8am, when everyone is up and running around. I cook breakfast and chat about the day with Alex, and I feel so relaxed because I’ve done some work already and feel like I’m ahead for the day.
  4. Meditation for me is something I want to call on when I’m stressed, not when I’m first awake and fresh. I don’t need it as bad as I need it after an email from an angry client or a call from my kid’s school. If the weather is nice, I usually take my lunch outside by this beautiful tree. I eat, and I lean back on the tree, close my eyes, and breathe.

Test The ‘Crush Your Morning Routine’ And Let Me Know!

Okay so in summary, here are the key points to remember.

You are not a robot.
Set your plan for the morning the night before. Flexibility actually helps you be MORE productive, not less.

Use the early morning hours of sacred time for things that require 100% of your brain.
Try the laptop near your bed idea I’ve used. Don’t do anything else but pick up your laptop the minute you wake up. Just set a timer for 60 minutes and see what you get done in that time. Go through the stuff that never gets done, and imagine what would happen if you tried to tackle it first thing.

Think outside the box.
The stuff that’s normally considered “morning-ish” actually works great at other times of day like a mid-morning break, lunchtime, the slumpy afternoon, or in the evening.

Release the baggage of success/failure of your morning routine.
It’s not helpful to have a long morning routine, that if not followed, makes you feel like the whole day is a wash. It’s such crap.

After you’ve tried it, let me know in the comments below what shifted for you!

xx Julie

Julie Chenell

How To Stop Worry From Crippling Your Productivity

Anyone trying to teach the art of a productive life, must include the study of worry as well.

A simple working definition of the word worry is to dwell on unpleasant thoughts, feelings, difficulties, or potential trouble. Humans worry about things that have already happened or might happen in the future, whereas anxiety is usually what you feel in your body when you’re worrying about something that is presently happening.

The #1 killer of productivity is worry. It paralyzes your critical thinking skills, floods the brain with warning signals, and like a magnet, attracts every random and possible additional worrisome thought within 100 miles.

If you’re trying to sleep, write, compose, study, or any other activity that requires concentration and some level of brain space, worry loves to rush in and attempt to steal the show.

So how do we stop the cycle of worry that leads to procrastination, self-sabotage, and medicating with distractions like Netflix and food?

It might seem counter intuitive, but it works.

We’re going to pick a time in our day to purposely worry.

The Worry Dump

The next time you feel that rising sense of dread, instead of trying to bat away the thoughts like flies, we’re going to give them a moment of respect and attention.

It’s important that you do this exercise completely (not missing any steps). You don’t give worry total control of your mind, heart, and time, but with careful boundaries, actually ALLOWING yourself to worry becomes the mechanism by which the thoughts pass through you instead of getting stuck inside you.

It starts with a little notebook and pen.

Step One: Sit down in a quiet place.

Step Two: Start free writing whatever comes into your head. If you can’t seem to start, just write this phrase…

“I’m worried I won’t be able to do this worry dump right.” LOL

Then observe the very next thought that hits you… is it, “That’s dumb. Who doesn’t know how to worry?” or maybe it’s, “I’m so worried that my worries will come flooding out and never end.” Whatever it is, don’t judge it. Just write it.

Step Three: Keep writing one line per worry.

“I’m worried that….”

“I’m worried that….”

and on…

Keep going until you feel a natural lull. Then push yourself back to the notebook and keep looking inside your mind. Are there any other worries hiding out in corners?

Step Four: Flush out every possible negative thought swirling in your brain. Get it out on the notebook. Lean in and push yourself to worry just a bit more.

This may take you five minutes or an hour. It depends on how much you’ve avoided or used denial to cover up worrisome thoughts. Once you feel that you’ve exhausted your worries, put your pen down and close your eyes.

Step Five: Take a few deep cleansing breaths. It’s possible you might be on the verge of tears, and that’s okay. You can cry and breathe at the same time.

At this point, one of two things will happen. For some of you who aren’t prone to worrying, that exercise might actually be enough to create the calm you need to get back into the creative mode.

For others of you that are professional worriers, you’ll need to continue onto the next few steps.

Step Six: Evaluate your worries. Run through the list and mark each one the following way:

  • For worries that are internal (i.e. I’m worried I’m fat), logically write down next to it the percentage of truth the statement actually has (100% if it’s so true that 100 people would say, yeah that’s right, all the way down to 0% – not one of the 100 people would agree with you)
  • For worries that are external (i.e I’m worried that my house might catch on fire), logically write down next to it the percentage of possibility that statement actually has (100% chance my house will burn down, down to 0% chance my house will burn down).

For thoughts that are too complex to categorize simply (i.e I’m worried that my business won’t make the money it needs to in order to send my kids to college), you’ll need to deconstruct them a bit more. That worry is really multi layered and could mean any (or all) of the following:

  1. I’m worried my business won’t make enough money
  2. I’m worried my kids won’t get the chance to go to school
  3. I’m worried I’ll feel so much pain if they miss out on this life opportunity
  4. I’m worried I’m a bad mom for not being able to pay for their school
  5. I’m worried my kids will live at home forever because they can’t get a good job

Cross out the ones that aren’t true, and then assign percentages to the ones that are true.

Step Seven: Segregate your worries.

You’re going to have a lot of them that are less than 50% chance of happening. Like a TON. In fact, and this is sort of left to interpretation, but pick a percentage you’re comfortable betting on. Is it 50%? 30%? If I look at the weather and it says 20% chance of rain, I’m reasonably confident it won’t rain. So I would choose 20%.

I would put all the worries that are OVER 20% in one pile and all the ones less than 20% in another.

Step Eight: Logically “worst case scenario out” the ones that are over your threshold.

Since I am looking at anything over 20%, chances are I’ll have a few in my bucket to logically deconstruct. Someone whose threshold is 60% might realize there’s nothing to actively worry about! You can end the exercise here if your brain feels calm enough to get back to productivity. But the idea is to go through the worst case scenario of every high threshold worry and rationalize how you would survive that situation.

Let’s look at something like…

“I’m worried I’ll feel so much pain if my kids miss out on going to college”. That worry was 100% true. I would in fact feel pain if they missed out on something. But logically, isn’t it normal to feel pain when someone we love is hurting? Sure! That’s not weird. That’s life. And then I can logically reason that there have been other times in my life I’ve felt pain on their behalf, and I survived each one. It wasn’t a matter of life and death. It was just uncomfortable. And I can go even as far as to say that I will have to face this pain multiple times in their life, whether it is my fault or not. And…many other moms and dads feel this way. I’m not alone. Then I might look at how them missing an opportunity actually opened a door to another one that made them really resilient!

By the time I’m done logically deconstructing this, the worry has INFINITELY less power.

Let’s try another one.

“I’m worried my business won’t make enough money.” I randomly categorized this one at 50% chance. One in every two businesses fail, so I figured those are the odds for me too. So it’s well over the 20% threshold so I have to go at it with worst case scenario thinking. Let’s say it doesn’t make enough money. What would I do next? I’d go find another job or business and try again. I might get into debt while I’m trying to get back on my feet. If my debt got high enough, I might even have to file for bankruptcy and live with my parents. I’d live at home and eventually my parents would pass on and maybe I would inherit their house. I might eventually find a job and get back on my feet. In no way do I end up homeless or dead.

Go through every worry in that high threshold pile and just hammer it out with logic.

Step Nine: Glance at your other pile of worries (the less likely ones).

After all that brain work, chances are the worries with 1%, 2%, 5% chances are so low, they won’t even seem so scary or hard anymore. It’s impossible for our brain to really watch every danger in life after all. Think about it. I’m sitting here writing this post (worrying it’s not good enough), but I’m not worried the plane is going to crash. Even though the woman next to me might be scared of crashing, no one can be worried about everything all the time. Which means, there are ways we are rationalizing other dangers away to keep the worries at bay.

Ever thought about how one person can be TERRIFIED to drive without a seatbelt on and the other person doesn’t even think about it? If the brain can’t worry about everything, then it’s clearly using a complex process to prioritize worries in order to keep the brain from shutting down in panic.

This exercise gets your worries out on paper, gives you a quick way to rate them in priority, and work through the worst case scenario to get to the other side.

Since you’ve done it with the “more likely” thoughts, it makes all the tiny less likely worries seem minuscule and unimportant, and your brain is able to push them down the list of priority.

Step Ten: Time to close your notebook and get back to whatever it is you were doing. You should feel a TON better. If a worry creeps in while you’re working, just jot it down in your notebook so you can focus on “worrying” about it later. That way the brain will feel reassured that you haven’t forgotten the danger, you’re just pushing it aside for the moment.

Some people need to do this everyday. Others only when it’s a really stressful season of life. Just remember this: Avoidance and denial often make our brain MORE persistent in reminding us of the danger. Give it just enough attention to destroy the worry with logic, and you’ll find yourself taking control of your thoughts in a new way.

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