Thoughtscape: Thoughts and Tips from Mike Clayton


Issue 10

  Eliminate Anxiety:
Seven ways to take control of fears
    News and views



Dear %1

In a recent survey by Buck Consultants, it emerged that stress is the primary concern of UK employers, regarding their employees’ health, with 72% of the respondents being concerned about stress. The publication of Brilliant Stress Management tomorrow is clearly timely. 

One of the biggest causes of stress is anxiety and, like all causes of stress, the best way to deal with it positively is to find a way to take control.  Let’s take a look at seven ways that you can eliminate areas of anxiety in this way.

1. Make a List
When you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, the first step is to make a list of all of the things that are bothering you. Seeing them on paper, confined to the lines of a page, will immediately strip them of some of their power.

2. Evaluate the Risk
Strip away even more power by objectively evaluating the risk associated with each thing that concerns you. Ask:

“How likely is this to really happen?
If it does happen, how much of a threat does it really pose?
And, if it does pose a serious threat,
how long have I got to prepare?”

Often the biggest threats are either likely or serious: rarely both.

3. Make a Plan
Now ask: “what can I do?” This is where you assert maximum control. Plan how you can respond to each worry, to defer the threat, mitigate the impact, or diminish its likelihood. Also consider who can help you, and bring in reinforcements.

4. Stay on Top Form
At times of stress or anxiety, your immune system’s effectiveness can dip and your reasoning can diminish. So take care of your physical and mental health, with a combination of good relaxation and plenty of sleep, exercise and fresh air, and a healthy diet.

5. Own up to your Fears
There may still be things you fear. Confront them: admit that they are a problem and assert yourself and your will over them. Picture the thing you fear as an image in your mind’s eye. Imagine that this image is on a TV set – a small portable. Now turn the contrast down to make the image fuzzy and turn the colour down to make it washed out and grey. Now picture the TV moving away from you and the image diminishing until – Pop!- the cable snaps and the image disappears.

6. An Anxiety shared…
Talking about your anxieties with a trusted friend will help you get things into perspective. It will also give you a feeling of support – an ally to stand with you. If this is too uncomfortable to do without increasing your anxiety, try writing down your worries and share them with a notebook. Imagine that your closest friend or wisest acquaintance could read them calmly: what would they advise you?

7. Serenity
Reinhold Niebuhr’s “Serenity Prayer” urges us to change the things we can, and accept the things we cannot change. You may be anxious, or even fearful, but if there is truly nothing that you can do, accept the possible future as your fate, and move on from it – even before it happens. Don’t dissipate emotional and physical energy fighting a battle you cannot win. Instead, look for “what next?” as a new arena in which to exert control.

Brilliant Stress Management is out tomorrow,
and I notice Amazon has already processed some pre-orders.  Learn more about Pearson's marketing campaign for the book in the news and views column on the right.

See for details, or buy from Amazon.

 The first three strategies are fundamental risk management.  For more on managing project risk look for my new book, "Risk Happens! Managing Risk and Avoiding Failure in Business Projects".
Out now. 

See for details,
or buy from Amazon.


Not a lot of People know that...

One of my favourite weekly tasks is to write an article for the Management Pocketbooks blog: "The Management Pocketblog".  This gives me an opportunity to read up on any management related topic, and write about it in any way I choose.  Recently I have focused on business strategy, and some of my favourites include:

·         On Competition: Five Forces

·         R.I.P. Corporate Clone: Arise Insightful Executive

·         What makes good business strategy?

·         Does Management Performance Increase Profits?

·         How to Understand your Toddler

I'm very proud of the work I have done, building up the blog.  It now represents a strong archive of articles about management (currently over 80, with a new one each week).  It's getting nearly a thousand view each month.

Time Management Articles on
Top Business Sites

I am also pleased that my articles on time management are starting to appear on some of the most prestigious business websites:

  • has
    "How to Conquer Procrastination"

  • SMEweb has "Overcome Overwhelm"

  • bytestart has "How to successfully manage your time via the OATS method"

If you know of any high quality site that would like an article, do let me know.

See for more details, or buy a copy from Amazon.



Stress Management

Brilliant Stress Management is published tomorrow.  In September, it will be Brilliant Book of the Month at WH Smith travel bookshops, so if you are flying around the UK, you should see it on sale.  It is my sixth book.

Brilliant Stress Management
Order Here

Risk Happens!

Risk Happens!
Managing Risk and Avoiding Failure in Business Projects

Risk Happens! is selling well.  If you are one of the many people who have enjoyed one of my Project Management seminars or training courses, here is you chance to get more of my ideas, focused on the crucial area of risk management.

Order Here

Risk Happens! is accessible to new project managers, yet has tools and resources that will give experienced hands new ideas too.  It includes 60 invaluable tables and checklists, and 57 figures and diagrams. There is a full list on the Risk Happens! website, along with free downloads of risk management tools.

Risk Happens!
Launch Offer
If you or one of your contacts book me to speak at an event, on project management or project risk - either a keynote or a seminar - before the end of August, I will provide 20 free copies of Risk Happens! for you and your attendees.

Either call me on 08456 441349, or use the contact form on my website.

Brilliant Project Leader will be my next book, with publication in December.  This is a wider amplification of much of the material in my Practical Project Management Seminar.

Brilliant Project Leader
6 December


Stronger Impact
Colleague Angela Marshall of Appearance Management and I had a great planning session, and our one-off seminar in October is really taking shape:

How to Make a Stronger Impact
when Selling and Presenting

It will be from 9am to 1pm on 4 October, at Fetcham Park House in Surrey.  I will speak on business influence and how to present a persuasive argument, and Angela will explain how having the right professional image and business etiquette will give a great boost to your profile.

You will also get complimentary copies of my book, Brilliant Influence, and Angela's book, Being Truly You in the men's or women's edition.

More information and booking alternatives are on the Stronger Impact website, or on LinkedIn.


September Seminar Dates
We have added three extra dates for my new seminar, The Three-hour MBA (afternoons) along with
Brilliant Time Management (mornings), in September.  These are on:

  • 14 September: London
    RIBA in Portland Place

  • 22 September: Manchester
    Renaissance Hotel

  • 29 September: Birmingham
    Copthorne Hotel

I will also be in London on 28 September, with with Practical Project Management (morning) and Risk Happens! Control Risk and Avoid Failure in Organisational Projects (afternoon)

I have added a calendar to my website, where you can see all of the dates, and you can book by calling 01227 252100.


My focus this year ...
... is on writing, responding to press enquiries, and new speaking engagements.  If you know a conference organiser who is looking for an engaging speaker with great testimonials, please do send them to my website:  If you need a speaker now, just contact me using the links below, or the contact form on my website.  You can download my speaker pack here.

Best regards


I recognise you get a lot of email and I don't want to add unwanted inbox clutter.  I intend to give useful tips and thoughts, but if you don't wish to get any more, I will understand, so just click the "no more emails" link and they'll stop.

Many thanks

    Please contact me ...
... Tel: 08456 441349
... on Twitter @mikeclayton01

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© Mike Clayton, 2011