Worry is a misuse of imagination.

In August, my family and I are going to a dude ranch.

It’s a place I’ve been to before, and I have fond memories of the times I spent there with my parents and my older kids.

But it’s been 20 years since I went, and none of the people I’m going with this time came with me the last time.

I have no idea what’s changed there in 20 years!

Maybe this is going to be a disaster! It’s a hot summer. Dusty horse trails in unbearable heat could be miserable.

Yikes, maybe I’ve made a terrible mistake.

“Worry is a misuse of the imagination.” ~ Steve Chandler

Do you see how in 4 short paragraphs, I went from looking forward to taking my family to a place where I’ve had a wonderful time in the past to imagining how it could be a disaster?

I hear this kind of toxic imagination happening all the time as I talk to agency founders.

  • I spent hours in interviews with this candidate, and they were clearly the best option for the role, but at this salary, they better spin straw into gold! They’ll never be worth it.
  • We’ve spent a month reworking our project management process to be ready for just this type of new client, but now that we landed them, I can see all the ways it can still go wrong.
  • Our new business plan has been hitting on all cylinders, we’ve been extremely busy for months, but the economy is changing. Will it all come crashing down?

A leader’s job is to anticipate and pay attention to the leading indicators and understand where the wind is blowing.


The more we spend time focused on the future, the less awareness we have of what’s going on right now.

So maybe I need to bring along a deck of cards or a board game in case the weather is hot, and the trails are sweaty, but the ranch is a beautiful place that has given us a lot of enjoyment over several visits. I will focus on listening to the folks I’m bringing on this trip and see what they look forward to.

Where are you misusing your imagination right now? How can you get back into the present?

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