Managing Anxiety During Extraordinary Times

An Interview with Dr. Joseph Byrne


On April 23rd, James sat down with Dr. Joseph Byrne, an award-winning Psychologist, and the CEO of Executive Function to provide advice to wealth professionals on anxiety.

We covered key topics including:

  • What is Anxiety?
  • Is Anxiety Normal?
  • What Drives Anxiety?
  • How do you Manage Anxiety for your clients and you?

Key Takeaways

Anxiety = Uncertainty – Locus of Control

  • Anxiety is a basic human emotion. It’s the feeling of fear and apprehension.
  • Anxiety is a normal. It’s typically a reaction caused by new or unfamiliar situations, loss or impending loss, and uncertainty.
  • To reduce anxiety, Take Control, or give yourself the feeling of control.
  • Use information to take control: Use reliable sources when reading about COVID-19.
  • Use structure to take control: if working at home, wear business casual, ‘go to work’ at a regular time, have a coffee break. Schedule as many (virtual) appointments as feasible.
  • Use psychology to take control: schedule (virtual) time with family, friends, people you like to be around. Don’t dwell on uncertainty or or other fears associated with COVID-19. Commit to make 1-3 positive comments every day, complementing others, and introducing positivity into your day to day.

When Working With Clients

Reassure clients. Individuals who are anxious may themselves experience reduced anxiety when they encourage others to relax.

  • Acknowledge Anxiety is Normal
  • Acknowledge the high degree of uncertainty based on COVID-19
  • Acknowledge the magnitude of the issues.
  • When a client is anxious, your intuition will be to try to make them feel better. This is good, but make sure that you do not promise or offer anything you can’t deliver or justify. With heightened anxiety, clients will have a long memory if they feel like they weren’t helped.

When anxiety is high, avoid making important decisions.

About Joseph Byrne

Dr. Byrne a respected consultant with 38 years of clinical practice and 28 years of administrative practice in both the private and public health and business sectors. Dr. Byrne’s current management consultancy focus is on the Psychology of Decision Making and on Ethical Leadership. Dr. Byrne is a published author, and the recipient of numerous professional awards in Canada and the USA.

About Executive Function

Executive Function is a strategy and research consulting firm, whose mission is to assist leaders in solving their most challenging problems from conflict resolution, change management, and personnel management, to strategic and logistics planning, program implementation, and organizational ethics and operations.