Fear changes who you are. It changes how you act. It affects your disposition towards others.
Today, I am headed into the start of what will be two very painful and two very full days of closed door meetings. The execs will be hammering me relentlessly trying to get me to commit to a sales forecast number for the quarter. This is never fun and it is never easy. I think I would rather be tied naked to a post and publicly whipped!
The thought of these meetings has hung over me like a dark cloud the last few days and the stress has made me grumpy and irritable. When you get put into an uncomfortable position it bothers you doesn’t it? This is how I have been feeling.
It wasn’t till 5:30AM this morning, the day of the meetings, that I realized I had been grumpy for no reason. I was lucky enough to have the hotel gym all to myself and time to reflect. During my workouts I meditate and in this calm state I realized I was basically scared. I was simply afraid. Not overly to the point of being a wimp mind you but enough to turn me into a sourpuss. I told myself not to fear the future and I instantly felt better.
The truth is I can walk into this meeting completely at ease because I had all of my facts down cold. I had studied and prepared and have tons of experience to fall back on. I have been in these meetings before. I know how they turn out. What shocked me the most is that I had forgotten this. I let the stress get to me and it changed my disposition.
Fear and stress change who you are and how you act. You may not even realize as I did, that you are afraid. It can lurk deep down and fester. If you are feeling overly grumpy today take a second and ask yourself if it is based on fear. Telling yourself not to be afraid will work wonders.
Don’t be afraid. Go forth and conquer!
I have been sidelined for a few weeks by a crushing workload and a ton of stress. The stress has been killing my motivation. All I have been wanting to do is get out from under all this work and escape. Blogging / writing was simply not in the cards.
So how do I turn things around and get out from this malaise and this despair? I see no end in sight to the amount of work I have and the amount of B.S. at work I have to deal with. Do I quit my job? Do I tell my boss what to do with himself? How do I turn things around so I am not so stressed and blue?
The simple is answer is this: I need to do is go back and pull up my game plan, reread it and refocus my efforts towards checking off the boxes in the plan. If I do not move the needle towards a better life I get depressed. If I do not check off items in my game plan I get stressed. So to lower my stress I need to act. I need to get those boxes checked! I need to get that needle moving and I need to get closer to my dreams!
The first step in turning around a blight in motivation or an increase in depression is to act. Take out your game plan, reread it, find a task that should be easy enough to do and go after it!
Action takes courage. To act means you are no longer trying to escape. You are able to get things done despite all of the stress and despair bearing down on you. You are strong, you are bold, you are driven. You are not weak and cowardly. Escapism is not a solution but action is. Action will get you to your dreams and action takes courage. Sitting on the couch is certainly a less risky alternative at least in the short term but is that you? Are you a couch sitter or are you one who can get things done? Ask yourself if you have the courage to act.
For me, I need to constantly remind myself that work will always suck unless I do something about it. Stress will always be there and I will have bouts of depression from time to time. My game plan was designed to either solve or work around these issues and I tend to forget this.
Don’t have a game plan? Get to work on it right away. List your ultimate dreams and begin breaking down all the steps you need to take to reach these dreams. In big bold letters right at the top of this list: “Action is courage!” because getting in your way is your own lazy, fearful, stressed self!
Today, I want you to act.
For more motivational secrets read my book.
Stress is the number one killer of energy and happiness and I believe it is the number one reason why people carry a few extra pounds. Personally, I devote too much energy towards workplace stress, and I let it get to me far too much. I have a jerk-off for a boss, a bunch of clueless co-workers, and an angry group of customers I deal with each and every day. I am basically in workplace hell. Does this sound familiar to you?
First and foremost stress deserves attention. Stress is a survival technique and so exists for a purpose. In our day and age workplace stress is usually a big factor in our overall happiness. Our jobs are too important to us and because of this importance we safe guard it. Stress is a sign that what we hold dear is under attack. Whether we are overreacting or not is a different story.
Workplace stress will always be there and the severity of which is not always in your control. A new issue pops up and your boss turns into a lunatic and by translation turns you into one as well. Your first step is to have a pre-built response technique that will allow you to weather the first bouts of the storm. You need to have some mechanism to remain calm. What is your knee jerk reaction to an issue? I suggest the following steps:
1) Go into listen mode. When emotions run high the best thing to do is bite your tongue. No smart decisions are ever made while in an emotional state. By showing that you are listening the stressed people around you may calm down.
2) Think surrender versus offense. Immediately going on the offense is akin to going nuclear. You cannot pull back the missiles once you have launched them. It is always better to quietly weather the storm even if you know you are in the right. Keep in mind there are always two sides to every issue. By going into surrender mode you are taking steps to diffuse the issue versus ignite it.
3) Make sure you understand the issue. More often than not stress is caused by some form of miscommunication. Say to yourself “Perhaps he/she just doesn’t understand…” Take the time to understand as much as you can. Ask questions that are simple to answer and try not to let the barbed questions get out.
4) Don’t try to immediately solve the problem. Chances are the issue is much more complex and not likely to be solved with a snap of the finger. By oversimplifying the issue the stress may be reflected backwards onto your co-workers and will eventually come back to bite you.
Once you survive the initial bout of stress you need to fall back on the basics to survive the ensuing chaos.
- Ask yourself if your are overreacting. Often times things like e-mails can be misinterpreted. Is this even an issue?
- Tell yourself you have this job for a reason. You are good at it and uniquely qualified for it. Remind yourself of the value you bring to the company. Your primary responsibility is always to make sure your boss AND your peers understand the value that you bring to the organization.
- Stress is a part of every job. You should expect it. Stress can also be cyclical and certain parts of the year more stressful than others. Life isn’t always roses and therefore you need to devote some of your energy to handling stress. Being unprepared is not an excuse.
- Finally, we all make mistakes. Yes, you could be flat out dead wrong. It happens. Trying to understand all of the ramifications of this will make you even more stressed. Begin to talk about solutions quickly versus dwelling on the past. Let it go.
Recognize that there will always be some form of workplace stress and to improve the quality of your life you should expend some energy on preparing for it. If you cannot get past the stress despite all of your efforts then chances are something much bigger is at play. Perhaps your attitude and your employer simply don’t jive? Life is too short and may be time to move on. Change can be good.