Insights from The Progress Challenge: Working and Winning
by Dean Lindsay – Progress Agent
“When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘compared to what’?”
– Sydney Harris
In my work with sales and service organizations, the issue of stress is almost always front and center. I hear the horror stories from countless professionals in our workshops and in one-on-one coaching about how they feel overworked and overwhelmed (not to mention under appreciated and underpaid). How to deal with or relate to the stress of this high tech, low touch hyper-fast paced world is a vital, important and desperately needed topic to discuss. Is there a healthy Stress Pill?
I don’t mean to stress you out about stress but the crazy thing to consider is that WE are truly the ultimate cause of our own stress. It is our reaction to stressful stimuli that makes us ‘sick’, not the stimuli itself. We internalize to much of outside pressures which causes inside pressures.
This dear old world is full of ‘possible stressors’. Irate customers, indecisive prospects, spam, our slow computer, traffic, our kids, our co-workers, our co-workers’ kids, our families, our bosses and our employees all offer some of the nearly never ending stimuli to which we have the CHOICE of how to respond.
You control you.
You only control you.
Only you control you.
You control you only.
When we are stressed, we are choosing to respond to stimuli in a stressful way. I know this sounds simple. It is simple to understand (not always easy to act on but simple to understand). A major element in my company’s new success program, The Progress Challenge: Working and Winning, involves helping professionals take back control of their lives and careers by choosing to gain control of their thought processes and ultimately find ways to progress.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
– Marcus Aurelius
One major key is to know in advance positive ways to respond to the possible stressful stimuli. We need to keep a few Stay Cool Tools in our Life Tool Kits. Relieving stress is not the only key skill to master. Another vital and powerful skill is to relate to each stressor appropriately, so you do not have stress that needs to be relieved. Implementing “Stay Cool Tools” can be tough because they require practice and a new way of relating to stimuli.
“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.”
– Aesop, Fables
Ask yourself these questions:
– What am I allowing to stress me out?
– How can I be prepared for the possible stressors?
– Where is the humor in the situation?
– Can I DO something about the situation? Bet you CAN and if you can … DO IT. If you can’t, you gotta find ways to accept it. (I know it’s not easy to accept stuff that bugs you or is just plain wrong but you know you should. Check this: Stress Can Kill You!)
Here are 10 Stress Pill Tips for Working and Winning from The Progress Agents’ Progress Challenge:
Stress Management Tips 1. Invest Time in relaxing.
Read a book, listen to music, Breathe. Breathe again.
Stress Management Tips 2. Work to become more flexible in how you view problems and challenges.
Rigid thinking can cause stress.
Stress Management Tips 3. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep and try to get to bed at the same time each night.
Stress Management Tips 4. Eat healthy food (whatever that is this week – I hear some veggies may still be good for you) Give your body the ‘Right Fuel’ for life’s challenges. You need energy (and not the quick sugar rush of a honey-glazed donut).
Stress Management Tips 5. Be Assertive and Proactive to challenges.
Put Off putting off.
Stress Management Tips 6. Keep lines of communication open.
Stress Management Tips 7. Use the power of ‘No’.
You do not have to say ‘yes’ to every demand on YOUR time.
Stress Management Tips 8. Cut yourself some slack. None of us are perfect.
Wouldn’t we feel weird and out of place if we were.
Stress Management Tips 9. Have you heard about this new craze…They call it…
Please correct me if I am wrong… Regular exercise?
Of course you have and you know you feel better when you get a good workout in. I know it takes effort, time and some planning but even walking and light stretching feels good and can help you stay in control.
Stress Management Tips 10. Practice Positive self talk.
Yes, I am talking about affirmations. When I realized that I was going to passionately encourage people to focus on affirmations, I admit I had nightmares of Stuart Smalley (Al Franken’s character from “Saturday Night Live”): “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” Affirmations just seemed so wishy-washy, so flimsy. But I dug deeper and came to realize that we use affirmations all the time. It’s just that most of them are negative, stress causing and self-limiting:
“I can’t handle this.”
“I am stressed out.”
“I participate in road rage.”
Our brains are trippy and complicated and can do amazing things. But at their core our brains want one thing –To Be Right.
Whatever we continually say about ourselves and start to believe about ourselves, our brains are going to work to make it true. It is imperative that we be careful about the things we say to ourselves because…whatever you say to yourself, you’re right.
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t –
– Henry Ford
Try using self-empowering affirmations and visualizations to create a more positive attitude about yourself and your relation to your surroundings.
“I am in control and believe in myself.”
“Every day I make good decisions that positively
affect my life.”
“This is a really good article.”
Ladies and germs, there is a healthy Stress Pill.
The Stress Pill is YOU.