When stress gets to be too much, it can undercut our performance and slow us down.
And a certain amount of stress is inevitable with demanding workloads, balancing work and personal time, dealing with a difficult boss or colleague, or the pressure and self-doubt that can creep up when encounter something new. These can lead to feeling overwhelmed, anxious or frustrated.
While stress may be inevitable, the effects of it, and how you view and respond to what’s going on around you is not. You have control over this part.
And if you want to change your situation, you first have to change your reality and the lens through which you see your world. Our thinking drives our behaviours, which drive our results.
The difference between one person thriving and showing up as the best version of themselves in the face of challenges, and another person often feeling overwhelmed or frustrated (and not showing up at their best), is how they view and respond to what’s...
A moderate amount of stress is a good thing, as it can help motivate us to take action. But when stress or anxiety gets to be too much, it undercuts our performance and slows us down, beside the fact that it’s not good for our health or happiness.
I recently did research with corporate leaders and professionals on the biggest challenges that cause stress at work, and I heard from a number of people about being sucked into a downward spiral when bigger setbacks and challenges happen.
A few years ago, this downward spiral used to happen to me when I encountered too much stress. I have since made a number of changes to shift my thinking and behaviors, and now, stress rarely takes over and I am less fazed when things go sideways.
However, a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of “that feeling” . . . when the pressure of the tasks ahead or stress from a big setback takes over. When you feel the weight of the job and expectations, and an unsure feeling sits on your...
Workplace stress is a common theme these days. And, with all the expectations in our days between our work and personal life, it’s easy to let the stress take over. It doesn’t have to be this way though.
I spent the past summer researching the biggest challenges professionals face when it comes to stress at work. As a result, I’ve put together the single most important thing to do, as well as practical strategies based on science, experience and results, to help professionals be at their best without letting stress get in their way.
As part of the research I conducted, I asked a simple question of corporate leaders and other professionals: “When it comes to handling stress well at work, what is your single biggest challenge frustration or problem you have been dealing with?”. I had over 250 responses and learned some surprising results.
I’ll get to those results, but first, I want to share why this topic is very near and dear to my heart.
Ever experience the struggle where your boss just doesn’t understand where you are coming from? Or your employee just doesn’t seem to “get it” and spends his or her time complaining rather than coming up with solutions or action to get the job done? Or maybe you have so much work to do that you just don’t know how you’ll get it done and it’s stressing you out. Most of us have faced these or other frustrations in our work. And guess what? The things that you focus on become the things that you notice – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. And when you focus on what’s wrong, you miss seeing the positive and more possibilities and choices for action, slowing you and your team down on the path to success.
Through science, we know that the brain’s default mode is to notice the bad more often than the good – it’s how people process automatically. But science also shows that putting the emphasis...
Early in my corporate career, I thought my greatest strength was my ability to hone in on problems, issues, and “what’s wrong?” when a new idea or project was presented. While this seemed to serve me well – it helped to see the potential pitfalls where others didn’t – I now know it also limited my view of all the positive opportunities and possibilities. As I progressed into roles with greater responsibility, teamwork and influence, this approach was no longer serving me.
I realized that it is far more powerful and effective to start from a place of: What’s right? How can we move things forward? What are the possibilities? What’s the positive? What’s the solution? I found that emphasizing the positive helped me build stronger relationships, be more engaged and productive, and see many more opportunities. I became fascinated by the people side of things and the correlation between positivity, relationships and business...
While smartphones are great for taking photos, researching what restaurants to visit or adventures to explore while on vacation, they can also keep you connected to the daily stressors and responsibilities at work, home and in the news. Since many of us don’t “turn off” as often as we should in our day-to-day lives, “turning off” on vacation is more important than ever. You spent all that money on a trip and finally have that break from your busy life, so why not take full advantage to escape? Start by putting that phone away!
I have always been pretty good at disconnecting while on vacation and take steps to set myself up for success by limiting the paths of least resistance, such as turning off notifications, logging out of Facebook, LinkedIn and email applications, and simply leaving the phone in the hotel room. Do you know what’s amazing? After two or three days of being offline, that ever-present urge to check...
Something that gets in the way of people’s forward movement on goals, projects, and tasks is not taking ACTION . . . whatever that action may be. It sounds simple, but often people leave a meeting or discussion, and made a decision, but don’t follow through. That’s not action . . . it’s a decision . . . and a decision means nothing unless you actually DO something. You won’t get to where you want to be by only making decisions. I have witnessed this throughout my career, coaching clients, and my own experience when I fall trap to this thinking.
If you find this is happening with you or others around you, here are some points to keep in mind to move things forward:
A decision is talk – an action makes things happen. There should be a short amount of time between a decision and the action that follows. You can tweak the action and course correct if needed, but always do something to take a step forward on the decision in a timely manner.
The phrase “work-life balance” is a funny notion. After all, work is a part of your life, as are family, relationships, personal interests, giving back to others and your health.
So why the distinction between work and life? If you are at work, are you not living your life? If you are living life, are you not working?
These areas all intersect, are all connected, and not so easily compartmentalized.
Instead of this or that (work or life), balance is about feeling you have the right proportion of all of these areas in your life, and it is different for each individual.
What is needed for every person — no matter your profession or position — is time to recharge and space for quality time in each of these areas.
This is definitely possible to achieve, once you change your mindset and habits to focus on what’s most important and let go of what isn’t.
For years, I regularly found myself working evenings and always being “on”...
I highly recommend reading The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. It is a well-written, practical book with simple, actionable ways to apply each of the seven principles (outlined below) to improve your performance and maximize your potential. Shawn writes “Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard, we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology has shown this formula is backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, productive and resilient at work.” It doesn’t mean being 100% positive or always happy (that’s not realistic), but rather putting more weight on being optimistic and shifting to a more positive mindset to create more opportunities and happiness.
Here is an outline of his seven principles in The Happiness Advantage:
1) The Happiness Advantage:...
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