Do you ever just wish that you could have a moratorium on change? That maybe, just for a month you could count on things staying the same? That you could depend on your work colleagues to show up and do their jobs so you could do yours? That sales would percolate and products get shipped on time? And yet, that’s not the way it is.
We all seem to be overdosed on change.
Change is the bedfellow of stress. Each day there is something new, exciting or challenging to keep us on our toes. And many of us are sick and tired of the ambiguity and uncertainty that makes us go home tired, burned out, defeated.
High daily outside pressure can lead to high daily internal pressure and voila, stress enters uninvited.
A study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine indicates that job burnout is a strong predictor of coronary heart disease and high stress leads to wear and tear and eventually weakens the body.
Stress, due to constant change, is the hot word in today’s work world.
To stay healthy and meet today’s business challenges with poise and power you need to look at the following check list and make sure you have the basic areas covered.
Mistakes lead to hypertension, poor sleep patterns and lousy relationships. So, pay attention.
Escape from reality: Your body wants to use old, outdated tactics of fight, flight or freeze to battle change. Won’t work. You can duke it out, and change will still win, leaving you exhausted. You can run but there’s nowhere to hide. You can stay put and change will happen all around you anyway.
Blame someone else: Upper management asking too much of you or direct reports slacking off. Maybe so. Are you looking for protection from the heavy load or blaming those who are not paying attention to your burden? The more you “should” on others as the culprits the longer it takes to get the results you want.
Time is the enemy: You are willing to change and get the work done. That’s the spirit. Except you want to do it on your personal schedule. You think you will feel less stress when you can spread out the project so you have more time to prepare. Won’t happen. When you resist the pace, you fight the impossible. Time is the constant, it won’t change. It’s up to you to move faster and resist less.
Work harder not smarter: Shifting your mindset is the monumental task. That’s where the real work is. Once you look around you and begin to create new patterns of reacting you can reduce stress and increase efficiency. Adapting to the newest technology or even asking for help when you never did in the past is the way. If you think adapting is tough, not adapting is tougher. Just ask a dinosaur.
No tolerance for course correction: Just in the middle of the project, when all seems to be going well, change changes its mind. This is the time to pivot, to improvise, to laugh at the impossibility of it all, to bounce and create a mid-course correction. The more you balk at the inevitable the more stress will sabotage success.
Making stress work for you takes personal initiative.
Over the top stress won’t go away. You need to be the master of your fate and make sure you are the stress master of your own destiny. It’s okay to get angry, rail your fist against the situation, however, only for a minute. Then admit you need to surrender to change and find new ways of responding.
Resistance to change is the biggest enemy of success.
Start to observe and manage your own behavior more effectively. Look at what triggers your upset and stop. Stop, breathe, pivot.
Yes, stop, decide to be the master of your reactivity not the servant of your old, outdated behavior. Then you and change become colleagues rather than adversaries. That’s the foundation of successful stress management.