I think we can all agree on that. And no amount of wishing, praying, or resolution-making will make it go away. Stress will be right there waiting for you every morning as you as you hit your alarm. Don’t be depressed.
The truth is, not all stress is horrible. In small amounts, it releases just enough cortisol and adrenaline to get you moving. Without it, you would lie around all day, eating cheese doodles and hoping this Donald Trump thing is just a dream.
Sorry, that one may have depressed you.
Of course, too much of anything, whether it’s stress, Mr. Trump, or double-fudge brownies, can hinder your success.
This fact played out for me on a recent family vacation.
Allow me to set up my story: I live with scuba divers. I, on the other hand, prefer to keep my feet planted on terra firma with my bicycle. My idea of fun in the water is taking a shower or maybe the jacuzzi. For a few reasons, the ocean isn’t my jam.
Nevertheless, our vacation was all about the sun, sea, and sand.
After some coaxing and hand-holding from my oldest daughter, I made it out of my beach chair and into the water. And before I knew it, she had me pretty far out — a little too far for my comfort.
“Are we out too far?” I asked her, trying to disguise the hesitation in my voice.
She reassured me that our location was perfect for “riding the waves.”
“Riding the waves?!?”
Hmm, I didn’t get that text. The waves, like my stress level, just kept rising and rolling in.
Regardless of whether stress, or in my case fear, shows up in the big blue loo or at work, your natural reaction will be to retreat. And that’s exactly what I tried to do.
I was then in an awkward position: I was too far away from shore to ride the waves and yet, still not close enough to reach my beach chair.
I think the kids call this the impact zone.
You’ve probably guessed it.
I got pummeled. Or in the parlance of surfers, “That dude got stuffed, bro!
Of course, this experience did wonders for my lack of wave rider confidence.
Despite my daughter’s advice to move out farther, I retreated a few more steps.
You guessed it.
Bam! OB, let me introduce you to The Ocean, up close and personal.
At that point, I was left with two choices:
· Retreat to the safety zone of my beach chair and endure the agony of defeat,
· Or, take a risk, go out farther, and learn to ride the waves.
With a little encouragement and some self-induced shaming, I went with No. 2.
This time, I learned to Superman the big waves and ride out the smaller ones. And it was a blast. My confidence grew and fear subsided. I was starting to dig the ocean.
That day, I learned the truth of the adage: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf them.”
I believe the same can be said for stress. With the constant demands from work and home, you will always be under stress. But rather than retreat and become a victim, why not learn to manage it?
Below are 5 strategies to surf waves of stress before they pull you under:
Pick Three Priorities: Get focused and stop pretending that activity equals productivity. It never has and it never will. Instead, practice “less, but better,” and get clear about what truly moves your needle at work and in the other areas of your life. Pick no more than three priorities and crush them.
Mind Your Mindfulness: Mindfulness helps you to direct laser focus on what’s going on in the moment. Once I became more aware of the flow the ocean, I could sense when the big waves were coming. The same holds true for your stress. When you are mindful, you can respond faster and keep your momentum.
Connect with a Community: Life isn’t a solo project. Connecting with a team, tribe, or a peloton will boost your success. Find surfing buddies who can help you face your fears, managed your stress, and shred your next wave or project.
Cultivate Curiosity: You will most certainly get thrown by a wave or two along the way. That’s just life. But, rather than scurrying back to the shore, why not open yourself to learning something new? Every face full of sand is another opportunity to figure out how to ride the next wave. Shifting into curiosity means you embrace the mindset of a student. You become flexible, forgiving, and you understand that you don't have all the answers. You’ll never learn to catch the next killer wave if you don’t stay in the surf.
Lighten up: Laugh a little. Humor is one of your best weapons to use to stare down your fears. My antics that afternoon gave my family and everyone on the beach plenty to laugh about. And that’s a much better energy vibe than stress.
After all, your vibe attracts your tribe.
If you want surfing lessons, quickly swim away and call someone else. You don’t want me anywhere near your surfboard. However, if you are looking for a trusted advisor and ally to help you handle your stress better at work and in life, then I’m your guy.
Click here to set up a free call with me so we can talk about your biggest challenges and how you can overcome them.