Guest Blog by Brandon Lee
As leaders, we have stressful days that can undermine our leadership if we let them. I have learned that how I handle the stress is the one thing I can actually control. Here are four steps I use:
1. Mental Break. I take a walk or read something that is not related to work. The point is to remove myself from a stressful situation, because experience tells me that emotional decisions are never good decisions. Just knowing that I can take a short break and that the world will not implode if I don’t act immediately gives me freedom.
2. Talk to a “Go-To” Person. I have a small group of people who have agreed to be my “Go-To” people when I need it. My call to them goes something like this, “Can I vent to you without stressing you out?”
I want to make sure that they are in a good place and willing to let me get something off my chest. They have every right to say, “Hey, Brandon, not today.” When that happens, I try to go into the mode of building them up. There is nothing like helping someone else to get you out of your own spiral.
I limit my venting with them to only a few minutes. I don’t want to escalate my own emotion by re-hashing the entire play-by-play, but a brief vent helps me get it out of my system.
3. Choose to Be Positive. I know this sounds corny, but it really is powerful. Things are never as hard or frustrating as they “feel,” so choose to be positive and focus on other possibilities. Even in the midst of dealing with a hard client, a difficult prospect, or disappointment with a co-worker or vender, there are wonderful things around you that bless you and can give you joy and peace if you allow yourself to focus on them.
I like to use a strategy called the W.I.N situation to focus on the positive and plan to overcome the challenge next time.
4. Do an Energy-Giving Activity. I am a huge believer in discovering and living in your “sweet spot.” If you know what that is for you, then be intentional about doing an activity that is most energy-giving to you. When you are working and living in your sweet spot, stress has less influence over you.
These simple steps really work, and I often do them in exactly in this order. Here’s my summary:
3. Change my mind and heart by being positive
4. Do things in my sweet spot
I try to end my stressful days by being thankful for my wife, my kids, my health, my family’s health, my extended family, my friends, my home, my country….. you get the idea.
What are your best methods for overcoming stressful days?
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