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COACH YOU BLOG

STRESS Vs CONTENTMENT
28/7/2017

 

Are you happy?  Are you contented?  Not so much in a rut as thoroughly enjoying the peace and harmony in your life right now?  Me too …

No stress ….

Lovely! 

Or is it?  There is so much stress in the workplace and across the world right now and mental health issues are coming to the fore more and more. And is stress such a bad thing?  “Of course, it is”, I can hear you yelling, “that’s the cause of depression, heart attacks, relationship problems” and indeed it is.  TOO MUCH stress is a bad thing.

When, then, is stress a good thing? 

Just enough stress is important to have us perform at our best.  You know that heart pounding feeling as you stand to speak in a meeting or at a conference – that rush of adrenaline speeds up our reactions.  If controlled, stress enables us to think more quickly, retain and recall information rapidly and take action.

That fight, flight or freeze mechanism kicks in when we want to escape a situation that has become untenable – just enough and it enables us to push our boundaries – to make that sales call, to publish that blog, to apply for that new job.   

Stress helps us get more done.  There is an adage, if you want something doing, ask a busy person.  You know that yourself:  when you are busy you manage to get SO much done in a day.  When under less pressure the day slides past peacefully yes, with procrastination, relaxation, “planning” and ultimately you feel nothing has been achieved at the end of the day. Your motivation, self-belief and inspiration drift away …

Stress can lead us to seek answers to problems which benefit not only ourselves but others around us.    Yes, when stressed we try harder:  fail more often and hopefully learn from the failures.  The next time we try we may well be more successful and try again until we succeed.  How many times did Edison try and invent the lightbulb?  How many times did JK Rowling try and get her book published? They were “normal people” too once!  So why not you?

Ultimately stress has us feel ALIVE and is why we seek thrills in our personal life – from fear-inducing roller coasters, heart pounding “Thriller” films to competitive sport. 

Being relatively new to competitive sport myself I have found the learning amazing and transferable. However, the stress is not.  In fact, it’s something of a distraction!  All the risk-taking, boundary pushing, heart pumping adrenaline I put into my business has unquestionably been refocused on my rowing!   I put in a proviso here – I can deal with very high levels of stress! I love the excitement of the adrenaline rush – giggly, bouncy, laughter … everything you can’t do in a boat! Rowing has meant the stress I would previously have put on business development, events and speaking no longer have heart pounding status for me. And let’s face it, my clients want calm, considered coaching, not a roller coaster ride!

From learning to row five years ago at 47, I am now Captain of Isle of Ely Women’s first boat who won Blades (Bumped up every night) in the recent Cambridge Town Bumps. This is a different kind of stress.  Choosing a crew who can WIN! We are a small club and were only ever happy to scrape enough people together to form a crew of eight rowers!  Suddenly I had a choice and was under considerable pressure to choose the best, the strongest, the most talented.  Sure, that’s how must clubs choose, right? Not me, “personal growth” and “Bucking the norm” are powerful values for me and so I took a risk. The crew included, with the talented few, people with the right attitude, the people who showed up to train all through the winter, people who really wanted it. I was lucky, it paid off!  I had enough talent, enough fire power and enough enthusiasm in the boat to win decisively – it may not have been perfect rowing but it was powerful!

Then an additional stress brought incredible learning.  Two weeks before Bumps I had a call from the hospital to book in for an exploratory procedure to see if I had cancer.  I wouldn’t take the first appointment as it was the first night of the Bumps so I took the Friday morning of the final night of the Bumps.  All week I wondered if this would be my last Bumps ever.  I managed to compartmentalise my thoughts and focus on what was required.  All my mindfulness practice kicked in - every second had a brightness, a poignancy to it; I so wanted to get Blades! 

Luckily, I’m in the clear which made the celebrations all the more enjoyable!

So, if you want to get your stress under control or you’ve lost your mojo and want to reignite your excitement and passion let me help you find something truly worthwhile to get stressed about!  jill@coachyou.co.uk

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