Stressed? You’ve got 3 choices
Today I’ve conducted 5 coaching sessions with managers and there is a pattern running through all of them. A feeling of being overwhelmed, stressed and lacking any control over their own destiny. This isn’t surprising given that the managers are from various companies going through redundancies, re-organisations and other major changes. However, just because it is a normal response to imposed change it doesn’t mean we have to feel helpless. The challenge is to focus on the parts that are within our control rather than waste precious time and energy on things outside it.
Stress happens when there is a mismatch between the demands being placed on us and our perceived resources to meet those demands. When we are not challenged enough we are in danger of rust out (I don’t see as much of that these days) and when the demands are greater than our perceived resources we risk burn out.
According to Ross and Altmaier in “Intervention in Occupational Stress” stress management is a decision making process and there are only 3 choices to make. We can:
Alter it – by changing something in how we approach our work, e.g. problem solving, clearer communication, better planning.
Avoid it – by removing ourselves from the situation or not getting into it in the first place, e.g. walking away, having clear boundaries, saying no, or even leaving the organisation.
Accept it – by building our resilience to it, e.g. self care, support systems, identifying goals and values, and by changing our unhelpful beliefs and perceptions about the situation or ourselves.
Which choices are you making? They may not be ideal, but they are choices, and they are yours.