When our negative reactions to the little stuff build up, it undermines our ability to progress.  We become irritable and worn out, which leads to more stress.  This is an inappropriate triggering of a very useful survival mechanism. When we’re in fight-or-flight mode, we NEED to focus on negatives (no time to smell the flowers when we're running from a burning building). But when the same physiological reaction is in response to social situations, we only see the negatives, and lose sight of our strengths and resources.

We often think of stressful stimuli as the big life stuff – like a challenging relationship or a scary economic climate. But a great deal of our anxiety comes from the little day-to-day pressures commonly faced in today’s workplace.  This dear old world is full of possible “stressors”:

-        Dissatisfied customers and indecisive prospects

-        Our kids, our coworkers, our coworkers’ kids

-        Technology challenges and industry shifts

-        Unrealistic workloads and deadlines

-        Slow computers, slow microwaves

-        Office gossip and competition

-        Long unorganized meetings

-        Long commutes in traffic

-        Disorganized work area

-        Dictatorial leadership

-        Cell phones & spam

-        Physical ailments


These are but a few of the world's never-ending supply of stimuli that we may choose to freak out over, or calmly face.

Our power lies in never losing sight of the fact that it’s our choice to get stressed by something or not get stressed by something.  We have the choice to be happy, to be mad, to be stressed, to be giddy.  I like giddy.  Nothing can MAKE us stressed, just like, despite the suggestion of many a love song, we can’t MAKE someone happy, or vice versa.   We can do things we think will encourage them to choose to be happy, but we can not MAKE someone happy.  It is their choice.  To be stressed is ours. When we are stressed, we are choosing to respond to stimuli in a stressful way.  Stress may be normal, but is not necessary.

You control you.

You only control you.
Only you control you.
You control you only.

It feels great to give 110% at work, but it's important to always remember that taking good care of ourselves pays off professionally as well as emotionally.  Develop stress immunity and resilience.  Invest time in doing what helps you renew your energy.  If we are going to put ourselves in the best possible position to work and win in this world of change, it is vital that we take back control of our lives and careers by choosing to gain control of our thought processes. Pretending that the stress stimuli are not all around us only increases the problem. The way to progress is through recognition and action.

Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker