This is Part Two in a Two-Part Series…
To recap from Part One…
We were talking about how stress is really about stressful feelings in relation to an experience that we perceive as stressful. It’s the way we individually view these stressors that actually causes the feelings of stress, not the stressors themselves … and we can do something about it!
At the first sign of stress, give this a whirl:
- Calm yourself. Breathe… Do a breathing exercise, go for a walk, move your body, shift your physical position, or location. And breathe. Focused breathing slows down the autonomic nervous system and allows your thoughts to clear.
- Find the need: Ask yourself, “What need of mine is not being met in this moment?” This takes some practice. Refer to your Needs List; what need(s) leaps off the page?
- What would make it better? Ask yourself, “What would make this situation better for me; what would fulfill that need(s)?”
- Make the change: If possible, make that change immediately. If it’s not something you’re willing to change in this moment, make a plan for when you will. Or consider how else that need might be fulfilled. There is always more than one way.
Here’s an example…
Let’s say you’re coming up for review at your job and things have not been going as brilliantly as you would have hoped. You know others have been laid-off, and you’re approaching the review with deep trepidation. These feelings show that, on some level, you’ve already decided that it will go badly. Not only will that thought leave you feeling disempowered but it may influence the outcome. Not helpful. The likely truth is that you don’t know for sure. How would it affect you to go in with a different perspective: an open mind?
Consider these other possible ways to look at a job review.
- What of your needs are not being met that may be causing this feeling of trepidation? The need for “security”? The need to “contribute”? The need to feel “appreciated” and/or “respected”? The need to be “creative”? What might acknowledging these needs to yourself give you? How might disowning these needs be affecting your performance?
- Evaluate your abilities and look at what you are not utilizing. What would be available to you at your job if you brought more of yourself to work? On your own, proactively outline some solutions before the review. Go in speaking with confidence as a team member, with solutions in hand, fully invested in improving your own performance for yourself and the company. Less stressful, right?
- Approach the reviewer as a comrade and assume that you are both invested in improving your performance. Ask them powerful questions about what they think you could do, and be prepared to offer the solutions from #2 above. Stress diminishing?
- Research the job market before you go in and learn about:
- the appropriate salary for your position
- the duties of your position and if possible, how others overcame similar challenges
- as well as other positions that may be opening up.
- Look at this review as an opportunity to learn about how you are being perceived at your office. With knowledge, you can make choices on how you want to move ahead.
Taking a pro-active role puts you on top of the wave and allows you to manage stress rather than stress manage you. Get on your surfboards, and “hang-ten”.
Always infinite possibilities… Always your choice.
Photo: Sunrise in Cancun ©2008 Christine Faucher-Kelley
Music (in pod cast): “Bustin’ Surfboards”, ©Copyright 1962, The Tornadoes & “Surfin’ USA”, ©Copyright 1963, The Beach Boys.