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March Topic: Managing Stress

29 Feb

“Pressure is a privilege.”

I have a Love-Hate relationship with this quote.  On one hand, I completely agree that I am lucky to have pressure in my life that forces me to strive for success.  On the other hand, I don’t always feel privileged when I am feeling pressure.

Evan and I spent a night talking about the difference between pressure and stress and the many ways to react to them.  His philosophy is that we are in complete control of our emotional reaction to stress.  I believe that but I’m just not 100% there yet.

This is typically what happens to me under a stressful situation:  Something completely unpredictable happens at work that needs to be resolved immediately.  I go into “problem solving mode” until I resolve the situation.  Typically I become aware of my “stress attack” only after I feel comfortable that the level of stress is subsiding.

Although I work well under pressure, I feel extremely uncomfortable in a high-stress environment.  I can’t figure out how to feel any control over my reaction because I can never identify a “stress attack” until after it’s over.

This is definitely an area of opportunity for me so I’ve come up with a few ways develop my stress management skills.  I have a feeling that one month won’t be enough for me so I may need to bring this topic back in September when work gets super crazy again.

These are the questions I’m going to explore throughout the next week or so.

  • What are my sources of stress?
  • What is the difference between stress and pressure?
  • What triggers stress for me?
  • How do I outwardly show that I am feeling stress?
  • How does stress affect my life outside of work?
  • How does stress affect my performance?

I’m also going to keep a “stress journal” as described on Stress Management: How to Reduce, Prevent, and Cope with Stress.  I found that website pretty easily by Google Searching “Stress Management.”  Sometimes I find these types of websites to be a little cheesy (example: light scented candles – Let’s be honest, scented candles will not be solving my problem) but I think it’s actually worth reading to pull a few good tips out of it.

Before I can tackle any of this, the first step in this process is to learn as much as I can about myself.

Stress Management: because a pool and margarita aren't always available at the office.

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Recommended Read: Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office 101

11 Feb

 

I bought this book over a year ago but I hadn’t been able to relate to in when I worked in retail.  A conversation with my coworker Maureen sparked my interest in this book again.  I haven’t finished it yet, but I totally recommend it to all of the females who are reading this!

This book is a cheap version of career counseling.  There is a self-assessment in the first chapter that helps you point out your strengths and opportunities in regards to how you present yourself in a work setting.  The assessment breaks down your results into the following categories:  Play, Act, Think, Market, Look, Sound, and Respond.  I scored high on “Think” and “Look” and scored low on “Market” and “Sound.”  In general, everything was pretty low so I will be able to learn a lot from this book!

After you have determined which areas you need to work on, you go to the chapter that gives examples of related mistakes and solutions to fixing those mistakes.  For example, one of the mistakes that I’ve identified in my behavior is “Apologizing (excessively)” which is listed under the chapter titled “How You Sound.”  The author even gives you an action plan to help you correct this mistake.

I plan on using this book throughout the year to correct some of the behaviors that are holding me back from doing my best at work.

I’ve made this super easy for you, just click the link and get your copy of Lois P. Frankel’s book!  Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office.