I was recently serving on a panel and someone asked me, “How do you manage getting through stressful situations?” I was asked this in the context of running my business and being a leader; however, I think it could apply to professional and personal situations. These are five things I have learned over the years to focus on when I get into stressful situations that help me.
The first thing is perspective.
I try to make sure I am not being overly emotional and that I do not make the issue bigger than it is. I also try to make sure I do not internalize things or make them “just about me.” Instead, make it more about the team or the group of people you are with. I recently coached a soccer game where we went into overtime and penalty kicks were the deciding factor of the game. Each team picks 5 players one-on-one against the goalie to determine the tie breaker. One of the girls on our team who went first missed her shot. She came back to the team and was crying. The head coach and I asked her to shake it off and focus on the rest of the team—we still had more penalty kicks to take. I hope this was a life defining moment for this amazing young lady. This was a prime example of her being more concerned with her individual performance rather than thinking big picture about the impact of her reaction on the team.
The second way to deal with stress is gratitude.
I take difficult situations and look for the underlying gifts that they can bring in the long term. If we are able to remain thankful it opens us to constantly be able to learn and recognize that even in difficult times, life is trying to teach us something.
The third is “surround yourself with good peeps.”
It is critical to have a support system of people that have no alterior motive. They are your sounding board and people who will always give you sound advice and be sending you positive energy to move through difficult times.
The fourth is inspiration.
It is critical that we find inspiration every day. We have to be looking for it. It could be as simple as watching the sunrise, listening to a song or smiling at a stranger. It can also mean seeking out inspiration in whatever way works for you—maybe going to church, going for a run, meditating or reading a good book. We all need inspiration and we all have to work at finding it.
The fifth and most important is love.
Finally, when in doubt: LOVE. Love yourself, love who you are, love what you are doing to make this world a little bit of a better place for others, love all the people around you and most importantly, allow yourself to be loved.
I hope these tips are helpful to you as you manage your busy lives. Write me and let me know what tips you use to manage stress in your life.