31 Days to Becoming a Better Leader
Day #28: Managing Stress
Stress is an ignorant state. It believes everything is an emergency. -Natalie Goldberg
Stress is our internal scripts telling us lies. We can manage everything, if we believe we can. We can manage our own emotions. If stress is an emotion, then it can be managed internally.
Move from feeling to thinking whenever you see that emotions are taking over your being. Worry is not a productive leadership skill. Empathy, worry, fear, anxiety, and the like are emotions that leaders can push out of their conscious mind. The conscious mind has a choice. Choose what to think about. Both positive and negative thoughts go directly to the subconscious mind, which has no choice but to receive them. It’s the subconscious mind that actually runs our bodies. We can choose what to feed the unconscious mind.
Napoleon Hill interviewed 500 successful business men introduced to him personally by Andrew Carnegie. He discovered their secrets to success and developed his principles for success. He also discovered that they all had a positive image they could plant in their conscious mind that would offset a negative thought. He discovered that the mind can’t hold a negative and positive thought at the same time. It’s our choice to implant positive thoughts to control how we function. It’s not easy; it’s an acquired skill strengthened over time with practice.
If the leader is anxious, then that anxiety spreads to the others in the culture. If the leader remains calm, then others remain calm. We manage our own emotions, therefore, we influence others to do the same.
Ways to handle stress:
- Think About the Importance of Your Goals– See the future in full color HD. It’s a picture of your success. You don’t have time to worry when you are heading toward your goal.
- Address Stress Directly– Stress has many causes. One certainly is conflict. Many leaders avoid conflict at all costs. This is wrong. Approach conflict immediately and directly while remaining calm. You’ll be surprised how much more you can accomplish when remaining calm.
- Find a Quiet Place and Breathe– This sounds simple. It is simple. Be quiet and breathe deeply. In with calm air, and out with anxious air. Breathing helps bring calm to your spirit.
- Exercise– Yes, sweat is great for stress. Find a place to exercise and don’t be shy. Move and change your location. Move away from your desk for a change of pace and find a routine that is aerobic.
- Sleep Enough– I need 8 hours of sleep every night – no exceptions. When I sleep, I’m better at managing my emotions. To stay emotionally balanced and physically healthy, get enough sleep.
- Count Your Blessings– Remember what really matters, and maybe what caused the worry is not really important after all.
- Focus on Your Faith– I read Christian scripture for feeding my spiritual self. This gives me hope and strength for my day. Whatever your faith is, practice it each day.
- Surround Yourself with Competent, Positive Framing People– Talk to people who have a good outlook on life. Share openly and listen to their comments. It’s important to have others around us.
Leaders are always working on self. We never reach a plateau and stop growing.
Next: Day #29 – Support Groups