There’s a little doubt in the minds of most business people I’ve met that, overall, stress interferes with the qualify business. People who are too stressed are reactive and frightened,and tend to make more mistakes than those who are calm. Stressed-out people blow problems out of proportion and fail to see solutions. Because they are moving so fast, they often spin their wheels, rushing around, repeating efforts as well as mistakes. Stressed-out people aren’t very centered; therefore they have a difficult time seeing to the heart of the matter or being able to differentiate between what’s really important and what’s less significant. Because they are irritable and bothered, they tend to bring out the worst in others and often end up pushing people away – including friends, customers (if you are working) or your loved & beloved ones.
It makes sense, then, if you want to maximize your chances for success and profit, when stress is present in your workplace and/or in your mind, you should do everything you can to prevent its spread. In other words, rather than get others all riled up and bothered and sharing all that’s disturbing you, it’s often best to keep it to yourself. Doing so can pay handsome dividends.
If I’m stressed out, that stress is gong on inside my own head. For example, if I’m worried that I’m not going to be able to make my deadline, my thoughts about my deadline are the primary source of my stress. Or, if I’ve had to deal with an extremely difficult client earlier in the day, my lingering thoughts about that person keep that stress alive in my mind.
Sometimes because it’s therapeutic or even entertaining, other times out of pure habit, we feel compelled to share the details of our stressful thoughts with others around us, thereby encouraging them to get caught up in our dramas and/or to focus on other things they perceive to be stressful. We think about, commiserate, and emphasize the negative. As our coworkers become absorbed and focused on the stress, they reinforce and sometimes even exacerbate the stress we are feeling, creating a vicious circle that can be hard to break. It’s hard to imagine anything less effective than an entire group of people upset, irritated, and stressed out!
When you make the conscious decision to become a stress- stopper, you’ll find yourself nipping tons of stress – especially stress that is “small stuff” – in the bud. Your refusal to “spread the virus” not only prevents stress escalating around the office or workplace, but actually reinforces to you that many of the things we get all worked up about are, in the scheme of things, pretty irrelevant. Plus, what you start to see is that much of what we stress or worry about never manifests itself anyway.
I was once driving to the airport with my teammates for a summer internship, certain we were going to miss our flight. I must have mentioned pessimistic prediction more than a dozen times So, I got them all worried and concerned, too, and reinforced my own worry. When we ended up making the flight, I realized how silly it had been to draw them into it – there was no upside; only downside. Had I simply been a stress-stopper, I could have avoided getting the others in the car upset and frightened.
The idea of being a stress-stopper even applies to simple situations surrounding your finances at home. A friend told me that she was really frustrated by her and her husband’s poor record keeping. In a stressed-out state of mind, she ranted and raged to her husband how horrible and disorganized everything was. She got him all worked up and concerned about their tax records, and he too became stressed and agitated. She later realized that it would have been far more effective and substantially less stressful for both of them had she simply kept her bearings, waited for a calmer time, and discussed some constructive organizing ideas with her husband.
Obviously, there are times when it’s necessary or useful to share our stress with others – for example, when doing so will help solve a problem. Yet, if you’re honest about it, I think you’ll find that much of the time it’s better and ultimately more effective to be a stress-stopper rather than a stress-spender.