“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
~ Hans Selye
What does it take to succeed? A positive attitude? Quite often, yes. But it also takes planning, action, the right choices, skills, and (in my opinion) an ability to manage stress.
There is an endless array of skills one can learn and in cases where success is desired – need. Here are three skills that you might find valuable:
- Decision-Making. The bridge that leads from gut feelings and analysis to action is effective decision-making; knowing what to do based on the information available. While not being critical can be dangerous, so too can over-analyzing or waiting for more information before making a decision. Taking in the situation, using an appropriate blend of intuition and logic, and acting – separates the doers from the wafflers.
- Research. Nobody can be expected to know everything or even a tiny fraction of everything. Even within your field, chances are there’s far more you don’t know that you do know. You don’t have to know everything but you ought to be able to quickly find out what you need to know. That means learning to use the internet effectively (based on your unique needs); learning how to leverage your network of contacts and; keeping abreast of the latest developments in your area of interest or specialty.
- Relaxation. Stress will not only kill you, it leads to poor decision-making, poor thinking, and poor socialization. Working yourself to death in order to keep up, and not creating time to enjoy the fruits of your work, isn’t “success.” It’s obsession. Being able to face the most pressing crises in a calm, rational manner is both productive and critically important. Think about this… how many times have you made poor decisions because you were less than relaxed when you made them?
Yet even when prepared, we don’t always make our best choices when caught by surprise. Here are three ways in which to respond to or act in stressful situations:
- When you’ve been fired. Apply right away for unemployment benefits. The average unemployed person spends several months out of work and the older the individual, the longer the period. Oddly (according to the U.S. Labor Department), only about 80 percent of those who qualify for benefits file. Then enlist legal services if you feel your dismissal involves discrimination or breach of contract. But don’t threaten legal action before you’ve confirmed with an attorney that your case has legs. Almost always, cases are settled without trial.
- When you get bad medical news. Put away your car keys. Unless you want to risk turning a health threat into an injury, don’t drive while you’re distraught. Instead, call someone to give you a ride. Then take a deep breath and think about what you heard in as logical a fashion as you can. Consider getting a second opinion. Think carefully about what information you want to share with others. To not tell means you don’t get support but to tell some people means you may be overwhelmed or inviting intrusive treatment.
- When you lose your wallet. Close any financial accounts represented in your wallet. The longer you wait to report stolen credit cards, the more financial liability you will face if they are used fraudulently. Then contact one of the three consumer-reporting agencies to have a fraud alert placed on your credit report. Ask you motor vehicle agency to flag your file so that if anyone tries to get a replacement ID in your name, the agency will know it is fraud. Advise all organizations (gyms, employers, etc.) you’re connected with that you’ve lost your cards.
As the title suggests, these are practical considerations and tips. Yet when practiced, they may help you to sleep more comfortably.