How to talk yourself off the ledge at work
Ever have one of those days, weeks or months where you are considering doing something drastic—like quitting (or hitting)? I am always secretly pleased when my clients are stressed to the max and we happen to have a call scheduled that day—not because I am sadistic and like to see people in pain, but because working with a client who is stressed to the max gives me the perfect opportunity to show them some tools which they can use on their own in the event of a future crisis when I am not available. Here are three things to know when you are on the “ledge” at work or in your business:
- Vent it! If you are waking up at night in a cold sweat feeling stressed about work, money or other career related stress, then you need to vent it. Our business culture tells us to put a positive spin on every bad and stressful thing that comes our way, but first—we need to get it OUT. If you don’t have a coach or therapist to vent to, I suggest using a journal (many of my clients use the voice recording feature on their phones). This is not a time to call a friend or vent to your spouse (see number three below) or even a colleague. You want to vent in a way that you don’t have to edit or sensor. But you do need to let it all out.
- This is NOT the time for drastic measures! While your stress will thrive on macho quotes like, “drastic times call for drastic measures.” The truth is that drastic times call for thought, reflection and re-visiting your values—not some dramatic move. Once you have vented your stress, take time to re-visit your values. Make a list of your most important business values and then reflect on whether your values are being lived or being neglected at this juncture in your career. Being in discord with your values can cause big stress. So if one of your main values is integrity and you work in an environment of sketchy business practices—you are likely to be unhappy. If you are off track with your values, where did you get off track? And, more importantly, what do you want to do next to get back in alignment with your values?
- Avoid career advice from people who love you: Let’s face it—people who love you generally don’t want to see you in pain. If you vent to your friends, family or spouse while you are in pain, their advice is going to be to do whatever it takes to get out of pain as quickly as possible. This is usually bad advice. In most cases, it’s better to find a third-party sounding board or lean-into the stress yourself and see what else is going on.
It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”