How to stop stress from killing career passion

reduce stressImagine sitting down to a sumptuous gourmet meal. Everything is amazing. The food makes your eyeballs roll back in your head. The atmosphere is perfect. It’s the ideal meal.

Now imagine someone is standing behind you, whacking you on the head with a stick. He keeps at it the whole meal, over and over and over.

How likely are you to be able to truly enjoy the meal? Not very, I’d wager.

It’s a bit like that with stress and career passion. You can have the perfect job, but if stress is continually whacking you on the head, your ability to truly get the most out of it is limited.

And it’s not just job stress that’s the problem. It’s any stress. As I have mentioned before, getting Wild About Work isn’t just about what happens on the job.

The Wild About Work ecosystem happens in 360 degrees in your life.

Don’t believe me? Imagine having a huge quarrel with your spouse or partner right before you head out the door for work. Something really big. How likely are you to be at your best that day? What happens at home follows you to work. Why? Because you’re the same person!

How big is your juice container?

Here’s one way I think about it. Imagine you have the perfect job, and the juice from that job, the flow of potential energy, is cascading down like a waterfall, or a fire hydrant wide open.

All you need to do is go to work and step into that flow, right? Ummmm, no.

To experience that energy, you have to catch it in your own container, your own ability to feel energized. And if all you have is a little juice cup, because stress is reducing your ability to fully experience the positive, then you’re limited in how much groove you will actually feel.

Managing stress in 360 degrees in your life is one way to create a bigger container, moving from a juice cup to a big bottle, or a bucket. When you reduce stress, you have more space to feel the juice in your job.

Whole-life stress management

I have a blog I started last year as a public service aimed at helping job seekers manage the stress of the search. In the process of blogging, a whole-life stress management model popped into my head (click on that link for more details, as well as a free 10-page e-booklet doing a deep dive into the model).

Here’s a distillation of that page. The model has four layers:

I – The Core: This consists of the basics that lend themselves to a solid foundation. Think of it as the foundation you pour for a house before that provides a stable ground to build on. Making sure you have a solid core is the first part of a whole life stress management approach  (note the similarity to the foundation in the Wild About Work ecosystem model).

The Core consists of what I call the Five Fundamentals:

  • A healthy diet
  • Staying hydrated
  • Exercise
  • Grounding practice
  • Sleep

II – Internal: This layer focuses on what is happening in your internal world. This is probably the area of whole-life stress management that has the most powerful stress busting potential, because it’s the one area in your life you can reliably control. It looks at:

  • Your Stories: How you interpret the world.
  • Your Self-talk: The conversations all of us continually have, whether constructive or critical.
  • Your Focus: Where you’re directing your attention, both internally and externally.
  • Your Now-ness: Being in the present moment.

III – External: You can’t control everything in the world around you, but you can exert some influence on it. This layer takes a look at the choices and changes you can make, and how you can shape your surroundings (physical, community, etc.) in a way that supports you.

IV – Tools & Techniques: These are the on-the-fly techniques you can apply to reduce stress in the moment, like breathing techniques, short guided meditations, etc.

You can find a collection of all the stress busting quick tips I have posted over on the Job Search Stress Busters blog (things that take ten minutes or less) on the Stress relief quick tips page.

Whatever your situation at work, whether you love your job or are bursting with the desire to make a change yesterday, incorporating a whole-life stress management approach into the picture can improve it.

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]

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Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

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