How was your October? Mine was jam packed and full of new opportunities and responsibilities. I created content for three new workshops and presented five programs all together. The Small Business Consulting side of my business is growing too as I partner with entrepreneurs to build strategic and marketing plans that reflect their personal values and priorities. It’s been a whole lot of fun and also a bit stress inducing.
As I develop new programs, I always take the exercises I will be utilizing with participants on my own personal test drive. Conveniently, given my somewhat stressful October, one of the new workshops I built was entitled “Using Self-Awareness to Manage Stress.” Participants in the workshop completed a “Stress Awareness” exercise rating the levels of stress induced by each of six to eight stressors they identified in their own lives. You can check-out the exercise here.
I observed a few things when I completed this exercise for myself. First – the things that create the most stress for me are those in which I feel the most out of control. Not unusual, I know. When I feel in control, while I may experience some stress, it has less of a negative impact overall.
For example – while deadlines for client deliverables can cause me some anxiety, it is generally low level and is outweighed by the focus and mental pleasure I experience when I start digging deep and progressing toward clearly defined outcomes. I prioritize client activities, carve out chunks of time to get them done, create and align on clear goals, develop a detailed project plan and then I make it happen.
On the flip-side, backed-up business & personal paperwork and an inbox overflowing with hundreds of emails makes me feel overwhelmed and anxious to the extreme. I rated this administrative quagmire at an eight on a ten-point scale (ten being the most stress inducing).
As part of the Stress Awareness exercise, I ask participants to consider what they do that enables them to manage some stressors better than others. How can they apply the tools and approaches that work for the lesser stressors to those circumstances that drive higher levels of stress?
Eureka! Seems like I would benefit from applying the tactics I use for client projects to my own out-of-control administrative stressors. This is the big insight I unearthed through this stress awareness exercise: It is high-time to carve out a few solid hours (or maybe more than a few…), put together clear goals with a project plan and tackle all of that backed-up paperwork and email.
But, here is the thing about Eureka insights – self-awareness is most valuable when we take an action or actions to activate them. The next priority for today: I’m going to stop admiring my stressors, go into action mode and get my administrative tasks under control! I am confident my overall level of stress will decrease if these administrative necessities are no longer hanging over my head like left-over ghouls from Halloween.
Check-out the “Stress Awareness” exercise here. I hope it will provide you with a Eureka insight to help reduce some stress in your life.