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3 Ways to Respond to Stress | Leadership – Coaching – Life

3 ways to respond to stress. Leadership, coaching, and life.

This is part of my Get Better Friday series, all about being a better leader. Each piece is me describing what I’ve been practicing to help me become a better leader and coach for my team, my career and my personal life.

This week:
– How we handle high stress situations and allowing a time to grieve.
– The best way to learn, accept and prepare for change.

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This also appeared in Pay Attention to the Change | DC Marketing Mixer #38 which included:
– A case study of Canva (or how they started talking directly to their customers and what they wanted).
– Working small.
– An awesome tweet thread from the one and only Rand Fishkin in the Hot Links.

Three responses to hard situations

In last week’s newsletter I talked about telling the truth and how important the truth is to you personally, to other people that you know and you as a leader. But in that, I also mentioned how I was handling my mental health after being laid off. Including all the trials and tribulations that I went through. I took it personally.

I wanted to come back to this. I think it’s important to talk about what I did, and maybe it will be useful to someone else out there who’s going through the same feeling.

At first it really beat me up and I beat myself up really, really badly. After spending some time with it and thinking about it, I realized its kind of like a grieving period. Which is something that’s important. You need to take that time to have a moment to grieve about whatever stressful thing is happening to you. I knew that that couldn’t go on forever, so there’s these three ways that we can really handle a stressful situation.

First option you have is to remain the victim. That’s exactly what happens in the very beginning of the stressful time or situation. What matters is how long you go in remaining the victim. If you continue to blame yourself, to blame others, you’ll continue to be in that moment and be stuck in it. And it’s important to get out of that. This is obviously not where you want to be.

The second option you can look at it from a different perspective. Looking at it from a fresh angle, you can better assess the situation. For example, I had this stressful moment when I got laid off, let me try to see it from their perspective. For me the new perspective could be the economy, the pandemic, and all this… Stuff that’s happening. I can see from their perspective on the decisions they had to make. Then you just accept it and move on. There’s no need to do anything else. I can see now from that person’s perspective or from that company or that situation or from my team’s perspective, it was this and I understand that now, and I’m just going to accept it and move on.

Finally, the third option, which is really a powerful, is to accept the change. Something I wrote in my weekly journal is I needed to look at the situation and know that it’s the buck stops with me. How I take the situation and the choices I make afterwards, that’s all on me, that’s everything that I have in control. I can’t control what other people think, what their decisions were. I can’t control that, but I can control my reaction. I can control my next steps. I need to own and control of what I had control over.

You can do this personally or with your team, too. When you have someone on your team to come to you with a problem or with a stressful situation is to focus on what it is that we actually have control over. Then let’s move forward in that way.

To acknowledge and move forward with change, you need to do these three things.

  1. Learn from the past.
    What happened? What did I do? What could have been different? What happened then that wished didn’t happen? Review but don’t dwell. Don’t look to place blame or continue to play the victim. Just accept it for what it was and learn from it. What did I learn from that situation? What can I gain out of it by looking back and reviewing it?
  2. Take care of the present.
    Take care of yourself. Take the time for a break. Protect the things that you have. Take care of the things that are right now.
  3. Prepare for the future.
    What is coming? What is coming in the future that might be changing in your industry or at your company or on your team? How can you prepare for those things?

If you do those three things no matter what you’re working on you know that you are in control of what those things are going to be, what you’re going to work on and what your reactions are going to be to it. This is what has helped me, the realization that I’m in control of this. I’m gonna learn from the past. I’m gonna take care of myself right now. I’m gonna prepare for what my future is going to be. If you take the time to do that, then whatever comes your way, you’re ready for it.

One of my favorite sayings is, “luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” If you’re learning from the past year, working on your present and you’re looking to the future, when that opportunity comes to by, what will appear as luck to other people will actually be all the preparation that you did.

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