Meet Bob. He’s a VP of Operations for a growing 30mm+ company.
Bob is feeling like crap (again) this morning and just led a half-assed update meeting with his leadership team. When asked “What’s going on? You alright?” by his assistant… the answer is simple: “I’m fine. Must have had too much coffee.”
It could be the coffee… on an empty stomach. But let’s re-trace the steps that got him here.
Bob is loading up on (rot-your-gut, no-name office) coffee because he’s exhausted from about 3 hours of sleep. He skipped breakfast because he didn’t have time to stop off at his favorite Starbucks for a latte and low-fat/high-sugar muffin… which he usually deserves if he got in a morning workout. Which he didn’t. Bob caved to the frenemy snooze button on his iPhone too many times and got up late. The evening before was filled with a Board meeting and dinner that was full of a few bumps that drove Bob to overeat and toss back a few too many vinos and after-dinner scotches; and upon arriving home, his wife expressed concern of his drinking then driving home (again) at an unannounced hour… which led to a lovely broken-record argument fueled by Bob’s agitation from the Board’s latest expectations and antics regarding the company’s spending pace.
Unable to go to sleep, Bob stayed up, slumped over his laptop, reading through emails and surfing through Facebook – wondering when he might actually take time off again, or if just a Poker night with his buddies might do the trick. Wondering why his wife doesn’t understand his responsibilities and pressure, and doesn’t offer encouragement anymore.
Poor sleep is not a stranger to Bob, nor are digestion issues and low back pain, marital issues and a sense of insecurity… which only add to most of his days’ list of small but growing list of complaints.
So, here stands VP Bob. Over-caffeinated, feeling bloated and slightly washed-up, cranky, anxious about his performance in front of the CEO, anxious about what conversation awaits at home that evening, and simply not ready to pound out another 7 hours of meetings, calls and reports. And it’s only Tuesday. Must be he drank just too much coffee.
MEN: It ain’t the coffee. It’s STRESS… and it can be the Grim Reaper.
Aaahhh STRESS! It DOES serve a purpose- it promotes optimal performance in acutely challenging or threatening situations: you get excited, nauseous, fired-up, focused, nervous and take ACTION. And when the stimulation subsides, you RELAX. That is: you SHOULD relax. The same STRESS that drives you to be a high achiever, leader and influencer is the very same that will bring you to your knees. Juggling jammed schedules, travel, Boards, shareholders, the media, employees’ wellbeing and stacks of emails and expectations wreaks havoc on your body, mind, family, and place in society. Add to that countless other roles like spouse, son, friend and parent… and performance burnout or a total break-down is bound to happen.
The layers of pressure that society, family and business cultures instigate will never go away. BUT the bigger conversation to have here is discussing what SYMPTOMS are showing up to SIGNAL that your life is experiencing stress in an unmanageable, unhealthy dose… and that something needs to be done before the SH!T hits the fan.
So, gents, ask yourself:
- Do you honestly know how STRESS is showing up in your life?
- Do you realize that you hold some RESPONSIBILITY in causing it or keeping it there?
- What are you going to do about it?
If you’re staring down your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and the stacks of stats and data hasn’t smacked you upside the head just yet, perhaps a simple, random tool will shift you to see that 1+1 = 2. Your PHYSIOLOGY dictates your PSYCHOLOGY… and VICE VERSA. Take moment, while no one’s watching, and get real with yourself about your stress.
It’s OK to Look.
Society may say you’re not supposed to show or share the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual SYMPTOMS stemming from the growing CHALLENGES in your life… but the signs are already there:
Tuning-in to stress SYMPTOMS is the first step to understanding that stress takes many forms in your life.
But you can’t stop there: routing the symptoms back to the STRESSORS (sources) reveals trends of the problematic people, places, things, events, activities and environments that trigger your unhealthy responses. From here you can develop strategies to manage, change or eliminate the stressors and their detrimental effects. Addressing the true sources also allows you to face your own responsibility and role in how these obstacles have shown up in the first place, and if you’ll allow them to continue to kill your performance in the future.
Ultimately, CHOOSING to process, react to, intervene on, and work to prevent stress literally dictates how much LIFE you’ll get out of your life. So… isn’t it time you got back in the driver’s seat, boys, and stop blaming the coffee? ~ KD
Never Stop EVOLVING
© Kimberlie Dykeman. www.kimberliedykeman.com Coach, Confidante and Wingman for overstretched, overstressed Executives, Entrepreneurs & VIPs. Unique packages include Face-to-Face Life/Performance Coaching, Mini-Retreats, Assistant Integration and Wingman Detail. PURE SOAPBOX: Motivation for the Modern Man podcast channel launches this Fall! Subscribe here!