a.k.a. No one ever said: It’s all fun, games, flashy titles and big paychecks… until SOMEONE has a heart attack.
So, I was all ready to pull out a pencil and legal pad (yes, I said PENCIL) to write up notes for this post- fully armed to hit on the dirty topic of EXECUTIVE STRESS and what the media is doing to make it even worse (while lining the pockets of snake oil salesmen) … but then Howard Schultz decided to interrupt. Now, I gotta tell you, it was in the best possible way.
Before getting a workout at the crack-o-dawn, I ran in to my corner Starbucks for a half-caf blonde. And about 3 hours later I received a survey request with a free star- which I decided to fill out, since I was still sitting reading morning emails. (For those of you with the app, you know stars are their form of crack.) Now here’s where things took a turn:
Besides asking if I was actually thirsty or hungry, these were the imposing, kneading and slightly LEADING multiple choice questions in the survey.
Did you stop in because …?
- You felt busy or overwhelmed and needed a break
- You felt tired and needed a pick-me-up
- You felt like socializing and needed to spend time with others
- You felt scattered and needed to focus
- You felt like you deserved it and needed a treat
BAM! And there it is. Mainstream corporate marketplace, with its addiction-inducing/supporting retail mini-hubs, has its finger on the pulse of America’s worker bees. This survey wasn’t asking if I was too lazy to brew a joe at 6am, ran out of coffee or loved starting my morning with something that brings back memories of my mom getting ready for work. It was, essentially, assuming that I didn’t have my sh$t together. It wanted to get under my skin and see just how vulnerable I am to divulge personal, emotional information.
Mindfully concocted and strategically delivered by a think-tank of marketing wizards and media mongers, this survey pressured me to believe that this cup of spiking hot, brown water was ONE answer to my problems. Just like the media-at-large, Starbucks is on-the-money: it KNOWS that folks are working themselves to the bone- hell, even to death.
Men don’t talk about Stress.
As I’ve been relaunching my coaching practice, I’ve been devouring studies, data, and details from my own research interviews of executives, thought leaders and their assistants …and a few things are UNABASHEDLY CLEAR:
- Technology has changed the landscape so much that we are actually gaining speed down towards an abyss of STRESS. More HIGH TECH and less HIGH TOUCH is short-circuiting our emotional, mental and social needs.
- STRESS is indeed erupting countless illnesses, causing mental strife, disrupting family foundations, creating career burnout, dividing communities and picking us off in droves.
#3 is actually reserved for the men… specifically execs and leaders:
- The first rule about STRESS is you don’t talk about STRESS.
I say that because it’s true. (Call it a blanket statement, assumption or stereotype… but I’ll ask you to prove otherwise with your own data, folks.) So assuming no argument, most men don’t wear their issues on their sleeves, let alone ask for help, or divulge much in random retail surveys. And if you’re an Alpha male, executive, high-performance or highly-visible businessman- we’ll be waiting for Kanye West to make it to the White House (#VMAawarddebacle) before you fess up and let someone else HELP you become the man you’re killing yourself to be.
Mass media showcases elements of how anxiety and pressures swirling around work, family and health affect men… but they stop at getting to the meat of it all. They just keep adding to the number of gents searching “executive burnout” and “executive stress syndrome”. Reporters, hosts, bloggers and experts alike don’t really cut enough away to reveal the SOURCES beyond symptoms. AS if it would be almost insulting to mention that people DO PLAY a role in their own stressful circumstances. And WE DO! Makes you wonder: with the obviousness of societal stress growing like a weed… why aren’t enough people showing how to take responsibility and SOLVE their PROBLEMS?
Getting back to Starbucks
What if you were asked to fill in the email survey? Would you actually take pause and take inventory? Better yet, what if I were to just ASK YOU these questions… what would you say? What if you just ASKED YOURSELF?
Are you really:
- seeking camaraderie
- needing to connect and share?
If any (or all) of these resonated with you, you can do one of two things, I suppose:
- Keep getting the sh%t knocked out of you in your very own world of Fight Club
- Choose to change. Choose to EVOLVE. Choose to LIVE.
I have chosen to focus on the SOURCE, folks. Relaunching my offerings as a Coach, Confidante and Wingman whose bleeding-edge, timely solutions speak to the specific lifestyle and high-performance needs of stressed Executives & VIPs. My unique packages include Lifestyle Coaching, Mini-Retreats, Assistant Integration and Wingman Detail. (www.kimberliedykeman.com – new site under construction) Humor yourself and take inventory, then give me a shout.
Thanks again for reading. Podcast available ASAP.
Never Stop EVOLVING