As a recovering Type-A, it is unfortunately easy for me to give 110% to a project I believe in. Which is fine when it is short term, but lately I have become involved in a project which has given me the opportunity to work ten hour days, seven days a week and I don’t see this changing any time in the near future. Initially I noticed a lot of my old Type-A issues coming back, being short with others, being frustrated when things didn’t move as quickly or easily as I wished, and being overwhelmed by the enormous number of projects and tasks. It made me wonder if I should be involved. But then I realized it was not a matter of being involved or not. It was a matter of determining how I was involved.
In the past I would have become caught up in the chaos and stress of the situation. This time I realized this opportunity to be a true test of all I have learned and preached over the last few years. Could I be the eye of the storm? Instead of being caught up in the chaos around me, could I keep my calm, patient focus? For the last few years I learned to be calm and flexible in my coaching business. I learned to adapt to changing schedules. I learned patience for my clients’ differing rates of growth. I ensured I had sufficient Melissa time throughout the week to protect my health. Now I am excited at the opportunity to maintain that easy-going way while I am in the midst of a whirlwind of activities.
If you read The Power to Choose Joy post, you know that everything is a choice. Right now I can’t always choose what needs to get done, when it needs to get done, or how much needs to get done, but I can choose how and if I complete tasks. Most importantly I can choose how I perceive the work that needs to be done. I can use words like overwhelming and stressful. Or I can choose to see this time as exciting and growing. I can allow my dedication to the project to take away from my personal health or I can choose to find ways to maintain healthy de-stressing habits throughout my day.
There are three secrets helping me through this time. First is awareness. I need to be aware of how I am feeling and thinking. When we are busy it is easy to not be consciously aware of our experience. Awareness needs to be a priority. Second is choice. Stress usually comes from a feeling of powerlessness and being the victim. When I become aware that I am stressed, I find out what I am feeling the victim of and choose an action or new belief which will stop the feeling of powerlessness. Finally and powerfully, is releasing focus on outcome. I want the project I am in to succeed but I am not focusing on the results of this week, month or year. I am not focusing on how a specific project or task may or may not turn out. Instead, I am focused at doing the task at hand joyfully and to the best of my ability. I trust that things will be completed when and how is best to move us forward and release any of my or others’ expectations of the “right” way or timing. Want to release your stress right now? Stop focusing on the what-ifs and how will this turn out, and instead focus on the task at hand.
Look at your own business or the company you work for. What are you days like? How do you feel throughout the day? Are you taking the time to be aware of how you are feeling? Are you choosing the best experience for you? Are you focused on outcome or the experience? Try to be aware, choosing joy, and focusing on the moment and see how your workday, and your success, improves.