By: Dr. Alan Zimmerman
As a business owner, we live each day having to deal with stress-related issues that we must learn to cope with. It is crucial to identify if you are feeling excessively stressed and more critical that you learn the right steps in order to better cope with your stress. I have outlined 3 steps below that all individuals, especially those who own a business, should perform. By doing so, you will not only feel better, but you will make the lives of those who you interact with better as well.
1. Don’t jump to conclusions. In fact, your premature conclusions can really stress you out … like they did for one lady on a boiling hot August afternoon in Arizona. True story. As a security guard was walking around the parking lot, he was stunned to see a driver in a parked car, with the engine off, and all the windows rolled up. Concerned, the guard walked to the car and noticed the middle-aged woman with her fingers laced against the back of her skull, her face wincing in pain. “Ma’am,” the guard asked, tapping on the window, “Are you alright?”
Holding her hands tightly against her head, the woman answered without turning her neck, “No, I’ve been shot!” Instantly the guard pulled on the door handle but it was locked. He asked the woman to open the door, saying, “I’m a security guard. It’s okay. Let me in.” The woman replied, “I can’t move my hands. My brains are leaking out, and I’ve got to hold them in.”
Desperate to help, the guard forced the door open and discovered a trail of sticky bread dough dripping down the driver’s neck. A quick search revealed the woman had left a bag of groceries in the back seat while she shopped. When she returned a couple of hours later and got behind the wheel, a canister of Pepperidge Farms Crescent Rolls exploded in the extreme heat, rocketing a wad of dough into the back of her scalp! Jumping to the conclusion that she had been shot by an unseen assassin, the woman mistook the oozing dough for her brains. Instantly she interlocked both hands in a desperate attempt to keep them in. Filled with confusion, terror, and stress. Luckily, once the guard got her out of the car and showed her the canister, she realized she was unharmed and her stress was under control.
Although that scenario may seem funny, we can all fall victim to premature conclusions. And those conclusions can kill you … figuratively, at least. I teach people to “withhold evaluation until comprehension is complete.” The skill can be mastered in 15 minutes with an exercise I teach in the program, but it will be a real time-saver, nerve-saver, and life-saver ever after.
2. Learn how to go from peeved to poised. That’s an actual quote from my good friend Rob Peck and the title of Chapter 4 in his new book, “It’s A Juggle Out There.” The chapter title is not only catchy but also offers great advice. It’s somewhat similar to the response given by a 113-year-old man when he was asked the secret of his longevity. He responded, “When it rains, I let it.”
To get more specific, Rob illustrates the point by saying when he is running late for an appointment, two phrases vie for his attention: “Oh, hell!” and “Oh, well!” Both are short phrases, spelled almost the same, but the difference made by that one letter has a surprisingly large consequence. Of course, I’m not advocating profanity, and neither is Rob. But think about it. When you think or utter “oh, hell,” you set yourself up to feel put out, angry, and defiant. “Oh, well” helps you stay calm and upbeat. The oh-hell reaction, just like the name suggests, makes you hot under the collar. You actually sweat. By contrast, the oh-well reaction immediately puts you in the frame of mind as to what you can do to accept, adapt to, and deal with your stressful situation. Instead of feeling like a victim, you move into a take-control mode of decision-making and problem solving.
3. Keep your sense of humor in shape. It needs to be exercised, just like your body, so it serves you when you need it. Loosen up a bit. And laugh. I actually collect humorous things, keep them on hand, and look at them once in a while to keep me stress resistant. Once such thing was a Halloween card from my friend. It contained “The Top 10 Most Frightening Country Song Titles” including” You Can’t Have Your Kate And Edith Too,” “I’m So Miserable Without You, It’s Like Having You Here,” “Mama, Get The Hammer (There’s A Fly On Papa’s Head)” and “Welcome To Dumpsville, Population U” This got me laughing and my stress for that moment, and that day, just slipped away. Don’t let stress get you down. Take it down, instead! SVBS
Alan Zimmerman, PhD has spoken to more than one million people across the United States and around the world, giving them the tools they need to achieve their goals on and off the job. As a prominent, sought-after author and speaker, Dr. Zimmerman works with a variety of organizations and professional associations. His clients universally characterize him as genuine, down-to-earth, practical, and powerful. Dr. Zimmerman has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions in the fields of attitude, communication, leadership, and speaking. Most recently, the National Speakers Association awarded him its highest honor, the Council of Peers Award of Excellence.