“How Do I Deal with Me?”
This post is inspired by a woman who attended my stress management presentation last week and wanted to know:
“How do I deal with me?”
No matter where she went, she shared, she felt stressed. She began to think she was in fact the problem.
After a solid discussion with the group, she asked me to share more of my story and how I learned to deal with stress in a variety of situations.
Several women approached me and thanked me for sharing more of my story. It hit home and got their wheels spinning.
I share it today hoping it provides some insight (not a solution) to you or someone you know who may be dealing with a lot of negative stress.
I left the corporate world in 2006 due to stress. I was angry, irritated and didn’t have the tools I needed to manage how I felt. I became self-employed believing that my stress would disappear.
How naive. I felt broken and wondered if I would ever feel satisfied with my work. “What is wrong with me!” I needed to dig deeper to figure it out.
Here is a short version of the process I went through:
Identify limiting beliefs. I needed to know more than what I was afraid of, I needed to know “why”. Turns out stories like “If you want to be successful, work isn’t fun. You have to suck it up.” Or “no one needs to know your business,” were keeping me stuck. I wanted to enjoy my work and I needed to tell people about it!
As a corporate professional I realized that my primary trigger – authority figures – had more to do with my unresolved “mom and dad issues” than the work itself. Some healing of the past had to be done.
Distance myself from friends/family. I distanced myself from friends/family who held those limiting beliefs so I could create my own. I didn’t call them as often, I didn’t share business ideas, goals or successes at first. Although necessary, this was extremely difficult.
Find time for quiet. I needed to clear all distractions, noise and clutter in order to listen closely to me. I had always had a vision of my ideal work – environment, the people I’m with and the work itself. Time for quiet (for me silent meditation worked) allowed me to access that vision and make it a reality.
Reframe my beliefs. In that quiet time I was able to see more clearly what I believed and what I wanted out of my work and my life. I journaled a lot.
Surround myself with supportive people. Now that I knew what I wanted, I needed to surround myself with supportive people who could help and encourage me. And for whom I could do the same.
Build my confidence. Building my confidence allowed me to more effectively communicate with others and speak up for myself and what I believe. (couldn’t separate myself from family forever!) This meant taking risks and doing things that scared me knowing good would come of the actions I took.
Then, and only then, was I able to deal with difficult people, have the confidence to speak up for myself, juggle multiple priorities and deal with “me” in a variety of situations. I knew who I was, what I believed, and how I could best help people. I said no to things that didn’t take me down that path. (I mention this because these are common work stress issues.)
It’s a constant and often challenging cycle that doesn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of tears, time, frustration, support and healing. Every day I practice dealing with me so I can better relate to the people around me.
Whether in your personal or professional life, you are the common denominator. If you’re stressed, you’ll most likely be stressed no matter where you are. Feeling good about your life, your work, your relationships, your environment starts with feeling good about you. Finding strategies that fit your lifestyle is a must if you want to learn how to deal with you.
(In the next post I’ll share some of the questions I asked myself that really helped the process.)
How about you? How do you deal with you? Do you have strategies in place?