A common myth about stress is that zero stress makes us happy and healthy, but the American Psychology Association says otherwise. “Stress can be the kiss of death or the spice of life,” comparing it to tension on a violin string: too little tension on the string produces sounds that are dull or raspy, but too much tension can potentially snap it.
Michelle Cummings, Co-Founder of Personify Leadership, talks about how to manage the right amount of stress. Too little can create boredom among your employees, while too much can overwhelm them. Finding the sweet spot will keep tasks interesting and challenging enough to be motivating.
What are some of your businesses stresses? How do you regulate or manage a comfortable balance?
Michelle Cummings: We define it as being able to adapt to stressful relationships and situations in the workplace. People really need to be able to look at the levels of stress that they have and also know what their stress triggers are and how it affects their leadership. So if you have too little stress, what does your performance look like? Probably complacent, maybe a little bit bored. The right amount of stress is actually okay. That’s kind of when you feel in the groove, you’re knocking stuff off your to do list.
When you start getting too much stress, then all of a sudden that’s where things start to break down. We’re all going to have stressful days, but your body actually gives you several triggers. We all have our own individual biofeedback and then behaviors of what we do when we get stressed. So, what we teach in the course is actually for you to have the self awareness around what your own biofeedback is when you start to get stressed, actually kind of take you to a stress place where you’re listing out all the things and it could be from work. It could be from home or whatever.
Then after that, we look at what are things that I have authority over, things that I have influence over and things that I have no control over, and start to look at that and then actually categorize, go back to my list of stressors and actually look at that and say, “Okay, am I stressing out of things that I have no control over or am I actually stressing over things that are within my control?”