Whenever I engage with a new client, one of the first gifts they receive from me is David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. This is because when you have decided claim more of your potential, greater personal discipline is required of you.
If you don’t harness the power of personal discipline as you undertake adopting a new mindset and actions, you can experience a lot of stress and overwhelm.
David’s book teaches you how to go about accomplishing your projects and activities in the most productive and rewarding way, addressing both mindset and organized actions. His system in itself can avoid a lot of stress when it comes to the actual work you must do to produce.
One of the philosophies he teaches is to develop a “mind like water.”
“Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact. Water is what it is, and does what it does. It can overwhelm, but it’s not overwhelmed. It can be still, but it is not impatient. It can be forced to change course, but it is not frustrated. Get it?” (p. 12)
But David’s method is just part of what we need to restructure how we undertake initiatives, and to learn to approach life and work in a way that is less stressful and more fulfilling and at ease.
The way you start out your morning is very important to how you shape and create the rest of your day. If you haven’t yet received my training on “Your Morning Success Routine: 3 Steps for More Clarity, Focus, and Productivity,” click here.
But you also need tools to de-stress “on the go” for those times when you weren’t able to go through your morning routine, or you hit a particularly tough situation.
Here are 3 steps that, when followed, serve well as a booster shot of “calm, cool, and collected” to help you work through those stressful moments:
1. Stop. When faced with a stressful situation, your immediate impulse is probably to react. Instead, begin to consider this type of condition as a signal that you need to pause for a moment to collect your personal resources. If the building isn’t on fire, you can stop for a moment.
2. Breathe. In your moment of pause, take 3 deep cleansing breaths. In through the nose, softly out through the mouth. Try to feel your intake breath travel up through your nostrils, down your throat, into your chest and deeper lungs, release slowly and evenly. This has a great calming effect on your body, and prepares you to take better control of the situation.
3. Think. Instead of reacting, respond. This means to think carefully before you reply to the situation. What is the ultimate outcome you desire? How can you get this? Who are the key players, resources, tools you need? This approach will take you from triggered to in control as you work through steps to resolve the source of stress.
If you find that you continue to face the same stress on a regular basis, then you know deep inside that it is time for a change. The stress isn’t worth your health or happiness – and the world needs the gifts you can contribute when you are no longer leashed to those things that keep you playing it small.
Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.