Clearing the Fog: The Importance of Perspective
We have all heard the pop psychology advice about separating work from home life. However, most – if not all – of us experience these moments of blended stress when the two come together, particularly when a job demands a lot of time and energy. CEOs and executives in particular face these straining commitments daily. Fortunately for lifelong learning leaders, there are two solutions to these intermingling problems with perspective: control and communication.
Control (regaining it, physically and mentally)
Leadership benefits from control management; a good leader knows when to take the reins and when to delegate responsibilities to others. In moments of blended stress, your focus should be on regaining control. It’s unrealistic to expect that pressing personal issues will never affect your work day. But you can, and should, manage the stress.
There is a four-step common-sense process to quickly regain control.
1. Take a few deep breaths. Stress affects us physically and mentally; regain control by mitigating the physical symptoms of your stress first.
2. Gather your thoughts. You may not realize it, but blended stress causes our thoughts to be disorganized and panicked. Try to calm your mind and separate the issues. Are you in a defeatist or self-condemning mindset? It’s paramount that you change your inner dialogue to a positive one to control your emotions.
3. Reflect on your stressors. Clearly organize the top few concerns that are stressing you into two categories: personal and work. What can you deal with right now? What can you set aside for later?
4. Choose a course of action. Stress builds when we allow it to stay in the forefront of our minds, but do not work to resolve it. Choosing a course of action doesn’t need to be complicated; it just needs to be clear. It could be as simple as deciding, “I am going to make time to write an email to the Accounting Team at 4 p.m.”
Emotionally charged states can cloud our vision at times; it is a leader’s responsibility to clear the fog out of their head and take control of their personal and professional challenges.
Sharing and Communication
It’s been said that, “it’s lonely at the top.” Stress can make anyone feel small and isolated, so it’s important to keep in mind that you are not alone. Even strong leaders need somewhere to share their failures, fears and anxieties. No one improves as a person or as a business leader on their own. Every leader should have a network or sounding board to turn to when the need arises. This is one of the primary reasons why Vistage Groups exist – to give executives a confidential, judgment-free, supportive environment.
Mastering emotional stability is made easier when you know that others are experiencing the same issues. Vistage Groups allow leaders to share without personal shame or potential fallout within one’s organization.
Being a good leader doesn’t mean that you have all the answers. It means that you are committed to lifelong learning and improvement. Emotions may get the better of you, and your work stresses may affect your home life or vice versa, but a strong leader will make it an actionable goal to learn how to manage these blended stresses. When you’re faced with these types of challenges, instead of giving in to anxiety and stress, reassert control and seek help from supportive confidants: you’ll clear your mind and be ready to find solutions.