Tue | Jun 15, 2021

Don't let stress kill your career

Published:Sunday | May 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The ultimate currencies of career success are energy and focus. How well are you doing with them?

Do you habitually give your most important tasks your undivided attention long enough to actually get them done on time? If you can, you're halfway on the journey to success.

Do you have the physical, mental and emotional energy to be passionately engaged in what you're doing, while you're doing it? Being able to do this will take you all the way.

Among the many enemies of focus and high energy is the stress caused by personal problems. Whether it's an illness, mounting debts and unpaid bills, conflict with your child, problems with your spouse, loneliness, or exam stress, it can adversely affect your moods and productivity.

Maybe you find your mind wandering, thinking about the hurtful words your spouse said to you, or how he or she doesn't care about you or understands you. Perhaps you spend valuable time visiting your child's school for his frequent infractions. These things present a twofold problem.

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For one, they rob you of the necessary energy, drive and passion to do your job. In addition, they distract you physically from focusing on your job.

It's often hard to be friendly, polite, and professional with colleagues and customers when you're feeling stressed out. Doing your best becomes impossible when you're worried about paying your bills or anxious about the possibility you might have cancer.

Notwithstanding the difficulty of staying focused and engaged, however, it's something you have to do. Otherwise, your job performance will suffer. Your dour attitude may also turn off co-workers. Either of these could lead to you losing your job, all because your personal problems got the better of you.

To prevent this from happening to you, here are three strategies which are guaranteed to help.

1. Talk it out

Don't bottle up your feelings of anger, worry, frustration, or hurt inside. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, counsellor at work, or your pastor will prove cathartic. You don't have to tell the world your business, but you need an understanding person to share your issues with. They might not be able to help, but just by talking it out, you'll feel better.

2. Do physical exercise

Yes, it's scientifically proven that exercise helps to reduce stress, and actually makes you feel more hopeful and positive. That's because of the hormones that are released in your bloodstream during exercise and the increased flow of oxygen to your brain. Take a 30-minute walk. Work out at the gym. Play your favourite sport three times per week.

3. Pray, meditate and worship

Attend to your spirit. You're not just a physical, emotional and mental being, you're also spiritual. You don't have to be a Christian to pray; every human being is sustained by his or her spiritual creator.

Daily meditation helps to quiet your erratic internal dialogue and helps you become more peaceful within.

Disconnect from work activities and attend church. Singing spiritual hymns and being among others will prove very calming.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of a new book 'From Problems to Power: How to Win Over Worry and Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities'. Email glenfordsmith@yahoo.com.