31 Mar Six performance tips for stressed IT pros
Levels of stress seem to be on the rise everywhere. How we deal with it affects our performance and career success. Career and leadership coach John M. McKee offers six tips and tactics that have helped his clients in demanding times.
“I’m stressed out. The environment around here is bad, and it’s getting worse. I’m concerned that the economy’s going to take a long time get back to normal – if it ever does.”
I hear a lot of comments like this. But in this case, the speaker is a client who’s actually a successful leader. She works in an organization that seems to be bulletproof when it comes to the recession’s effects. There seems to be no risk to her at this stage. “So,” you might ask, “why is SHE concerned?”
I think there are several, very compelling reasons for the way she’s feeling. A lot of people are being impacted in a similar way:
– Every day we hear how bad the economy is. Even if you’re not getting downsized, or losing a mortgage, or trying to recover some of your lost investments, you’re exposed to the news everyday and everywhere. Like a healthy person eating junk food, it all starts building up internally. You can lose perspective, becoming more emotional and stressed out.
– There seems to be little precedent for this gloomy, worldwide situation. Usually, when times are tough, we can look to leaders, experts, or older or wiser individuals for guidance based on experience. It’s comforting during a crisis to hear someone say that they’ve seen this before, and they know what to do to fix this thing. But this time seems different. Further, it seems worse than before. And everyone seems to be just guessing. Looking for guidance, we often hear conflicting feedback. Consequently, on a subconscious level, our minds keep engaged on the subject. We can’t get that nourishing sleep or enjoy the good times quite like we did before.
– People’s fight or flight response may kick in but not have any outlet. So your body gets charged up, ready to take action. But instead, you’re spending time in the office, the car, or at home, and you’re not doing anything physical. Your body and your psyche then react in a bad way because our systemic responses were designed to deal with problems physically. Likewise, very few people regularly do things to calm down those hormones and enzymes through mental practices.
Each of these reasons is insidious. Any one of them can create enough stress to cause someone who is physically and emotionally healthy to start exhibiting unhealthy symptoms. When combined, these three reasons could be a recipe for a disaster if they aren’t dealt with effectively. Stress causes individuals to perform more poorly in all three key life aspects: career, personal, and financial. Most of us know that to be the case, but we don’t do much about it.
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