Global Wellness Day is here! June 8, is set aside for us to reflect on what it takes to get and stay well in our change-crazy world. Whilst there are many smart routines, diets, and activities that help, I think we are often the main architects of our own stress. We set ourselves up for failure by creating a pressure cooker of unrealistic expectations. In this blog, I kick around some ideas that may help to wind back your personal stress dial.
Have you noticed that successful people have a knack for making their life look a little less bumpy than yours. They appear to glide across life’s challenges, unfazed by the everyday dramas that conspires to frustrate your progress. If your dream is to make a great living as a business owner, entrepreneur or consultant, this lightness of touch can seem both attractive and inaccessible.
It’s not like in the movies
Would that we could live in the unreality of the silver screen. There’s a lot less friction. In Braveheart for example, Mel Gibson delivers the mother of all pre-match talks to thousands of very angry, very blue Scots. Not a “pardon” or “sorry we didn’t quite catch that at the back” to be heard. Russell Crowe did the same in Gladiator and more recently, Daenerys, our favourite G.O.T. Dragon Queen was ‘encouraging’ an entire city from the top of a very long flight of stairs. Look, no microphone! Meanwhile, in the real world, I struggle to hear from the other end of a table for 6 in a busy restaurant.
Got a TARDIS?
Likewise, travel and parking is never a problem. Exhibit 1. – a typical episode of The Good Wife. The love-hate-love law partners slide effortlessly between office, court, office, home, court, restaurant, lover’s home, office – like Time Lords. No traffic or sweating on a parking spot. No cursing cancelled trains, planes and meetings. Back on my planet earth, I’ve been wrestling with an incontinent cat, digital castration and had to interrupt a client call to remove a very large spider from my daughter’s car. Sound familiar?
Keeping it real
The point? We’ve all got our own drama going on. A big part of moving into a successful future is to function in our reality – to succeed in spite of these petty (and not-so-petty) irritations. The secret is to embrace and share the drama rather than pretend it doesn’t exist.
Drop the facade
The good news is that we can drop the act. In fact, we can even improve our appeal by acknowledging that we live in a real world full of distractions, fears and unvoiced priorities (like getting to our kid’s swimming carnival). There has been a shift. We no longer need to pretend that we have all of our shit together.
Small is now cool
Time was when companies would only do business with established suppliers with their own city offices. Today, companies understand that some of the best minds are working on their own or as part of small collaborative ventures. Their ‘offices’ may be the local coffee shop or a converted garage. And that’s OK.
Embracing our truth is powerful
One of my consultant colleagues, Christina Guidotti, is a master of empathy. The first thing she does in a workshop is to share her story. She talks about her family, her aspirations, mistakes she has made along the way and what she has learned from them. Then she asks everyone in the room to do the same. It doesn’t feel very ‘business-like’, but it’s stunningly effective. Posturing evaporates. Platitudes crumble. Real problems quickly surface and we get to work on solving them. Being vulnerable, personal and authentic is in fact very smart business.
The people who matter don’t mind
Of course, there are still a lot of customers who will only buy old-school. That’s fine. They will never work with you. What’s important is there are more than enough who ‘get’ that your ability to solve their problems is more important than your post code. They value your expertise, agility and ‘Get Shit Done’ mentality more than the formalities of an antiquated business charade.
To succeed we no longer need to be micro-versions of established businesses. We can be successful and still get to do the important things in our world. And if we’re a little ragged around the edges occasionally – who really cares?