It’s OK to say “what if”, but with a caveat. Many experts say we should never use this phrase. I say: How are you supposed to make sound decisions if you don’t know all the consequences of your alternatives? Suppose you owe money, and you can’t pay it this month. What if you (A) do nothing (then you’ll receive collections calls or have to pay fines or have services cut off); (B) remit a partial payment and hope for the best (you could still receive collection calls/fines/service cuts); or (C) call the company and negotiate a payment plan (then you won’t lose any more sleep over this debt). “What ifs” are fine, but only if you follow through with alternatives — and hopefully choose the one that lets you sleep at night.
Since we know that a certain amount of stress is good for us — and that some stress is inevitable — we shouldn’t add insult to injury. For instance; if you get into heated conversations about religion or politics (that would be me), avoid hot-button topics during times of stress. Most stress is caused by outside forces. Don’t add to your natural aggravation by allowing yourself to be drawn into stress dead-ends. You can still debate, but do it when things are less stressed. Instead, watch comedy on TV; listen to mellow music; read; exercise…you get the drift. You are in charge of a goodly percentage of your stress.
Here’s a stress-buster for you. Some experts say we should never say “what if” when faced with a possible unexpected bad outcome, because it causes us to visit the darkest, most horrible of outcomes. They want us to say, “What are my alternatives?” when we run into a challenge. I believe it shouldn’t be one or the other, but both. Let’s look at the stages: Stuff happened. Your natural stress was triggered because of the stuff happening. You chose alternatives. You took action Before I choose alternatives, I always look at “what if”, but just for a moment; I want to be prepared for the worst, just in case. Then I list my alternatives, pick one of them and go with it. It has worked for me for many years and gives me less stress because I have a plan.
So if stress is good — if it is the reason we take action on anything at all — then how do we know when we have stress overload? Experts say there are 4 categories where too much stress can have bad results: cognitive, behavioral, physical and emotional. Three cognitive signs are inability to concentrate, constant worrying and seeing negativity everywhere. Behavioral stress can manifest in things like procrastinating too much, eating too much or alcohol abuse. Too much stress can affect us emotionally by causing moodiness or agitation and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Physical results of too much stress include aches and pains, more colds and a lowered immune system. You can see how these things can hurt not only your life, but also your business. My next tip will cover some ways to combat stress.
Stress gets a bad rap. Without stress, nothing would ever get done. Small doses of stress give us those bursts of energy that motivate us. It’s a good thing. Stress also produces the fight-or-flight response we need to survive. When it becomes a problem is when it stays around too long. Then your concentration packs up and goes on vacation, and you could even fall ill. Researchers believe that some stress can help to fortify the immune system, improve how your heart works and protect your body from infection. In order to be productive in life or your business, embrace reasonable amounts of stress. In my next tip: how to know when you have too much of a good thing!
Please remember this tip during times of family stress: Part of the entrepreneurial DNA has in its makeup a tendency toward being a control freak. We are the boss on a day-to-day basis, and we never let them see us sweat. Always in control. Then stuff happens. An illness in the family, or some other challenge outside of work. You have to work in your business, but you have to take care of family emergencies as well. You find yourself overwhelmed. My tip: Admit it, and ask for help. Your family members and friends are there for you; you just have to let go of some things. Use your boss skills, and delegate. It will save your health and get the job done.
For a moment during the eBay Radio Party & Conference, I thought about the few little glitches that happened. But instead of immediately going into Post-Project Distress Disorder, I thought of all the goals we reached and remembered the all-important debriefing meeting. Our event team is scheduled for that debriefing tomorrow, at which time all that happened during the event — both good and challenging — will be discussed, along with solutions for our future events. If you have a partner, advisor or other eBay seller with whom you can discuss challenges, wins and solutions, do so on a regular basis. Our team meets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for at least an hour. You can make it 15 minutes, if you like, and once a week, whatever; just make it a part of your routine. That way you have a scheduled way to handle challenges and can spend the rest of your time and energy in joy and contentment.
This is a reminder to keep calm when times are tough. What’s the first thing you do when you get bad news? Panic? Feel anxious? Fetal position in bed? Call a friend? Liquor cabinet? It’s OK to feel panic or anxiety or both. It’s your own body asking, “Should we fight or flee?” So that’s awesome; we know that the panic is natural. Here is the tip: Successful people get over panic quickly, then look for alternatives for solving the issue or at least dealing with it. Some people do it naturally — maybe due to their family, maybe thanks to a mentor. Keeping cool when bad news hits can be a learned skill. Try it. Right after the panic hits, relax; count to ten slowly (or meditate if you can); and decide on your alternatives. It works.