Wear & Tears

Wear & Tears

Wear & Tears

It is quite normal for perhaps 50% of the people who come to us for help to shed a few tears at some stage of their mentoring or coaching journey. Facing who you are at the same time as working out who you want to be is a fairly traumatic business especially if you are already under stress at work or at home. In the last year or so the proportion of clients who cry has increased to over 90%. Why is that? It can’t all be down to wanton acts of violence and wickedness such as the one at Westminster recently. In fact, these events have a bigger impact than we imagine and add to the stress and anxiety that we already live with.

Some stress is good for us. Most people perform best with a little of it. It keeps us on our toes and turns the wheels of our minds. But too much is bad; it can make us ill. How can we judge what is too much? How do we keep it under control? When it becomes excessive what must we do to cope with it?

The mind is a strange place. It is a bit like a witches cauldron, steaming away all the time, mostly out of sight and packed full of spices (emotions) that we cannot clearly detect or define. It niggles away, sometimes in dreams at night, often when we are trapped in a pointless meeting and have read all the incoming mails on our mobile phone. As far as we know the mind never really sleeps in the sense in which we use the word.

Resolving stress, as with all the problems we face, starts with analysis and that begins with clarity. Confused stress is the worst sort, it eats your spirit, destroys whatever is your soul. Clarity is achieved by writing down what you think, marshaling it into order and seeing the possible logical and creative solutions. Take a simple example. Imagine you have an important meeting at eight in the morning and you have overslept enough to run yourself seriously short of time to prepare yourself for the day. If you are sensible you will stop for a minute or two and work out what are the priorities and what can be left until later.

Many people, on finding they have overslept, panic, rush about hither and thither trying, in vain, to achieve their normal routine. Since this is impossible they suffer immense stress, and arrive for their meeting distraught and unprepared. All for the sake of a couple of minutes pause. Most stress is not as immediate as waking up late. It builds up slowly. Its incremental progress is often imperceptible between one day and the next. It builds relentlessly. Soon this level of stress will demand attention. You have to deal with it.

You may be forced by circumstances to handle this on your own. Time, cost, lack of someone suitable to discuss it with can all lead to your having to cope without help. If you can, try to have someone else to talk to at this stage. Worries always get clearer when a reasonably intelligent friend listens to them. Engagement and interaction are wonderful enemas of the mind.

If you must do it alone be very methodical. Above all, be clear. That means being honest with yourself. Others may flatter or denigrate you, to their advantage. The person who must not do that is you.

When you are honest you are well on the way to solving your problems.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…