The break up.

I need to share something: In the next two weeks I’ve got FIVE reasonably big projects to land at work. And it’s turning  me into a little stress  monster. Lots of people to line up, and make sure that they’re all doing the right thing so that we’ll deliver – on time, on quality and on budget.

Apparently – according to the lovely dudes and dudettes I work with – I have my *cranky* pants on every now and again. Scarcely believable, I know.

I pride myself on being open, honest and proactive in the way I deal with everyday life, work and stuff. I’ll always try not to avoid a challenging situation. I’d rather face into something, as opposed to going “La la la” and sticking my head in the sand. And I’m usually the first to say sorry when I’ve screwed up.

But when I get stressed / frazzled / rattled it’s a bit different.  My head tells me that I need to maintain an air of calm whilst everyone else is potenitally losing their heads. Therefore its usually at this point that I invariably try and keep things to myself; to stick a lid on my emotions. The problem with airing my concerns is that I don’t like feeling like I am being negative or needy. Or any other N word you can think of for that matter.  Doesn’t sit well with me.

However I’ve slowly come to the realisation that keeping it buttoned simply isn’t good for the soul. Or for the team either. It just means I’m not dealing with the situation. And worse still it means I’m not sharing the burden or asking for help with it.

It goes totally against my nature, but it’s actually felt quite liberating to get into the habit of sharing my concerns with the team I work with. Five minute stand up meetings at the beginning of every day – a quick reality check on who is doing what, when and how – are now de rigour. That way everyone knows what they need to focus on delivering. If there are any issues that get flagged then we can regroup later and adapt our plans if necessary. And the most important bit – we’re all looking out for each other.

The lesson I’ve learnt is that you don’t alleviate stress by trying to deny its existence. Or by keeping a lid on it. So me and the stress monster are breaking up. In a good way. Funny the little lessons you learn along the way…

2 thoughts on “The break up.

    • Good question. The HSE describe it as: The process that arises where work demands of various types and combinations exceed the person’s capacity and capability to cope.

      Project management (which is the nuts and bolts of what I do… well kind of) was described to me years ago as being similar to plate spinning. A good project manager is dextrous enough to keep multiple plates spinning in the air at any time; to start them off and to know exactly when to go back and spin a plate some more etc. For me managing multiple projects with lots of different dependencies / stakeholders etc. is exactly like that.

      When I take on too much I get stressed – or at least my understanding of stressed – I get forgetful, I dont think things through far enough and I make mistakes. I’m sure you could describe that as anxiety too. Whatever you call it to me it’s like someone has given me two 24 piece dinner sets – started them all spinning – and told me to keep them all in the air. Ermm. Simply not going to happen. A major goomph moment on the horizon.

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