Yes, You Can Get Ahead Without Losing Your Mind!
I got this question from one client, but it’s a question I hear frequently. If this resonates for you, please share!
Q: I want to move up in my organization, but in this culture you’ve got to move fast and always be producing. It’s very stressful! How can I be ambitious without becoming as stressed as so many my colleagues?
Remember that stress is self-induced—we create it via the story we tell ourselves about what happens, so pay attention to your stories. Do you see critical feedback as an attack or as a gift that will help you do better the next time?
Learn and practice the difference between aggression and assertiveness. Using the Push energy of the Warrior can help you advance quickly, but if that’s how you always show up you’ll earn a reputation for running over people. Plus, holding aggressive emotions means you’ll spend much time bathing your system in adrenalin and cortisol, feeding your stress and exhausting you and everyone around you.
Instead, nurture in yourself the stability of confidence. Hold your space, offering solid ideas and opinions, without crushing others. The emotions that support assertiveness, such as calm, confidence, and dignity, release a more supportive chemical mix, e.g. dopamine and serotonin, that also help you be more resilient when you do have the occasional stumble.
To help you keep perspective on those stumbles, take time to learn from other successful people. Read or listen to books and podcasts; you will quickly learn that nearly every success story includes one or multiple failures along the way. What separates those role models from the rest was often perseverance. Learn from them how to fall down and get back up to try again, for that is what ambitious people do. They tell themselves the story, “this will pass,” and they channel their stress into optimism and looking for possibility instead of obstacles.
Finally, pay attention to other domains of your life. Strive to keep career advancement balanced with personal and self-care time. If you keep your “oxygen tank” filled, you’ll find it much easier to pull from your reserves when you need a bit more to get to that next level.
Remember, Leadership is not about a title. Anyone can be a Leader who leverages the power of story telling to generate positive chemical responses in themselves and others; positive stories create positive conversations create positive cultures!