7 Ways To Overcome Work Related Stress
Sometimes as a solo consultant or coach you find it hard to battle through the tough times. Times when things are not going right. You feel anxious, your heart pounds, stress levels are up, you can’t get to sleep. You feel alone.
Here are 7 Ways To Overcome Work Related Stress
Working as an independent solo consultant or coach can really tax your mental state of mind. You close a great deal, have a really positive consultation with a client, help the client achieve a measurable success, and you are walking tall for days afterwards. But then there are darker days, days where quite frankly everything seems to conspire against you. You lose a deal, a client complains about your performance, the ‘Project Positive’ you are working on suddenly turns into ‘Project Death Spiral’, your laptop suddenly hates you, and the dog decides to barf all over your carpet.
Some projects go easily, some don’t. Some people are easy to get on with, others are a nightmare. These highs and lows are just part of your chosen professional life. After working many years as a consultant and coach I would love to tell you that you do get used to this emotional rollercoaster – but actually you don’t.
But you do build a mental resilience to protect your sanity during times of trouble. You get hardened if you like, able to enjoy the highs and to withstand the turbulence. Actually, turbulence is probably a good analogy. You are flying high one day, and then suddenly you find yourself bouncing and shaking around. A feeling of not being in control. Eventually you pass through the turbulence and everything returns to a calm and steady state.
It is during the turbulence that it is easy to lose sight of your inner compass. You can become disheartened and demoralised, and you perspective becomes distorted, stopping you from seeing your way through whatever problem you are facing.
So here are 7 ways to help you get through the rough times in consulting:
- Identify the Cause and Not the Fault. Take a few moments to try to understand what has actually caused the turbulence you find yourself in. Drill past obvious ambiguities like “I never stood a chance of winning that contract” to find the real issue “I didn’t do enough research on the client’s current position”, or “I didn’t prepare for the meeting”. Look for the cause and then decide on what action you will take to avoid the same thing happening in the future.
- Get over it. People make mistakes, especially you. So whether it was your fault or the fault of someone else, don’t obsess over it. Stuff happens, so move on.
- However desperate your situation seems, recognise that things could be worse, and in reality, your situation probably isn’t as bad as the devil in your mind is telling you it is. You lost the client, but there will be others. You screwed up the meeting, but there will be others. The project went south, but there will be others. Life goes on.
- Leave the pain behind and go do something you love to do. I have worked away from home very frequently over the years, sometimes for protracted periods of time. When things got stressed, I left the client’s office and went for a walk around the block. Time to cool down, to calm down, to regain perspective. If you are at home, go walk the dog, go for a bike ride, wash the car, cut the lawn. Distract yourself for a while and when you return to your issue, you may find that it wasn’t that bad after all!
- Relive your successes. Think back to your successes, even if they are not actually work related. Close your eyes and relive the moment. Think about how you felt at the time. Try to spirit up the same feeling. Recognise that you have been successful in the past, and you will be again.
- Find a trusted mentor, someone with whom you can bounce the situation off. Someone who will give you an objective opinion and talk through the situation with you. What has happened and why you think it happened. Get their take on it. Are you missing something? Are you being even a tad unreasonable? What action should you take next?
- Watch the News. My final piece of advice is this – when you are feeling low, watch the news and recognise that there are thousands of people in the world, probably millions of people, who would love to have the problems you have.
So there you have it, my top 7 Ways To Help You Overcome Work Related Stress in Consulting
Remember, if you have a burning question on any aspect of starting a consulting or coaching business or running an existing practice, reach out and I’ll do my best to respond.