How to Be Yourself When You’re in a Stressful Environment
You’re bouncing between message threads for eight projects, handling two complaints, haven’t yet checked email yet, and your supervisor just walked in. The phone is ringing again, you’re presenting at a client meeting in fifteen minutes, and your coffee cup is empty.
Everyone expects you to solve their problem now. The only correct answer is ‘Yes, I can do that,’ ‘fix that,’ and ‘be that for you’ no matter what it takes. You know you do a great job and you value that about yourself. But shouldn’t it feel better? How can you do a great job with more ease?
Know what works for you
One great place to start is to know what works for you. Which parts of your job and work environment do you enjoy? Which ones are you neutral about? Which do you dislike? And which parts are so incongruent with who you are that they are crushing your soul? The target is to eliminate the crushers, minimize the parts you dislike, and maximize the parts you enjoy.
Get clear on what is required
Next, get clear on what is required. What do you truly require to be or do to succeed? What does everyone think is required? People project that you need to be like them, and that work needs to look the way they think it should. Does their way work for you or do you know a different way? What assumption, attitude, or action can you change to create more ease for you? You don’t have to bring others along. If your coworkers require that the job be hard, agree that yes, the job is very hard. If your boss demands a certain stress level to prove you are a high performer, furrow your brow and feed them stress energy when in their presence. Just don’t buy any of it as real and true for you if it isn’t. Be willing to manipulate. Be willing to have the job be easy for you.
Now that you have greater clarity on what you and others require, here are eight more strategies for creating ease in a stressful environment by being yourself.
Be willing to be different. Sometimes being a little quirky can go a long way to shifting expectations in a way that creates ease. Use your sense of humor to lighten the day, even if only silently to yourself.
Be great at what you do. It will give others a reason to tolerate, or even appreciate, your quirks.
Drop the competition—living in a win/lose world is stressful. Do your job and contribute what you know to create better outcomes or a healthier environment for everyone. Express gratitude for the contributions of others. Also, don’t be a doormat.
When you make a mistake, acknowledge it, correct it if you can, and move on. No need to defend or justify. “Oh, you’re right! I didn’t include that piece. I’ll have it for you this afternoon. Thank you for catching that.” Let go of the need to prove you are perfect, or better, smarter, faster, or harder working than anyone else. Congratulate others on being better, smarter, faster or whatever acknowledgement they require and enjoy the ease of being you.
Take a break. I laid on the floor for 10-20 minutes of my lunch time, even when working in an open cubicle space (see “quirk” above). The horizontal position reset my energy level, which boosted afternoon productivity. Some co-workers felt uncomfortable and thought I was weird. I was okay with that. I knew it contributed to me and to my employer. I didn’t ask permission, I just did it as if, of course, why would one not?
Lying on the floor is not for everyone or every workspace. Another option is to move your body. Take the stairs to a restroom on a different floor or take a walk at lunch, even if it’s just around the block. After I had an office with a door, I sometimes jogged in place or did stretches during teleconferences. Find some nature. Look out a window and notice a tree, or flowers, or clouds. Spend a moment in gratitude for your partner or child. It only takes a moment to breathe and notice there is more to this world than a desk, phone, computer, and unsatisfiable people. Find the break that works for you.
Be willing to say “No.” If someone asks you to do something outside your personal ethics or that requires you to give up the thing that makes your life worth living, say No. It can be as easy as “I’m sorry. That information is confidential. I can’t share it with you.” Or “I’m not available for that project. How about Joe? He’d be great. And I can loan you these resources that may help.”
Be willing to walk away. You have choice. You are only bound by your income and status, those golden handcuffs, or your and other’s expectations if you choose to be. If you are truly willing to walk away, you will be clearer about what is required, more successful at saying No, less stressed, and more you. You may find you exceed your performance goals with more ease and can ask for and receive changes that increase your job and life satisfaction even more.
For more tips and examples of how to be yourself in all areas of life, check out the book, The Greatest Adventure…is You Truly Being You, from Being You Adventures.
About the Author: Kristen Tromble grew up in the Midwest in an amazingly functional family with parents who did everything correct—and yet she was silently miserable and depressed. For many years she worked as a researcher and data analyst. Years later, she left the predictable job, retirement plan, and comfortable house, and began the out-of-the box adventure that led her to the tools of Access Consciousness®. She is an Access Consciousness Certified Facilitator, a Being You and a Maestro of Symphony Sessions. Her story was recently featured in the book The Very Greatest Adventure. She’s an approved instructor by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and a member of the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. She has studied and practiced several energetic modalities including Jin Shin Jyutsu acupressure, Matrix Energetics, Reiki, and Quantum Touch. Follow Kristen.