How To Use Stress To Your Advantage
Have you ever heard the saying, “Mother Nature makes everything stronger with a little stress?” I think Doers may naturally use stress to their advantage as a way to propel them toward greater things. So the next time a stressor hits, immediately ask yourself what opportunity is that stressor signaling you to do?
A couple years ago I was introduced to a company whose CEO, Arnie, had built a company around stressing agricultural seeds to increase yields and decrease the amount of fertilizer needed. WOW! What an incredible opportunity to change agriculture and to be able to feed the next 3 billion.
As I was learning more about his business, I remembered that a scientists from Cornell University once told me the very phrase I quoted above: “Mother Nature makes everything stronger with a little stress.”
You notice I said a little stress. That made me think about you incredible and extraordinary Doers and many of your stories, especially the last blog about Summer Germann and Brave Gowns. The stress of watching her 10-year-old brother take his last breath made her commit to a life of purpose. Then later, the stress of keeping the business going while she was cleaning her rental property made her make another critical decision—to focus on Brave Gowns exclusively.
So what if we looked at those common everyday stresses as Mother Nature’s way of keeping us from becoming too complacent or too comfortable. I know, especially with me, some of my best thought processes and immediate actions come in response to stress.
I will give you a recent case in point. A friend of ours has come on some tough financial times. His friends are rallying to help, but more important than that, the situation is bringing some business opportunities to life that can not only help our friend out of the situation, but also give these businesses some love as well. The point being, none of the businesses would have gotten any attention without his stress as a catalyst. Which begs the question, do you use stress to make yourself more creative, more prolific and more active in your cause or purposeful life?
Just like the agricultural seed that needs a little stress to increase its yield, Doers need to recognize stress, when it comes, as opportunity. Opportunity to take what we are doing up a level or even change direction.
It also reminds me of all my friends who are longtime corporate warriors now facing retirement, and in many cases, a mandatory retirement. When I talk to them in real time, as they are facing the imminent day of retirement, they are petrified and wondering how it is going to work out. But usually when I talk to them three months later, they are busier than they ever thought, making more money than they did, and having a blast. YEP! It happens all the time because the stress of retirement (I realize that might seem an oxymoron to some) pushed most of them to make the calls and ask friends and associates if they need any help. Then they end up recognizing the skill set they learned in the Big Co. is highly valuable to many smaller companies, especially when they can pay via retainer versus a salary. But they had to be stressed to find out.
I just want to also say there is something to be said about attitude and gratitude here. Have a positive attitude that the stress you are experiencing is providing you with opportunity. Be thankful it came no matter how bad the situation may seem because it changes your paradigm, changes your thought process and provides opportunity that you wouldn’t have had without the stress.
Above all, thank Mother Nature for designing us to respond to stress as the incredible and extraordinary Doers we are. Just think of it as a little bit of natural steroid.