Friday, January 14, 2011

A Different Kind Of Stress

There is no getting around stress.  The best of us, no matter how much we try and manage it are bound to have our days when it trips us up and leaves us immobilized.

My stress used to show. Dark circles would appear under my eyes, my forehead would remain in a crease for hours on end, a hacking cold, a stiffness in my shoulders that made it hard to turn my neck, the lack of glow to my complexion.

When I find myself in the company of people who know me from the world that was partner in creating that stress as I was the other night they think because I look happy and relaxed it is because I don't really "work" anymore.

I've written before how that is one of my pet peeves. I still work. In a non traditional environment.  Somedays I think harder and longer than I did then. And I still have stress. I stress when my books will be published, where my next coaching client referrals will come from, if anyone will read my blog, and  the vagueness of income that is not based on a bi-weekly paycheck. Oh and did I forget the stress of paying for health insurance?

Yet it doesn't show up the way it used to. People tell me I look great. They assume the  reason is because I no longer have stress.

But I'm here to tell you that's not true. I have stress.  It's just a different kind of stress. One borne from the passion of doing work I love and feeling intrinsically rewarded instead of fear that I might not ever get that chance.

Do you experience stress?
What is its source? 
Do you imagine if you left your current job your life would be miraculously stress free?
Is it more stressful to imagine taking a giant leap to a new adventure or staying safely put?


Junk Drawer Kathy said...

Oh, I totally get that. I have a stressful job as a computing consultant (PC problems never end and clients always think their problem is critical). Do I want to get out? Yes! But I also worry about taking another position that wouldn't pay as well, or if I left the traditional workforce, then what? Even with nat'l health care, what would that cost me to buy benefits on my own? And what about vacation? How would I take it and be paid for it if I was a freelancer? All that leaving my current position would do is change the type of stress I have, and it's entirely possible it'd be worse than right now.

Unknown said...

Striking out on your own is not for everyone. For many dealing with the stress within someone else's organization is much easier to manage.
I think it comes down to how much you want to do something else and how you want to live your life.

suzi Banks Baum said...

Dearest Joanne, I wonder if there is another word...because the effort expressed by doing what you love, passionately...does it deserve to be tossed in to the basket of 'stress'? Maybe. Maybe the toll is the same...but my heart is so much happier and it takes me much less personal tool use to emerge from that kind of stress, passionate exertion...I love that you recognize the difference. xoxox S

Unknown said...

Perhaps we need to invent a new word for stress borne of passion!

Tracy said...

I don't know anyone who doesnt have some type of stress or anxiety. I don't think it's possible to live without. If I was lying on a beach, for example, one might experience some anxiety over how long it's taking for the Rum Punch to arrive from the bar. There are many different kinds of stress, I agree.

I enjoy reading. Keep up the great writing. After all, not just anyone can inspire me to write an entire post on their comment.

Nancy Moon said...

I like the idea of "inventing another world for stress borne of passion", btw. Joanne, who better than you to take that on? I enjoy your blogs and look forward to reading what's next in your life, on this journey. It's always something I'm thinking about, but may not have embraced wholeheartedly. Hooray.

Jade Dressler said...

Yes, Joanne, that is a great task for you! A word for stress born of passion. As a former corporate grinder now following my passion, I have one trick. Once, in a movie theatre as the movie started, I noticed everything in me was fluttering with anticipation, similar to stress. I knew I was excited about the movie I was to see and resolved to try to translate and morph the physical sensation of stress in the future into pleasure, anticipation and excitement. Thanks Yoga! Well, I cannot say I always remember to do that, but maybe it can be a clue for the word you invent!