positive stress

Wait, what?!?

The word ‘stress’ has always held such a negative connotation for me. And 95% of the articles and conversations in my life, that have been read, heard or participated in, have all been regarding the negative side of stress – distress, as some refer to it. It has never crossed my mind that there could be a ‘positive’ type of stress… until today.

I happened to be glancing through a backlog of emails, and the subject of one was ‘positive stress’. So that is the first one I read, of course! 😉
The official term for it is ‘Eustress’. It is defined as being ‘a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being‘.

The good stress is the kind that is nerve and hormone driven – it has to do with excitement, even if we are stepping into the unknown. The list of triggers for this kind of stress is very long, and as I read through them, I understood another statement I had read just moments earlier.

The statement was this : ”Many times good stress itself turns bad… because instead of continuing to challenge ourselves in a healthy way, we often tend to overwhelm ourselves by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, even though we know our resources are limited.”

One of the triggers for ‘good stress’ was ‘taking on a project that will help you showcase your strengths, which will not only bring you professional satisfaction, but many positive reactions in your emotional well-being too’.

My first reaction to reading that as being an example for eustress was a firm shake of my head. Because it didn’t happen that way for me at all! And as I pondered my reaction, I reread this statement : ”Many times good stress itself turns bad… because instead of continuing to challenge ourselves in a healthy way, we often tend to overwhelm ourselves by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, even though we know our resources are limited.”
And I realised that THAT was in fact what had happened to me in my situation!

In my late twenties, I had been offered an amazing opportunity to use my talents and head up a new project that my current boss was considering taking on. It would mean a lot of research, but I was going to be able to not only draft the presentation, but actually present it myself, to a group of influential people in that line of work. I hardly slept that night because I was just so excited, and the ideas swimming around in my head were ‘Olympic quality swimmers’ 😉
By lunchtime the next day, I was sick to my stomach, and convinced my heart was gearing up to fail me.
In our meeting of opportunity, my boss had actually been the one to fail me. He’d handed me the Dessert, before showing me the full menu!

The presentation meeting had already been scheduled – I had three days, start to finish!
None of the presentation work could be done during working hours, as I was already busy all day, handling all the administration for his other three businesses – this included payroll and bookkeeping etc. I was newly divorced with an eighteen-month-old baby girl, and an eight-year-old son, with no child care options available to me.
Eustress escalated quickly into distress. And by the time the meeting arrived, I was physically ill as a result of lack of sleep, and, well, ‘bad’ stress.

And at the end of it all, I was not only physically ill, but unhappy emotionally too – I knew it wasn’t my best work, I was disappointed in myself and felt inadequate…. and my confidence definitely took a knock.
I suppose the lesson in my personal experience with work stress was simply this : to know myself, to be realistic about the resources I have, and to learn to speak up before I get overwhelmed (or overwhelm myself, I suppose).
And, in all honesty, it would serve me to remember to apply that to all areas in my life 😉

I’ll close with this little list, which was provided as ways to include/introduce more positive stress in your life :

• Make an effort to learn something new every day – even if it is something small
• Get out of your comfort zone – try taking on a new challenge in the ‘great unknown’.
• Boost your positive endorphins by getting some exercise!
• Start delving into ways to set realistic, yet challenging, goals and try a new way each week, growing these over time.

And that’s all from me for today ❤
I’m off to spend some time on the new course I signed up for 😉

Disney

I’m sure you’ve guessed by the title…. this post is about Disney…. or more specifically, today is apparently

WALT DISNEY DAY!

So in celebration, here are some memes….
(Yes, I am still a sucker for a good Disney movie 😛 😉 )

Photo Credit : media.bookbub.com

Photo credit : mamasgeeky.com

And some lessons I have learned 😛

Cinderella taught me that we should always get mice and birds to make our clothing…. (hellogiggles.com) and that a new pair of shoes can change your life 😛

My favourite scene from the Lion King is so applicable, always…
”The past can hurt… but we can either run from it, or learn from it!”

Snow White not only reminds me to not take food from strangers… but that apples are not necessarily good for me either. 😛
(Interestingly enough, I used to work for three doctors. There is the saying that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’… well, I ate plenty of apples and they still came to work! 😛 )

Monsters, Inc keeps reminding me that exercise is an important way to start your day… and equally as important is to make sure my paperwork is always up to date 😛

And then I checked out this page which was telling me the things I should NOT learn from Disney. Some of them really made me giggle, so here are my favourites 😛 (Warning : the page contains some that are NOT so great… and some bad language… so you might not want to go there if you are sensitive to that type of stuff 😉 )

Ratatouille – if I want gourmet meals in my kitchen, I must find some friendly rats 😛

101 Dalmations – it’s okay to have 101 dogs in my yard 😛 😉

Aladdin – you will have a very bruised knee if you attempt cracking a melon on it… this is NOT a real easy thing to achieve 😛

I’ll end with some great life lessons :

Toy Story – Set your goals high (”Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.” ~ W.Clement Stone)

The Princess and the Frog – Hard work is the key to success! (Even when you want to be successful at the things that truly matter – growth and heart change are very hard work!)

Tangled – Step outside your comfort zone. (You just never know which opportunities may appear!)

Up – It’s never too late!

Ratatouille – You are your own limit! ( “You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.” — Gusteau)

HAPPY WALT DISNEY DAY, EVERYONE!

Touching on Success

success

As with many things in life, success has different meanings in different situations.
By it’s definition, it is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

And although I know that I know this, sometimes I still forget some of the aspects related to the word ‘success’.

I was reading Ed Mylett’s book, and he was talking about when he first started out – the early days of his entrepreneurship. When he wasn’t a successful entrepreneur.

He speaks of how they had nothing. Bills hadn’t been paid, utilities had been shut off. He and his wife had to sneak down to the apartment complex’s swimming pool before others woke up to use the showers there, and then he’d don his business suit and ‘pretend’ to be a successful entrepreneur. He mentions that the showers were open ones, and so he would hold a towel for his wife to try and ‘protect her privacy’.

What struck me, as I read those words, was this :

Yes, he wasn’t yet a successful entrepreneur, BUT in my eyes (based on the story he told) he was pretty successful as a husband.

I don’t read Success magazine, but I liked what I found in Wikipedia…

~~According to the company, the magazine “focuses on people who take full responsibility for their own development and income,” and provides personal and professional development.~~ 

Because here’s the thing : we are fully responsible for our own personal and professional development, and the success thereof. While circumstances may play a part in delaying our ‘success’, I think that a lot of the time the fact that we just continue to persevere is successful in itself!

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a friend who was being poached by another company – according to her she was really happy in her current placement, but the other company was offering her a much better salary package. She asked me what she should do. I told her to speak to her boss, and see if he could perhaps counteroffer. Naturally, she was worried that the other company would still be offering her more – and what then? My reply was ‘to determine what it was she was chasing – if she’s happy where she is, and that is what she wants from life, then she should stay. If her aim was to make more money, then she should change jobs’.
I don’t know that this was the best advice (since then, her current company came in with a better offer and she is staying where she is) but I do know this :

Success is largely about perspective, and it’s personal. What it means to me may not necessarily be what it means to you. 
I found this article about 9 famous people who spoke of what success is – to them. There were some interesting things in there, so I thought I’d share it in case you wanted to do some further reading 😉

aim

Photo credit : quotefancy.com

I love the quote above. It’s something I often refer to, and is a reminder for me to ‘think big’.

But I find that I have to regularly argue with myself. (An article for reference because I am not crazy 😛 )

And I know I am not alone when I say that I am ‘my own worst enemy’ and that the main thing ‘standing in my way is ME’!

I have to argue with myself because I have not yet conquered all those limiting beliefs, and one of the biggest ones that I struggle with is the one that tells me I will never be successful.

do think it is all about perspective though – and it’s personal. Because what I want to be successful at? I think I am slowly but surely achieving. I doubt it’s going to make me famous though 😛

My definition of success is just that – it’s mine. It’s looking at my aims and purposes (goals) and celebrating when I achieve them.

I like to dance… so I think I am going to go with an optimistic view on this :

optimist-someone-who-figures-that-taking-a-step-backward-after-29160354

Photo credit : me.me

For now I will just keep doing my best, work on believing in myself, continue learning and growing so that I can be a better version of me, and keep checking my list of what I want to achieve.

And I will celebrate each small success (my perception of it) along the way!

Feel free to reward yourself now, since you have successfully completed reading this blog post 😉

 

teaching learning moments

Yes, the pictures above ARE ME! (I usually avoid sneaky captures, so this is a rare moment 😉 ) What I am doing here, however, is not rare.

On this particular day about a month ago, I had collected three girls (one being my daughter) from school, and taken them to the dance studio they are all a part of. I’d been rushing around for two hours prior, and was desperate to relieve my bladder, so I accompanied them inside (okay, so me going inside with them IS rare – keep reading 😉 ).

The conversation in the car had been centered around a particular teacher, who had left them feeling rather uninspired and completely demotivated for the upcoming exam period. They needed to vent and have their own discussion, and so I didn’t interrupt. But I listened – partly because other than driving, there wasn’t much else I could do!

While I was in the bathroom and thinking about what had transpired in the car (because a bathroom is a place that inspires great thought), I remembered a story about a similar type of teacher that we had had when I was in high school. There was also a lesson in there, so I decided to share. Upon entering the room, the audience had grown and now there were two other younger beings, as well as the assistant dance teacher present. (The assistant dance teacher is the ”capture culprit”.)

To my daughters horror (oh the shame, my mother speaks, uttered by most teenage girls her age) I opened my mouth and began to recount what I remembered. I know it doesn’t look like it from the pictures, but they did all laugh with me at the end, including my kid 😉 I don’t know who it was who commented how lucky my daughter is to have a mom that is not only good at story telling, but is such an inspiration. Her reply was, “Yeah, well try living with it. Every moment is a teaching moment.” This was followed with a roll of her eyes – and then everyone was rushing about getting ready because their class was about to start.

I’ll admit it. I was a little disappointed with her reaction, and her comment. But it wasn’t new to me. I also know that she really didn’t mean any disrespect , nor was there the intention of emotional harm. I know this, because I know her. She’s often frustrated with me, and queries, “Why does everything have to be a teaching moment with you?” We had a long conversation about it a couple of weeks ago. I understand her frustration – she’s 14, and I am ‘the mother’. At 14, any instruction offered by those in authority (even when intended to help, inspire or uplift) is always taken as if it truly is a bitter pill. And since my daughter simply doesn’t swallow pills (we’ve tried in jam, cheese, chocolate, yoghurt – that small thing simply isn’t going down her throat) it’s a little more difficult with her.

FB_IMG_1573553967023

Photo credit : Facebook

(Ah yes, teenagers! Don’t get me wrong – she’s a great kid. But she’s still growing, and tends to be a little more defiant when it comes to seeking out lessons to learn. But then again, look how long it’s taken me!)

And she’s sort of right. Because I suppose there comes a time when it can get really annoying. She has also pointed out to me that I am ‘worse’ these past few years when it comes to teaching moments.

I think that this may be because in the past few years I have opened myself up to experiencing more learning moments. As I have mentioned in many previous posts, something has shifted. And although this process is painful, it’s bringing with it a lot of very positive outcomes. It’s changing my character, for the better.

While the word purpose is inclined to draw our focus to goal-based achievements – the type where we set a target that is usually ‘verb’ orientated (get a promotion at work, gain new customers, publish a book) – I have allowed myself to broaden my thinking 😉 Yes! Goal-based achievements are important. They are long term, future focused and give us a direction in which to head, often with a  tangible result.

But what about the other types of goals? While those achievements are great, if they never happen in your life it doesn’t mean that you lived a life without purpose, or that you somehow failed to achieve in your journey.

I have many ‘verb based goals’ and, truth be told, I happen to be falling behind. Tomorrow is not promised and I may never reach them. This thought is a little bit frustrating for me. BUT…

I am already aligned with the greatest purpose of all that I can hope to achieve when I choose to act in kindness, compassion and love. This ‘personal purpose’, while it is based on verbs, may not always have a visible outcome. I may not see the end results. I won’t always know if I was able to help guide someone, or influence them in a positive way. I won’t always know if I helped others change the course of their lives to a better direction, or whether my smile that day was the one thing that changed their mind about taking their own life. I won’t always know.

But it won’t stop me from being kind, sharing a smile, showing compassion.

And in the same way, as frustrating as my teaching moments are, I won’t stop dishing them out.
(Although I may need to be a little more sensitive regarding their frequency 😛 )

Most importantly of all, as painful as the learning moments are, I won’t stop being more aware of me and my surroundings in an effort to find them and determine what it is I need to know about them. Because it’s an ongoing process, and I am very aware of how it affects my emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical health.

So, for me? I am quite happy being a goal setter, go getter, in matters pertaining to the heart. And who knows, the rest of it may just follow 😉