Being a former line cook, I know a thing or several about stress. Being forced to work under pressure can sound intimidating at first, but that feeling of when you overcome the challenge and deliver, despite the intense circumstances, it’s the best feeling I have ever felt. Stress, pressure, whatever you want to call it, it’s basically when you feel like you are backed into a corner and you cannot get out. It’s when you feel like you are not adequate enough to solve a problem, and you are scrambling to figure out what you can do with time you have until that clock hits 0. At first, I used to suck under stress. I would freeze, trying to figure out what to do, and my eyes would start to water from the adrenaline as I am rushing to figure out what to do, and second-guessing whether or not this is the best way for me to complete the task at hand. That was embarrassing. I used to get a lot of crap for being that way. To gain the experience to work well under stress, you just need to keep putting yourself through it, while having the mentality that you will try your hardest and not give up until you make ends meet.
Now that is a lot easier said than done. You can say you will scale Mt. Fuji, but doing that is a lot more difficult. You can say that you want to be better at dealing with stress or pressure, but you need to actually put yourself through that repeatedly before you can become adaptable. And, if it wasn’t obvious, stress differs with each kind of situation or task; case in point, I learned how to adapt to working in kitchens and cooking in general, because I have years of experience in that field, but when it comes to things like event planning, it took me a while to get used to being adaptable under those conditions of having to coordinate with so many different people and vendors to make sure an event runs smoothly. The worst for me was having to own up to a mistake and trying to come to terms with making one. Being such a perfectionist, I hate making mistakes. One of my mottos is “never repeat the same mistake, never relive the same regret.” So at the least, from dealing with stress from event-planning and in life, I have learned to let go somewhat; I can make a mistake, but I don’t want to ever make the same one.
Stress can be a great thing as well. I have learned how to become a stronger person just because of how much stress I was put under. But when you are put under too much stress of a foreign kind, it can be difficult. Living with your mentee while being on the same board as them would fall under that category for me. It was basically the stress of having a child. I was constantly losing sleep over making sure that they were okay. Because we were living together, I could not process, cope, and overcome the stress I was going through. I would even go as far as to say that it has scarred me emotionally and mentally. My every thought became making sure that my mentee was safe, happy, okay, etc. Unfortunately, everyone has to go through that kind of stress at one point in their lives. All I can say is that some causes aren’t worth fighting through the stress of. Trying to care for and live with my mentee wound up being one of them. Trying to be an advisor for that board, again, not worth it.
You should use stress to push yourself forward. To make you try things you never would have thought to do before. You should never let stress be something that holds you back or down. When you are stressed, you build adrenaline. Use that adrenaline to overcome the stress. When you can’t overcome the stress for whatever reason, step back, and step away. It is not worth putting your body and mind through continuous stress and agony just to get results. I would like to reiterate that you should not go around looking for stress, nor should you put yourself through it just for the sake of getting better at handling it; that sort of behavior will just cause your body to break down. But when stress comes knocking on the door for you, that’s when you can jump into action and show you can overcome it, and not let it weigh you down. Ultimately, stress is one of the biggest obstacles we all have to face in life. We can’t just all dive in and kick butt with it. We all need to find our own pace at dealing with stress, and get better at it from there. But learning how to handle stress and make your own life less hectic, that is key to living a feather-light life.