Stress is good for you!?
I often hear people say “stress is good for you. It stretches you and helps you get more done, helps you win…”
Have you ever heard that?
Let me tell you: stress is never good for you! I stress: never!
Tension however can be very useful and is sometimes critical to success.
Take the case of a tightrope walker for instance. The right amount of tension in the rope, not too little, not too much, is paramount. The rope walker will know exactly the right amount needed and will set the rope accordingly.
So what is stress?
Stress is when there is too much tension, to the degree that the integrity of the rope (or the act) is compromised and the rope breaks or distorts.
Likewise excessive tension (stress) in our lives leads to ill health, reduced vitality, poor relationships and general misery. Excessive tension in a business leads to inefficiency, drain of resources, high turnover of people, low morale, exhausted leaders, compromising of bottom line results, and so on..
So how much tension is good then?
I call it “Dynamic Tension”. It is the optimal amount of tension for a given situation to thrive. And this varies from individual to individual and situation to situation. The key is to find the right level of tension for you relative to your situation at a given time for sustained optimal performance.
Some roles and situations call for low tension, for example in the case of the general duties of a librarian. High tension here will disturb the studious environment. Other roles and situations call for high tension, such as an infantryman in a siege. Low tension could cost him his life prematurely and reduce his platoon’s strength.
Learn to discover your optimum level of tension that will enable you to produce best sustainable results. You will find that there is a range that you work best within. This range is Dynamic Tension. Once you’ve found it and understand it, then learn to expand it. This will prepare you for future growth and for downturns such as the economic one many are currently facing.
So in summary, we can avoid stress by planning properly to operate within Dynamic Tension. If however we find ourselves beyond that range, then we can avoid the harms of stress by either finding a way to reduce the tension to a level that still supports us(sometimes removing oneself from the situation may be required) or by expanding ones capacity to deal with excessive tension increasing ones resilience. This comes from good training coupled with experience.
Stress is neither good for you or your business!