Yes, there is such a good thing as good stress!
Whenever you want to accomplish something new, you must step outside of your comfort zone – maybe a little or maybe a lot. If you stay in your comfort zone you will not accomplish anything significant.
There are three stages of stress to consider:
- Stage 1 No Stress – if you are doing something routine or familiar you probably feel no stress. That means that you are also probably not too motivated or excited about the activity.
- Stage 2 Good Stress – if you are doing something new and are feeling challenged by it, you will probably be feeling a little stressed. This is good stress because it helps you to rise to the occasion and perform better than normal. This is when we achieve peak performance.
- Stage 3 Bad Stress – if you are doing something that you feel is way over your head, then you are probably feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. This is where you enter the bad stress stage. If this lasts too long, it can result in some very bad consequences.
Unfortunately, there are no clear lines separating the three stages of stress. You must know yourself and be in tune with your feelings enough to know when you are in each stage and take appropriate action.
Here are a few activities that can move you from Stage 1 to Stage 2 and improve your performance:
- Going to bed – Before you go to bed each evening, take five minutes to outline your next day. Write down on a notepad a brief outline of the key goals that you want to achieve during the day. The list should only be 5 to 10 items long.
- Getting up early – This may not be your favorite thing but if you get up early and get going, you will be more productive during the day. It is even better if you get up and go for a walk or exercise for half an hour every second day. This really gives you a boost of energy all day.
- Focus on one task at a time – In today’s world too many people multi-task and accomplish less than if they just focused on one task at a time.Studies have shown that most people are not capable of multi-tasking successfully. Multi-tasking often moves you from Stage 2 to Stage 3 which is not desirable. But if you focus on just one task, it will put you in Stage 2 and it will mean peak performance on that task until complete. Then move on to the next task and focus completely on that task until done.
- Public speaking –This will change your life in many ways. While people have a huge fear about public speaking, history has shown that it is rather a safe activity. However, it moves you into Stage 2 and you will usually perform better than you expected. Seldom does it move you into Stage 3 although it might feel like it before you speak. Here is a test, how do you feel immediately after you speak? Usually you feel great because you are moving from Stage 2 back to Stage 1. Public speaking will enhance your career and personal life in many ways.
- Meeting new people – In the business world today, networking is one of the key activities that people use to promote their business. This can be a little nerve-racking at first but once you do it for a while, it can become fun. Once again this moves you to Stage 2 and you perform better than you expected.
While it is good to move from Stage 1 to Stage 2, you want to avoid moving to stage 3. If there is something that you feel is a Stage 3 activity for you, consider it carefully to ensure that it is not a Stage 2 activity and you are just over-reacting. Many people have not accomplished something because they were afraid of moving out of Stage 1 and into Stage 3 not realizing that there was a Stage 2 of good stress.