Realizing the True Source of Your Stress

Stress. For adults, it’s inevitable. And we all handle it differently.

I’m someone that doesn’t get super stressed. I don’t tend to worry. I’ve learned that everything tends to work out and come together, oftentimes at the very last minute — and then all the stress, worry, and self-doubt was for naught.

But sometimes, the perfect storm forms, and all the responsibilities and expectations weigh on me. I had one of those such days earlier this week. So many things on my to-do list, so little time… you know the drill. An extra day off and piles of work cast a huge shadow over me. I felt overwhelmed, hopeless, and unmotivated.

It was all about this project that I was working on. It needed to include THESE points, cover THESE topics, be THIS long, and be finished by THIS date. And what I had so far wasn’t even close to being up to par. I WAS DROWNING.

I was actually texted a few fellow professionals asking them how they deal with stress. Nobody gave me any great advice. So I asked myself (and I think this is actually pretty brilliant): these expectations… where did they come from? Some external source… or were they internal?

The truth was, the expectations were mine. I’m a perfectionist. And I put the unrealistic, backbreaking standards on myself.

Is my boss telling me how long this document needs to be? No. Will she know if I forgot to make this point or that point? No. Will I be fired if I’m a few days late in delivering? No. And if I do make a mistake… what’s the worst that would happen? OK, now… TRULY, REALISTICALLY, what is the worst that would happen?

The realization I came to: Nobody, NOBODY, is judging my performance to this level but ME.

There’s no point in making yourself sick to be perfect. Just finish whatever you’re working on, to the best of your ability, at this moment in time. And move on to the next thing. Or, move on to phase 2 of the same thing! There’s a saying that “it’s better to be done than perfect.” This rings true almost all the time.

This blog is the perfect example. Maybe it’s missing a point or two. But I’ve published it, and you lovely people are reading it. It’s more worthwhile out there, in the world, in front of you, than it is floating around in my head. Thank you for reading!

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