Operating Under Stress

Updated: Jan 22

The Show Must Go On.

This blog came about because a few of my employees told me I should write a book because I have a lot of life lessons. So, I took a year, and I wrote a book that I never published. Writing takes you on an emotional journey that I was not expecting. It brings up stories from your past, which I like to leave in the past, so writing a real-time blog is more my cup of tea. I will of course pull stories from the book, but I prefer blogging. Blogging however requires taking the time to write consistently, so I like to get my inspiration from others as it promotes thought provoking ideas of what other people find interesting.

In walks Izzy Irizarry, the Ambassador of BUZZ (coolest title in the company), who wants to know how I manage stressful situations or stress in general. In my opinion stress is self-inflicted, so stress tolerance is up to the individual to manage.

In today’s ‘always-on’ culture, brought about by increased connectivity, many of us are under high levels of pressure around the clock. As a CEO it is magnified as ‘always on’ is the only option. I have adapted boundaries and sufficient resources to shape my time, energy, and capacity to handle various situations. What others perceive as stress, I perceive as a situation that has to be dealt with to clear the path for the next anticipated situation coming my way.

My stress is triggered from a low degree of control. You have probably heard of fight-or-flight. This saying came from the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol determines how your body will react to stress. I have the fight trait as a CEO because flight is not an option. The low degree of control is triggered when I do not have enough time to recover from major situations to the next major situation I’m faced with. The buildup of cortisol leads to increased blood pressure and suppressed immune system. Now Izzy and everyone else knows when I get pneumonia about every two years, it is my body saying take a break.

To identify work-related stress, you have to understand what causes it. Everyone has triggers. What is your trigger? Once you identify the trigger then you can deal with how to minimize the triggers. You may be surprised that the trigger may not be work-related at all. Two of my triggers I cannot control; economic collapses and regulatory restrictions/changes. Only a person in my position would understand the magnitude of this stress as market corrections and regulatory unknowns can consume you if you let them. I try very hard to make the best decisions possible for the thousands of people that depend on it. Please know, this weighs very heavy on me every day as my decisions are calculated to protect the greater good for everyone who has put their trust in me.

“Unknowns can consume you if you let them”

My other two triggers are within my control; being the sole provider for my family and my boss. These two triggers are self-inflicted. I choose to be the sole provider as the benefits outweighed the disadvantages of having one parent at home with our son, but it is always on my mind as my decisions affect them. I choose to work for the majority owner which is a big trigger. He pushes me beyond what is possible for any person to handle. Not to mention our management styles, risk tolerances, spending habits, and growth strategies are polar opposite. I overcome these challenges by proving my worth to him year over year. As much as I know he hates to depend on me for his livelihood, he is lucky to have me. And that statement is how you get over triggers.

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