As Chairman, CEO & President of Merchants Fleet, my work is as tough as it is rewarding. Yet, a few weeks ago, as I watched my waitress at a local restaurant scramble to keep up with too many tables, I couldn’t help but think that, at least on that particular day, her job was tougher.
Some jobs, like being a paramedic, will naturally expose you to elements that are harder to cope with and take truckloads of fearlessness to get through. But most people gripe about the stress they have on the job, and you’ve probably seen two people with the same exact responsibilities react in polar opposite ways. So what really makes a role stressful or challenging?
In a nutshell, perception.
It’s the interaction that matters
Whether you see your job as stressful isn’t about you or your situation alone. Rather, it’s about how you interact with your situation. Got a coworker who called in sick? Now you’ll probably compare what you’re used to doing to the slack you’ve got to pick up. Or maybe you’re frustrated that you’re isolated working from home, and all the while, your teammate in the office is just as frustrated because they think you’ve got more flexibility in your day.
Fortunately, we’re not entirely powerless over how we perceive things. You can intentionally challenge how you see your work and reframe your outlook.
3 tips to change your view
Check out where your expectations come from
Maybe your expectations have roots in how you were educated or where you grew up. But if you know what molded how you think, you can hit pause on all the emotions those thoughts stir up for you, including stress.
This happened to me at the start of my career when the company president said it’s the best-known employee, not the best employee, who gets promoted. His assertion struck me hard because it challenged what I’d accepted. But the shock of it helped me acknowledge how I’d come to believe what I did. Over time, it helped me see promotions in a new light.
Talk to people who seem to have their stress under control
How do they think? Do they have specific strategies you could copy? Ask if you can shadow them for a few hours here and there to see what they experience firsthand.
We’re wired to see what’s negative, but if you intentionally look for the good stuff, you can make it easier for your brain to focus on all the things that can keep your stress at a more reasonable level.
If someone has helped you or been kind, pull that into your gratitude practice and say thank you. Strong relationships protect you physically and mentally. Those connections and improved wellness influence how well you can get through your tasks and, as a result, how you see your work.
Control your view, tap your happiness
Every job has its quirks. But your perception of the job determines what color the grass is on your side of the fence. You have control over that perception, so tap that power to work with higher joy and purpose.
Enjoy the Journey!