Are You Stressed Or Alert? Some Important Distinctions

Being alert demands that we take a leadership role in how we shape our reality, rather than succumbing to the external pressures that overwhelm us.

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I had an interesting conversation with a very talented lawyer recently. She asked me whether I thought she was stressing out too much about her work.

It’s the predicament of a lot of dedicated high-achievers who work in highly pressurised environments with tight deadlines and huge workloads.

They put in a lot of effort and dedication into their job. But sometimes they can’t really estimate whether they’re doing too much or putting their efforts in the wrong strategic direction.

Often, good performance requires being alert rather than constantly stressed.

And there’s a difference between the two.

Being in a constant state of stress usually indicates that we are driven by fear about possible negative outcomes, doing everything in our power to avoid those outcomes.

Being alert means being present in the moment and attentive to what the situation requires of us. It is rooted in an acceptance that we may not have all the solutions right away, but that we are able to get there.

What the present situation requires of us is sometimes counterintuitive, or at least, not habitual for us:

  • Instead of staying late at the office, maybe we need to reprioritise some work with our team or boss.

Being alert demands that we take a leadership role in how we shape our reality, rather than succumbing to the external pressures that overwhelm us.

If you’re also wondering whether you’re stressing out too much, choose presence over the fear of the future. Then see how your body reacts.

Sign up to The Sunday Question, my weekly invitation for introspection and action here: https://www.anisiabucur.com/sign-up/

Coach — Career and Work Transformation | PhD Researcher | Facilitator

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