Good morning, everybody! Welcome to The Work Of Becoming podcast. Today, I want to talk to you about stress, and I want to talk to you about stress because that happens to be our theme inside of Change Academy this month. So, if you’re loving this podcast, but if you’re looking for more tangible tools and more of the actual science, I don’t talk about the science on this podcast. I keep it restricted to personal stories and kind of my interpretation of everything, but it’s gonna be very, very, very beneficial for you to actually learn the science and the application of this stuff. And so, that is what we do inside of Change Academy. So, if you’re not a member yet — most of you, I think, are – but if you’re not a member yet, I highly recommend you check it out.
So, today, I want to talk about something that happened recently where I realized that I was avoiding stress instead of embracing life.
So, I was looking at my year, and I was talking to my dad, and my dad really wants me to come to Sweden and visit him during the summer. My sister really wants it too. It’s really beautiful in Sweden in the summer. They want to basically do a little vacation. We would go in the month of August, and I started thinking to myself about how stressful August is for us at BBA. August is my birthday month. It’s sort of that back-to-school feeling that everybody has, and so, we typically have a really high amount of people enrolled in coaching. We typically do a giant birthday sale with lots of promotional stuff. And so, I was thinking about how stressful it would be in order to do all of that in August and also try to fly to Sweden, travel internationally, etcetera, etcetera.
And I think there are two sides to this — or there are two perspectives. One perspective is, yes, I want to plan compassionately. I don’t want to put myself in a situation that’s going to really run me down or be really less than beneficial for me, right? That’s the self-compassionate perspective. But, on the other hand, the other self-compassionate perspective is that I’m not willing to miss out on my life just to avoid a little bit of stress. I think that’s one of the mistakes that’s one of the mistakes that a lot of us make when it comes to the way we think about stress. We think about stress as something that we need to avoid, as something that we need to be rid of, as something that we need to eliminate from our life rather than stress as a tool that can raise our capabilities. Stress sometimes is a bar that we get to jump up and hit.
And so, as I was thinking about, really, my relationship with travel, I realized that there were a lot of things that I said no to in 2022 because I thought to myself, “That’s gonna be too stressful.” So, Jon would go on a trip to see his friends, and he would say, “Hey, do you want to come?” And I’d be like, “No, I’m just gonna be really stressed out.” And it kind of bugged me, and I had a conversation with my coach about it, and the conclusion that I came to is that this year I want to challenge myself to seek out more stress. I want to challenge myself to do stressful things more often because one of the things I’m working on this year is being resilient and being capable in the face of stress, and if I look at the goals that I want in the next ten years, if I look at the things that I want in my life, they are absolutely going to bring me so much joy, but they are also going to bring me so much stress.
And so, I have to stop avoiding stress. I have to stop trying to cultivate this perfect life where I’m calm all the time, and instead, I have to put myself in difficult situations. I have to jump into the deep water, and I have to learn how to manage that stress.
Some of the behavior change tools that we teach in Alliance Coaching, those are the tools that I’m gonna be using and improving as I do that, but I want to challenge you today to really think about where are the areas that you’re missing out on life because you think you want to avoid stressing yourself out, and where are the stresses in your life that you’re thinking, “Oh, this is so stressful. This is such a bad thing. I can’t get rid of this.” Can you reinterpret those things, those circumstances, those obstacles, whatever it might be? Can you reinterpret and ask yourself, “How is this going to make me better? Why am I grateful for this?”
I’ll leave you with one thing that, I believe it’s Jasmine Star who says this. That’s at least who I originally heard it from, and she says, “The overwhelm that you have today is the blessings that you asked for months ago,” and that really hit me, right, the idea that if we are overwhelmed, overwhelm comes from abundance. It comes from having too much stuff. If we are stressed, there is a way that we can be grateful for that stress because what that stress is is us getting asked to step up into the next-level version of ourselves, and, for me, personally, stepping into a new version of myself with new lessons and new challenges, that is the most exciting part of life.