Ken Donaldson on Manage You First: Less Stress, More Success and Happiness
Let’s get back to the basics.
You want less stress.
You want more success.
You want more happiness.
Then you MUST effectively “Manage You First.”
So, what’s the problem?
Simple: You might just not know how to do that!
Did you have a class in self-management?
Most likely not.
Did you have a class in stress management?
Did you have a class in success?
Did you have a class (what!!) in happiness?
That is, unless you went WAY off the beaten path, which a small percentage of people do.
5% would be a liberal estimate.
Most people, like you, didn’t get the training, mentoring, education or experience.
But you still want it.
You want less stress, more success and happiness.
There’s a simple formula, but before we go there, let’s ask, “Why?”
Why would you want to be happier?
Here are four reasons you might be interested in:
• Happier people live longer
• Happier people live healthier lives
• Happier people make more money
• Happier people do better at work
Here’s another question: How do YOU define success?
This is the question that trips up many people.
And is there a correlation between your happiness and your success?
Many people define their success by their dollars, position at work, material possessions, status in the community, and/or public recognition.
What about you?
How do YOU define success (yes, you were just asked for the second time!)?
People who don’t consciously define what success is for themselves generally allow, by default, the socio-cultural norms to dictate it for them.
This is what Ralph Waldo Emerson determined to be his definition of success:
To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!
Here are a few other “success quotes”:
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. ~Albert Einstein
Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good. ~Joe Paterno
Eighty percent of success is showing up. ~Woody Allen
As you climb the ladder of success, be sure it’s leaning against the right building. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~Winston Churchill
It’s interesting that these notable quotes from highly esteemed people have very little, if any, focus on “dollars, position at work, material possessions, status in the community, and/or public recognition.”
One other question: What is stress?
Here’s what the dictionary says:
A constraining force or influence: as
a.) a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part; especially the intensity of this mutual force commonly expressed in pounds per square inch
b.) the deformation caused in a body by such a force
c.) a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
d.) a state resulting from a stress; especially: one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium
Let’s go with this one: A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.
In other words, we don’t want too much of this.
But let’s more closely examine one part of this definition: Mental tension.
Is mental tension bad?
Think about an athlete: An athlete MUST have extreme mental tension in order to be at the top of their game, whatever their game is.
If they don’t have mental tension, they are not in the game.
Same thing goes for performers, professional speakers, entrepreneurs, executives…geez, all of these people have a high level of both responsibility and accountability.
The key for them, and for you, is how to effectively manage that mental tension.
Too many people feel it and then either run from it, get so scared that they become paralyzed by it or try to self-medicate it though drugs, alcohol or other addictive behavior.
So let’s get back to the simple formula for “Less Stress, More Success and Happiness.”
1.) Be clear about your personal definition of success. Spend some time with this. Write it down and revisit it often. Make sure you stay on that path of success.
2.) Get clear that happiness is much more based on your “inside game” than the “outer results”. You cannot control much of what happens outside you (weather, politics, the economy, etc.) but you always have a choice of how you want to respond and how you want to be on the inside.
3.) Reframe stress to become more user-friendly and have some simple stress management tools. Deep breathing, creative visualization, walks outside, exercise, connecting with friends, journaling, singing and dancing are but a few of the many stress reducing actions you can take almost anytime and anywhere (be a bit careful about singing and dancing at work!).
If you truly want Less Stress, More Success and Happiness, you now officially have the simple formula.
Feel free to tweak it, of course, to make it better fit you and your unique life.
Remember: Manage You First and everything else will follow!