Manage Stress for Better Performance

Today is Wednesday, so this post is on outstanding performance.

Outstanding performers have three things in common:

  • Outstanding performers are technically competent.
  • Outstanding performers set and achieve high goals.
  • Outstanding performers are well organized.

To paraphrase a bumper sticker “stress happens”.  Your ability to handle stress is a big determinant in your ability to achieve the goals you set for yourself.  In other words, outstanding performers are good at managing the stress in their lives.

Recently, I had a chance to meet Marty Nemko via e mail.  Marty is a great guy.  He’s a career counselor and the author of Cool Careers for Dummies.  He was kind enough to send me a copy.  My reaction – wow!  Cool Careers for Dummies is a great common sense guide to career and life success. 

I really liked Chapter 2, The Cool Careers Yellow Pages.  Not only are the pages yellow – while the rest of the book is white – this chapter is an invaluable resource for anyone trying to figure out what he or she wants to do in this life. 

However, one of the things that really struck me was a section – the World’s Shortest Stress Management Course — in Chapter 11, Making the Most of Any Job.  Marty offers ten bits of common sense wisdoms that, if you use them, will help you deal with stress effectively.  If you can deal with stress effectively, you’ll be much better able to achieve your goals and become an outstanding performer.

Here is The Word’s Shortest Stress Management Course

  1. Stop rushing.
  2. Be accepting.
  3. Conserve your emotional energy units.
  4. Find support from someone fun.
  5. Decorate your workspace with flair.
  6. Get permission to bring your pet to work.
  7. Watch for early signs of stress.
  8. Think less and act more.
  9. Take three breaths and leave.
  10. Be in the moment.

While you may find it difficult to bring your pet to work, and in some cases decorate your workspace as you would like it, these are great common sense tips for managing your stress. 

I particularly like number 2 – be accepting — there will always be things that are out of your control.  Accept them.  If you find that accepting them is too difficult in the long run, look for another job.  I also like number 3 – conserve your emotional units – it’s similar to number 2.  Don’t let yourself get rattled by things that aren’t worth getting upset about.

Number 8 – think less and act more — is a great one.  Activity is a great cure for stress.  That’s why I always break large projects into small chunks.  Finishing a chunk always gives me a sense of accomplishment, and that lowers’ my stress.

And number 10 – be in the moment – may be the best advice of all.  Do your best in every moment.  Marty says he “tries to derive pleasure in whatever I am doing that minute”.  I agree.  If you focus on what you are doing in the moment, it makes work and life more enjoyable – and less stressful.

In short, I really like Cool Careers for Dummies.  It’s not just for Dummies though.  It’s for anyone who wants to be successful in their life and career.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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