Stress and Success

Outstanding performance is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become an outstanding performer you need to do three things. 1) Stay up to date in your field by becoming a lifelong learner.  2) Set and achieve high goals.  3) Manage your time, life and stress well.

Stress can have a negative impact on your ability to perform.  Unfortunately today’s world is a very stressful place.  If you watched the news on Monday, you saw that big companies such as Caterpillar, Pfizer, Sprint Nextel, Home Depot and General Motors, announced cuts adding up to 45,000 jobs lost.  Economists predict many more job losses to come in 2009.  Add that to the economic meltdown at the end of 2008, significant drops in retirement account values, as well as the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and you can see why many people are really stressed right now.

I’m a bit stressed myself, and I’m a positive person by nature.

I don’t bring up all of this to add to your stress.  Rather, my intent is to help.  The other day, I was discussing how stress can have a negative impact on performance with Nancy Ring, one of my colleagues in the Creating We Institute (  She told me about a great site called Heart Math ( dedicated to reducing stress and enhancing your quality of life.

Registration is free, and once you register you can take a free on line stress test.  I took this test.  It is the most comprehensive one of its kind that I have seen.  The test gave me instant results as well as suggestions for what I could do to reduce the primary stressors in my life.  If you want to take the test, go to and click on “personal growth.”  Scroll down and click on “Stress and Well Being Survey.”

You will find results for the five categories that the folks at Heart Math are important for living a vital, stress free and productive life:  Physical Vitality, Emotional Vitality, Social Connectedness, Spiritual Connectedness and Overall Well Being.  In areas where your scores indicate a potential problem, you will be provided with some advice on how best to deal with this problem.

Everything above, including some newsletters are free.  But, as you might have guessed, these folks are selling stuff too.  I have several colleagues who have participated in some of their programs and who use some of their biofeedback devices and they have been impressed.  I am not a Heart Math affiliate by the way.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are outstanding performers.  Among other things, outstanding performers manage their time, life and stress well.  Stress is rampant in today’s world.  Heart Math ( offers a comprehensive stress test and some tools for helping you successfully manage the stress in your life.  Log on and take the stress survey.  It will help you pin point the reasons for the stress in your life, and give you some helpful ideas about what to do about it.

That’s my take on performance and stress.  What’s yours?  What’s stressing you the most right now?  Please leave a comment or ask a question about the stress in your life.  I’m sure that as a community, either I or another reader will be able to help you.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. I like the content! Instead of making many comments, I’ll respond with just one set of comments.
    1. I’m sorry about the loss of your mother. I appreciate your attitude and expression of optimism even in difficult times. A year ago my mother passed away. She had that same determination and grit that you spoke of. She had just finished writing and publishing a book at the age of 86, a few months later cancer claimed her life.
    2. The WE institue, good content. The Heartmath organization has great books. Have you looked at Theory U, – this goes beyond Peter Senge’s work and the idea of Presence.
    3. Keep up the good work!

  2. Dan:
    Thanks a lot for the comment on your condolences on my mom’s passing.
    I’m going to check out the site you recommend.
    All the best,

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