An alternative title for this post might have been acknowledging personal limits.
I’ve had a rest. Blimey I needed it. We all deal with things in different ways. With a family, a marriage and friendships to evolve, home and work responsibilities and lots of change to deal with, I’ve forced myself to pause for the last couple of weeks to establish a new basis for what I believe will allow for a more harmonious arrangement.
I push myself pretty hard a lot of the time. Sometimes without taking to time to observe, I over do it. Then I need a rest. During the recent rest I’ve had some great conversations that have helped me share and learn much. Since the turn of the year I’ve had a lot going on. At home we’ve embarked upon a new family situation with both parents working full-time. This is a decision that’s caused us a lot of stress. We live within our means. Neither of us has ever really been motivated materially and so we’ve lived. Having children opens up a wonderful new world that presents new challenges and as I’ve learned, needs a different type of commitment to that required by work. Aligning or balancing all the relationships and responsibilities together is tough, but thankfully we’ve had a lot of support and are making sound progress.
I’ve experienced stress. There – it’s written. Stress is a strange thing – a lot of people experience it and yet it’s got a bit of a taboo around it, as if it’s perceived as a weakness. I’ve caused myself to be in stressful situations. That’s something that I’m seeking to change. I’ve thought about it enough, relaxed, conversed and resolved to deal with it.
Looking up a definition of stress on Wikipedia returned some interesting results. I suspected that engineering and medicine would offer a definition but wondered how it would be defined in relation to people or individuals – on a more holistic, humane basis. Stress management has a link otherwise to
‘stress (medical) medical or psychological stress; types of medical stress include:
- Chronic stress
I’ve chosen to seek psychological theories for definitions for stress as I’m not convinced that I’d rather seek medical explanations. I haven’t looked, but I’m sure there’s mention of chemical imbalances etc.. which leave me cold. I’ve been reading about psychology and have found the person-centred approaches of many theorists/practitioners such as Carl Rogers, Fritz and Laura Perls and others chime with approaches I’ve discovered and experienced in design (user-centred design, participatory design, service design) and many other areas of my life that depend upon positive communication. So perhaps Wikipedia needs a definition of ‘personal stress’.
For me, personal stress is a feeling of being under inappropriate pressure which can result in worrying too much. I might feel qualified to offer a better definition in the future. I intend to make understanding of and the alleviation of conditions conducive to stress a focus of what I do. I know that relaxation and loss of worry is possible through the expression of creativity, practising yoga, listening to music, playing an instrument, enyoying my own and the company of family, friends, and colleagues.
I’ve also learned that listening and reflecting is very important. Over the years I’ve found that various forms of people-centred support such as mentoring, coaching and counselling to be very effective in re-establishing a more harmonious existence. With this learning I’m charting my work adventures along a path that makes use of communication as a concept to help personal and organisational growth. On a personal level, my most enriching and satisfying work experiences have been defined by personal growth, both in myself and in others. Having been a leader, mentor, catalyst and doer I’ve encountered a stack of different relationships. I’ve always enjoyed getting to know people. On an organisational level I’m really interested in cultures and how they form and evolve which is I guess is a next step – individuals getting to know each other in the form of a community.
To make something out of this I’ve resolved to seek greater congruence in my life and work.
Here’s some things I am aiming to do:
- to take myself less seriously – a light and relaxed perspective is important
- to give myself a break – I shall be booking holidays and doing yoga on a thursday evening
- to give myself time for creative expression – I am trading my mandolin for an easier to learn and play instrument, the Ukulele
- to learn about people-centred approaches in theory and practise – by undertaking a course at the Wealden Psychology Institute. It’s an introduction to counselling which I believe will help me and everyone I work with.
- to clarify and manage the scope of my work – I am now heading up some really exciting new opportunities at Spannerworks at a time of great change. I’m excited about this and in particular am looking forward to:
- continuing to work with one of my most valued friends and collatorators Antony Mayfield
- leading the establishment of a Design and Development team
- growing the role of Client Partner.
Observing your own behaviour is hard some times, as is being patient with yourself under a certain amount of inevitablepressure. It’s something I’m working on and hopefully, my aims will be true.
Bonus: Best track I’ve heard recently – Free Stress Test by Professor Murder.