Archives for March 2011

Today’s Topic is Stress

I often tell people that my current job doesn’t stress me out much. I can’t make a mistake and kill a baby. I can make a mistake that costs us money, but this is not life and death. I have dealt with the stress surrounding life and death. This is a different (more manageable) level of stress.

The truth is every job produces stress at times, and I do feel it on occasion.

As a manager, when I feel stressed out I always try to stress up, and not stress down.

In other words, when I am stressed, I stress out my managers, and not my employees. I figure my manager’s get paid to deal with it, and my employees don’t.

So a very short post.

When stressing out, stress up. Never stress down.

If your bosses don’t react to it well then find new bosses. Or find a new job.

But never stress down – your employees don’t deserve it and probably can’t affect the cause of your stress anyway.

My SXSW presentation, for those that may not have seen it

My talk about talking to pissed customers, how to earn customer respect, etc.

Where do you go to think, and learn?

Yesterday the State of Texas stamped their seal of approval on me owning a motorcycle by again renewing my registration.  OK – they just wanted the $65.  Whatever.

But it had been months and months since I had ridden (was a brutally cold winter).  So I went out today.  For a couple hours. Nothing amazing happened. I did not meet a field of bluebonnets, or a majestic owl.  I just rode a bit.

The thing I like about riding is that I seem to somehow be able to think about things that I am not actively thinking about – much like I sometimes do when I am sleeping.

Problems seem to get solved in the back of my brain while I focus on the road, the smell, the machine and the now.

Very few people that I know like for me to ride.  Most of my friends, almost all of my bosses, and my kids.  None of them really like it.  None of them really get it either.

When I am riding my bike, slicing through the wind, and leaning into the curves – when I am not thinking about kids, or work, or friends, or anything – I come out a better something after.  I come out a better friend, employee, parent, and boss. And a better me.

Riding a bike is something that escapes a lot of people. The freedom.  The sense of release – having to focus enough of your brain on the moment… it lets you forget the stress, the deadlines, the commitments. It lets you find that freedom, for as long as it lasts.

Interestingly enough, a 2 hour recharge can last many months. The promise of the next ride gets me through the times in between.

Not suggesting we all ride motorcycles.  Am suggesting we need something that rejuvenates us this way.

We all need a recharger.  And we all have different ones.