When mentoring young officers that felt trapped in their careers, I told them, “The cage you feel like you’re in was created by you.” One young lady I mentor (not a coaching client) spoke of how she has anxiety, stress and was unhappy in her position. She doesn’t like her boss, feels undervalued and was falling into depression. I asked, “If you are so stressed out and unhappy, instead of complaining and succumbing to depression, make a DECISION and submit your resignation letter.” She usually fumbles with reasons, but calls back the next week with more drama. (She’s the first person I’m going to send this to once its published).
“You can have reasons or you can have results, but you can’t have both.” – Unknown
The cage that she’s suffocating in has been created in her own mind. Her stress, anxiety and depression comes from not having a Plan B. I advised her to continue to give her best effort at work and save her money. Also, turn off the tv, get off the couch and get a Master’s degree in the career field she desired. Create a path out and when the timing was right, leave.
It’s been over five years since her suffering started, and she still doesn’t have a Master’s degree, but created an emergency fund. She has higher levels of stress, anxiety and is smoking to ease her depression. Over the past few years, I’ve taken calls with her crying and frustrated about different bosses and their wrongdoings. Currently, I refuse to take her calls on the subject because we’ve talked about what she needs to do into exhaustion; yet she will not ACT.
I’ve given her books to read, seminars to attend and she will not do anything to CHANGE her circumstances. When asked repeatedly, “Why do you stay if you are so miserable?” She says, “Well…..I have to make my way out you know. I can’t just leave, I have bills and responsibilities.”
“You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.”
– Wayne W. Dyer
From her perspective, she’s working in a toxic environment that’s creating her stress, anxiety and depression. Her coworkers would likely say she is creating a toxic environment. Every supervisor she has had in the past five years has it out for her and she feels like she has a bulls-eye on her forehead. In her mind, there is a dark cloud around her and everyone is out to get her.
But why does she stay if she’s going nuts? What is the real reason here? It’s about S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y. A government salary is like the sweet tea I had yesterday from Chick Fil-A. Refreshing, crisp, and delicious. 🙂 It’s secure, consistent, and she’s near the six-figure mark and has accumulated a lifestyle that’s hard to break away from. People have coined this as, “Golden Handcuffs.” Choosing security of a paycheck over everything else in life. Creating a lifestyle around a salary, but chooses to keep the lifestyle even if the salary is choking them out.
Without ACTION to change her circumstances, she’s caught in a negative cycle. Her stress and anxiety became unmanageable, so she started smoking more. She also started drinking regularly to alleviate the pain of a world that’s just awful. This has caused headaches, high blood pressure and migraines. She eats high calorie, high fat comfort foods to ease her depression and gained weight. Since her weight gain became an issue in uniform, she smokes more and is now rail thin. The toxic cocktail of chemicals running through her system has caused the texture of her skin to change. Her brain under stress and anxiety has pretty much fried her decision making faculties, so she just becomes more and more miserable which results in a variety of illnesses.
Eventually the organization will show her the exit because of her poor performance. This will only perpetuate her role of being a victim because of the perceived wrongdoings of others.
Why am I going into great detail and highlight this story? It’s because she’s not alone in this scenario. The majority of people around the world have discontent for their jobs. In a Forbes published last year, a Gallup survey found that 87% of workers worldwide “are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive.” 87%!!!
Only 13% of workers felt engaged by their jobs and were passionate about their work; 63% are not engaged and are checked out and 24% pretty much hate their jobs, act out and undermine their co-workers.
George Carlin said it best, “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”
If 87% of people are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces, they are susceptible to stress, anxiety and depression, and their related illnesses which are killing millions of people each year. Stress can cause or exacerbate high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, asthma, migraines, depression, gastrointestinal problems, accelerated aging and premature death.
There are tons and tons of books, articles, and blogs about what companies should do to engage their workers in order to motivate them to be more productive. My preference is to start with the man/woman in the mirror. So many people are waiting for someone else to manage them better, quit (we are relieved when bad bosses leave), take control of their stress, their workload, work-life balance, management, motivation, etc. Thousands of people are dying every day from preventable stress related conditions because they are waiting for someone else to change.
Paraphrasing Dr. Wayne Dyer, if other people have to change before you can be happy, you would have to send the whole world to the psychiatrist.
When you have stress, anxiety, and depression and are having a meltdown, YOU are the only one that can save yourself. It starts with a DECISION. Without deciding, your family can’t save you; neither can your spouse, children, co-workers, friends, and/or a therapist. You are going to have to save yourself!
People have resulted to drugs, alcohol and other narcotics to alleviate their stress, anxiety and depression. Alleviating these conditions with chemicals will numb you from the pain, but it will not change your condition. You have to get to the root cause of what’s causing these conditions and then resolve it at the root to free yourself. Otherwise, you will spend the best part of your life numbing conditions that can be changed with a DECISION and ACTION!
In “As a Man Thinketh,” James Allen said, “Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself…. Let a man radically alter his thoughts and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life.”
To create a life with less stress and anxiety, implement these recommendations today:
- Take responsibility for your life. Make a DECISION that you will take inventory of what’s going on with you and then take ACTION! Do something and don’t have the same issues in the next few months that you have today.
- Meditate – Some people think that meditation is hokey….but it will change your life. Download the paid version of the Relax and Rest- Meditation Oasis app (logo face). It’s guided meditation. When someone ignites your fire, go into your office, cubicle or the bathroom; listen to the 5 minute mini-break and refresh. If you have a hard time sleeping, use the 30 min program each night. This App is a miracle! By clearing your head, you will be able to make DECISIONS and you can get out of the negative cycle you may be caught in.
- If you need a SHIFT, read, “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard. Better yet, get the audiobook and listen to it during your commute. This book is unfiltered and kicks you across the forehead. Some of us need a swift kick and he delivers!
What are your thoughts around stress and/or negative people in the workplace? Do you think they know they’re negative? What are some of the ways you relieved stress or dealt with workplace challenges?
Christy Rutherford, an Executive Leadership Strategist, trains leaders on long-standing leadership principles to assist them with realizing their full potential and increase productivity. She also coaches Type A leaders who are suffering from burnout, which impacts their performance at work and home.
Download your free workbook: “Success Roadmap – 7 Powerful Ways To Get Clear On The Results You Desire” at www.christyrutherford.com
Check out the programs designed for you to manage your stress, reduce anxiety and significantly improve your life while you work to make a living. www.christyrutherford.com/programs