Does your work day ever go by in a blur and later you barely remember what happened? Are you ever physically at dinner but mentally still at work? Maybe you’re impatient to check email or thinking of all you've got do tomorrow to “catch up.”
In blackjack, when you have 16 and the dealer is showing 10, you have a tough choice. You can either “hit” or “stand,” but regardless of what you choose, you’re more likely to lose than win. In a situation like this, it’s helpful to have a decision-making framework based on the science of probability. When you think in terms of probability, the decision to hit or stand is less likely to be influenced by how you’re feeling.
In Silicon Valley, the pressure to succeed can be overwhelming. Many tech professionals are accustomed to achieving at high levels and being recognized for it. But every success creates an expectation of further success. That’s when fear of failure can show up. Sometimes it’s a good motivator, but it can also lead to a vicious cycle of feeling insecure, being angry about that insecurity, and then becoming depressed at “failing” to overcome it. But what if fear of failure is not something to overcome?
Everyone has an inner voice that talks to them - the part of their mind that constantly judges them and tells us what to do. This inner voice can be your best friend our worst enemy. It can encourage you to take risks and innovate as your biggest fan, or it can be out of control as your worst critic, berating you every time you make a mistake, sapping your motivation to get up and try again.
When is the last time you hiked through a mountain meadow filled with wildflowers and said, “Oh, what a mess!” Wildflowers are beautiful precisely because they are imperfect, irregular, and unexpected. Just as we accept what we see in nature, we can also practice accepting things as they are – without trying to make them perfect – in other parts of our lives. We can make room for imperfections and make the choice that things are “good enough” for the moment.
Engineers and other high tech employees know that working for a start-up means long hours and lost sleep. It’s unfortunate that sleep continues to get a bad rap as wasted time, even though good sleep is known to yield better work performance. But when high achievers do decide to attain sleep, oftentimes, their perfectionist tendencies sabotage their rest. That’s because sleep doesn’t function like other items that we can check off of our to-do lists.
A few minutes ago, I realized I was stressing about writing about stress - which has at least a hint of irony to it. Here’s a bit of the story to get us started in our conversation about stress covering how to relate to stress and how to manage it to our advantage.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question often asked of children. Ask a Silicon Valley Millennial, and you might find them fumbling for an answer. A better question might be “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” In a place where 25-year-olds are becoming CEOs and friends are making millions, it’s easy for someone not on that rocket ship ride to success to feel pain, anxiety, and doubt.