Such was the comment a friend made to me on the phone the other day. I paused for a minute and was about to say, “Nah, I’m good, I’m a Life Coach” when I realized my wife had said the very same thing the previous day.
My initial reaction in both cases was to deny I was stressed, after all I wrote an e-book book on stress called ‘16 Ways To De-Stress Your Life” so what does that make me?
As I was about to answer I replayed the conversation I’d had with my wife in my head. Was there really anybody on planet earth better equipped to notice when I was stressed than her?
Was I in denial and presuming my qualifications as a Life Coach and having studied stress management made me immune from the vagaries of life?
Let me back up for a moment.
A couple of weeks prior to this my in-laws came to stay. Not only my mother and father-in-law, but also my sister-in-law and her 7 month old son. A house that usually contained two people and two dogs now contained six people, two very confused dogs and a heckuva lot of noise.
At around about the same time I had some financial issues to deal with brought on by some (more) unexpected medical bills and my (with hindsight) less than stellar decision to pour all my marketing efforts into promoting the How To Be Rich and Happy 1,000,000 Book Giveaway, rather than attracting new Life Coaching clients.
A large percentage of my business is referral, but even so, to stay full I have to attract clients through other means. Other than blogging, everything ground to a halt because hey, I was full and that was super cool and dandy.
Business doesn’t work like that though, and I should have known better. Having a pipeline of new clients is crucial to not just getting full, but more importantly, staying full. I’d committed the cardinal sin and got complacent.
I once said in a post titled The Recession Is Over that,
“If you throw me in a room full of miserable bastards, I will miraculously turn into a miserable bastard right before your very eyes.”
I think it would have been much more accurate if I’d said:
“If you throw me in a room full of stressed bastards, I will miraculously turn into a stressed bastard right before your very eyes.”
Whereas stress was never my middle name (mine’s way more embarrassing than that) there have been long periods of my life when it would have been very fitting if it had been.
It took a lot of hard work and commitment to get it under control over a number of years. So it’s really no surprise that under such testing circumstances and with my defenses taking a vacation it had snuck back in and was hiding in the laundry room of my mind.
The result was I wasn’t sleeping very well, I felt ran down and I was snappier than Gary The Gator after being told he’s not got the job as the nightwatchman on the chicken farm.
I can’t count the amount of times I have had something similar to:
“Yeh but you’re a Life Coach, it’s easy for you”
It’s almost as though taking on the role of life coach immediately absolved me from the day-to-day issues that normal people have to deal with.
Unfortunately, and even though some people in the self-development industry like to help perpetuate this ridiculous myth, it is just that, a myth. Life coaches are humans too and as such have the same shit to deal with as everybody else.
To think differently would be to presume dentists never get cavities, doctors never get sick and hairdressers never look like they’ve been dragged through a bush backwards.
As we say in How To Be Rich and Happy, stress really isn’t the issue. The issue is when we don’t take time to recover from it. The benefit of exercise and the reason it’s called eustress is because it has a built in recovery period.
Nobody gets on a treadmill and forgets to get off. However, some people get on the stress treadmill and either forget, or don’t realize, they can jump off.
So the conversations with my friend and wife served as a great reminders that it was time to revisit the things that allowed be to beat stress.
Except if I’m being honest I never will beat it until they nail the lid down on me, I’ll just deal with it.