Too much stress is not good. You cannot think straight or respond wisely or even collapse. But an appropriate dose of stress is important to have a fulfilled work and life. Surprised?

How many times have you achieved success without stress? A lot, rare or none? Even if you achieved something effortlessly, how did you feel at that moment? Were you proud of yourself, extremely happy, or feel nothing or cannot recall? 

So too much stress is not good and neither is the emptiness of it. What’s more? An appropriate dose of stress is crucial to our personal development growth. Another surprise?

When an external stressful factor hits us, it tells little about the person who initiates it but telling more about an area inside ourselves which requires our attention to make it stronger in order to deal with that stressful situation. 

Many years ago in gossip, my peers and I felt really angry when a story was disclosed. In an important meeting with the presence of our Global Vice President, a senior manager was shouted by his boss  ‘You are wrong, you know nothing about your market’ when he was presenting his opinion. 

At that time, our anger towards that insulting comment was accepted as common sense. Now with the coaching knowledge, I looked at that stressful situation in a different view: it told me to take care of my confidence about the knowledge, my expertise in that area, not wasting my energy to care about the person who made that comment. 

If you find it hard to relate to my story, imagine you were Einstein and were shouted by someone ‘You are wrong. You know nothing about the theory of relativity’ during your presentation, what would you respond and how would you feel? 

Stress, therefore, can be a great indicator to work on our blind spots – the areas that make us easily vulnerable by external factors. By taking full responsibility to work on ourselves, we are able to boost our inner strengths, becoming a better version of who we are today and we will definitely be rewarded after each level of competence. 

How much stress is ‘appropriate’? It depends on each person’s power of endurance. So stop wasting time and energy to blame external stressful factors, take full responsibility to make ourselves stronger is a great way to thrive in this VUCA world. 

Written by Thao Pham

ICF Professional Certified Coach