Which “you” shows up when you experience stress, do you Work On It, Not In It?

   I was asked this exact question while serving at one of our Journey Training weekends.

People often think that I don’t get stressed out, but those people would be wrong. I just deal with stress differently and they don’t recognize when I am struggling with it. I tend to go through three stages when I Work On It , Not In It:

Stage 1

 I begin to feel pressure, so I stop, back up, and evaluate the situation. What small things can I whittle away to reduce the stress? What can I remove, complete, or change to dial it down?

 Stage 2

 I begin to get overwhelmed. At this point, I try to regroup and focus so that I can dial back down to stage 1 or before. Unfortunately, if the level is rising quickly, I tend to lash out at people I love and I get short and snippy in my communication.

Stage 3

I tear up. Yes, that’s right. Cry. They are most often tears of frustration. Here’s an example of what I had on my plate that brought on Stage 3 and how we handled it.

The Hamster Ball Relay, this event is monumental in itself.  The few extra minutes I had each week were invested in helping The Journey Training get going.  This is on top of my normal responsibilities at my two Chick-fil-A locations and the location I am the consultant for in Kansas and don’t forget the importance being a husband, dad and friend.

Frankly, it was all too much.

My wife said something simple and profound when I needed it most: “Let me know what I can help you with. There are people who can help you.”

There’s a word for what she was telling me: DELEGATION.

I teach delegation on a regular basis, but I still struggle with it from time to time myself. I had all of the typical excuses for why I could not/should not delegate.

  1.  It was all too important to delegate
  2. We can’t delegate, we are still trying to figure it out
  3. No one else knows how to do it and it will take too long to teach them

 As leaders, we MUST learn to get outside of what we are doing from time to time and work on the big picture so that the details don’t overwhelm us. This can help us stay healthy and effective for the long run instead of breaking down on the side of the road like so many do.

Most people who are around you genuinely want to help, they just don’t know what you need. When our pride gets in the way, we don’t ask for the help we need. What we miss is that more work can be done with more hands – and it’s often done better when each person has less to carry. They may also have gifts and talents we do not and our pride keeps them on the sidelines.

Remember these three items to Work On It, Not In It:

  • Step outside of the project to focus on the “BIG” picture, not the details
  • Ask for help, delegate the work load so each team member has less to carry
  • Look for ways to encourage your team to use their personal gifts or talents

Is there someone in your life you can ask if they need help?

Who can you ask in your life to help you carry the burden?

This thirty minute podcast is by Andy Stanley called, “Work On It” that I believe will really speak to you.  Andy Stanley is a church leader whose principles apply to any environment.


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