February 26, 2007




It takes a number of skills to effectively function and compete in a world that promotes values like efficiency and expediency. Is there a correlation between being efficient and expedient and having the ability to survive and succeed? I suppose it depends on how we define "survival" and "success". Many people would agree that we are being asked to do more with less, and to do it as fast as we can. Most visibly it's happening in the work place, the environment that drives our economy and allows us to earn a paycheck so we can pay our bills, save money and buy the creature comforts that help make life enjoyable.

When we begin to feel anxious at work, we are probably beginning to feel overwhelmed. This could be a result of many things. Do I feel comfortable with my skills? How would I judge my ability to multi-task? Could I use some help with time management? How do I fit-in to my work environment, given my interests, skills, abilities, etc? What do I need to do to manage my work environment and reaction to it?

Here are some ideas:

Enlist the support of co-workers and the management team. Find people with whom you can talk, vent your feelings and exchange ideas. Move from feeling independent to interdependent. In other words, work as a team.

Reframe the negative thoughts and be positive! Rather than think, "I'll never get this job done," think, "Doing one thing at a time will eventually get the job done. I am persistent!"

It helps to live in the moment at work, focusing on the task at hand rather than the desired result. Professional athletes use this technique during game time. For example, football players concentrate on one play at a time rather than winning the game. Winning the game is the goal, yet there are action steps or objectives that are met prior to winning. Focus on the task at hand, and be positive to increase chances of winning!

Find ways to manage stress. This could mean going to the gym to work-out/blow-off some steam after a challenging day at work. What about taking up a hobby as a way to find a distraction from the work day? Be creative, and keep it healthy. Alcohol use probably won't work because its use could create a separate problem later.

Always work on self-improvement. This could mean taking new classes to learn new skills. Stay competitive at work by updating already used on-the-job skills.

Keep a positive outlook. Find a "positive" with every "negative" that gets thrown your way. Even the loss of one's job could be a "positive" if it means finding something better to replace it. Don't be that person who goes to the proctologist and opthamologist for a consult. That person probably has a crappy outlook on life!

Be aware of your breathing to remain centered and grounded. Use deep breathing techniques when your breaths feel short and shallow to slow down a fast pulse and racing thoughts. If you work at a desk and can do this, get up and walk around every so often for a few minutes to stretch your muscles.

If we are fortunate, a membership to the 3-F club is helpful: Faith, Family and Friends. This trio packs a wallup in the support department! The three can be very helpful in defusing distress when the support is mutual.

I'm open to hearing other ideas. What has helped you to successfully compete on-the-job? Please write a comment to me to list your ideas so others can learn from your experience. Thank you!


Written by,
Mark S. Rogers, LPC.
Licensed Professional Counselor

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