I was once told by Bob Seelert that to run Saatchi & Saatchi effectively you need, every morning, to “strap on a waterproof back and a bulletproof vest.” I took that advice and never looked back. I’m passionate about what I do, I want to be the best and I’ve been determined to enjoy a life well lived and not get distracted or brought down by stress, a gift that keeps on giving if it lets you.
Perhaps this is why I have been given the opening chapter in a new book Stress in the Spotlight, a book by Brian Claridge, UK journalist and Cary Cooper, Pro Vice Chancellor of Lancaster University. The book features individuals in high pressure positions from all walks of life. Take Major Chris Hunter, a former bomb disposal expert, or leading children’s surgeon Dr. David Dunaway. They operated in life and death situations. Then there are others like co-founder and senior executive of Specsavers Dame Mary Perkins DBE, international fashion designer Jeff Banks CBE and celebrity chef, TV presenter and author Ken Hom OBE. Unique insights from unique people.
My advice to people who experience stress is to “know thyself.” Work out what stresses you out and eliminate it, or work to manage or balance it with things you enjoy. Find something you’re passionate about that doesn’t cause you stress. Make Happy Choices. And if you’re having trouble dealing with stress? Focus, commitment and discipline are what I swear by to manage any stress. Calmness and purposeful commitment to action are usually what is required and appreciated. As General Norman Schwarzkopf said, “When given command, take control and do what’s right.”
My chapter ends with this quote by Mark Twain: “if you do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”