If you can just make yourself relax, you will be so much better (and more productive) at everything you do.
Years ago my father told me a story about a friend of his who had been interviewing with a major German heavy-engineering corporation, for the role of CEO - APAC.
There was competition for the role. My father’s friend, a risen-through-the-ranks gentleman who managed the company’s assets in India versus an external candidate who had been identified using typical German rigour and impeccability.
This friend of his, my father tells me, got the job. Apparently because in his final interview with the company’s board, when asked “What do you do to destress?”, he replied “I’m always relaxing!” That and a confident, winning smile.
I was about to wrap up my graduation and start work with a major Indian heavy-engineering corporation soon. And so I understood this to be a (timely) lesson of sorts - “Do what you enjoy, enjoy what you do”. For how else will you relax on the job?
Seven years and quite a few challenging roles later, I have come to understand that punchline (and the context) quite differently. This time, I believe I have it right.
My epiphany took time, but it happened - not everything that you (have to) do will be something that you enjoy (right away). Perhaps that is why the word ‘challenging’, in the context of job roles, almost synonymously means ‘outside of your comfort zone’. How good are you at something you are (admittedly) not-so-good at? And how willing are you to try that/them on?
More so, if you want to be a leader in the workplace or are on your manager’s schedule.
Suddenly, you find yourself getting pulled into all sorts of things that you do not enjoy. Suddenly, your comfort zone is the weekend.
Outside of your comfort zone a lot of the time, ‘enjoyment’ becomes a luxury. Stressing and procrastinating doesn’t work either. Being stressed not only wastes a lot of time, but also leads to bad team morale and results in poor decisions. Costly!
The way out is simple - always be relaxing.
Yes, always! Behavioural studies show (and I think we know this already as a team), that the most difficult part to execute is constant context switching (hopping in and out of unrelated tasks). Trying to keep yourself mentally alert and contributing at the highest levels 10-12 hours a day, can turn out to be incredibly stressful indeed. No matter how well versed you are on different subjects, frequent context switching takes a toll on your brain and it starts shutting down. Try to force it beyond a limit, and the result is stress.
My dad’s friend had figured it out - if you can just make yourself relax, you will be so much better (and more productive) at everything you do.
With a relaxed you at work, the concept of a comfort-zone slowly ceases to exist. And while you will never truly be ‘comfortable’ with everything you do, you will also stop driving yourself, and everybody else around you, up that wall. Big win-win.
We all do something or the other to combat stress and enjoy our downtime post work or on weekends. The thing about stress though, is it builds up little by little, till the dam breaks open (...many years too soon) all at once.
And since we spend most of our weekday-waking hours at work, here are some of the things you can do to always-be-relaxing on the job -
Before signing off, here’s the dictionary meaning of ‘relax’ to jog our collective memories - “make or become less tense or anxious.” For example, "He relaxed and smiled confidently."
Hope this helps.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)