I crashed and burned so you don't have to!
I know what its like to work the 9 to 5 grind, which in many cases is more like 7 to 7 or even worse. With traffic, deadlines, implementing new policies and procedures, trying to succeed inside systems that seem almost destined to make you fail, the stress level can be over the top.
Even though you may not enjoy your job, you don't dare quit because there are entirely too many people out of work making finding a new one even harder. And how would you support yourself and your family?
Lets not forget about the financial issues of a mortgage, car payments, college tuition, extravagant vacations, insurance, medical bills, and all the rest that force you to trade your time for dollars. Sometimes it feels like you are selling your Soul - at least that's how it felt to me.
And what about relationship stress? How much stress do you experience because there is disharmony between you and your spouse, your boss, your parent, your child, a co-worker, a sibling, your neighbor, or anyone else you interact with on a routine basis?
Oh yes, I almost left out that pain in the patootie stress called poor health. When some aspect of your health isn't up to par, nothing seems to work. It affects everything you do from making poor decisions, to snapping at your loved ones, to missing work.
I've been there with all of those. And it almost killed me.
"I was very successfully climbing the corporate ladder. I traveled often and enjoyed what many would consider to be the finer things in life: cruises to the Caribbean; limo rides to black tie affairs in Manhattan; little red sports cars; weekend jaunts skiing in New England, staying in slope-side condos with fireplaces and Jacuzzis; dinner parties; travel in my company's Learjet; 5-star restaurants and hotels . . . you get the idea.
But along with the material success came severe stress. It was quickly destroying my health and any hopes I had at happiness.
I was one of four managers developing "The Bayer Factory" - a state of the art facility and workforce to manufacture Bayer aspirin. It would be a self-directed work team with the best equipment out there.
Empowering people to work together, teaching them the communication, problem solving, and technical skills necessary to one day run their department on their own was a dream job for me. But, as has been true on several occasions in my life, all of that changed in the blink of an eye.
It was early one Friday morning. The team leader called me into his office to share the news that the company was doing a major management lay off. Those of us lucky enough (or not) to survive the cut were being reassigned. The Bayer Factory was being disbanded.
My new position was that of a front-line supervisor in another department. Several of my closest friends, business colleagues, and even a few of those in upper management whom I greatly admired, had all been let go.
It was a devastating day.
And then it became a nightmare.
I hated front-line supervision. It was a job I had refused time and time again. Many companies like their upper management staff to have front line supervisory experience. They feel it makes you a better manager if you understand the nitty-gritty of what happens on the production floor. I was being groomed for upper management, so the job was repeatedly thrust at me.
I'd worked alongside enough supervisors to know that it was not something I was cut out for or desired. People were constantly pulling at you, asking questions, needing assistance immediately, sometimes complaining, whining, or finger pointing. Whenever the job was offered, I always turned it down.
Yet, here it was, plopped in my lap. I had no real choice - be a front line supervisor or find a new job. I only had the weekend to decide.
Depending on the dynamics between the people on the floor, front line supervision can be a lot of fun or it can be like beating your head against a brick wall. Many days for me, it was the latter.
The company decided to implement a plant-wide computer system to track inventory. Computers were being put onto every production line and the material handlers would be doing all the data entry when they brought pallets of packaging components to the line. Many of the people in those positions had never used a computer. It became my job to teach them and to handle implementation on the production floor.
As the system went live, my name was called over the intercom about once every five minutes. I rushed from one data entry disaster to another all day long. Sometimes three or more people stood in line to ask me questions. Every decision I made impacted production for the day.
After a year of front-line supervision and implementing this new computer system, one of my employees told me I looked like I had aged 10 years in the past year. The stress was more than I could bear.
So, I did the only thing left to do . . . I hit the wall. I crashed and burned. Term it any way you wish. The bottom line is, I had a complete stress-induced meltdown." (excerpt from Peering Through the Veil: The Step by Step Guide to Meditation and Inner Peace by Debbie Takara Shelor.)
Hitting rock bottom was the greatest gift that the Divine Presence (by whatever name) has ever given me. It was my moment to discover the truth about who I am, my priorities, my gifts, my strengths, and what the Universe had in store for my life - which wasn't at all what I'd been living.
I used to think that I knew a lot about how to make life work, how to be happy, and successful.
What that moment taught me is that I knew very little about such things. And because my little ego was bruised sufficiently enough, I was willing to listen to the still small voice within and learn from those who magically and synchronistically crossed my path.
And boy did I get an education!
I learned how to:
- lead a stress-free life,
- flow with life instead of against it,
- do what I love and get paid for it,
- have nurturing uplifting relationships,
- feel happy, fulfilled, and at peace most of the time,
- enjoy each precious moment instead of regretting the past and fearing the future, and
- so much more.
Don't wait until the stress is so great that you end up with a debilitating disease or something else you truly don't want. Start taking actions now to turn it around and find the joy, peace, and fulfillment you so deserve.
Get Peering Through the Veil: The Step by Step Guide to Meditation and Inner Peace - available August 24th.
Image by Bark