We often think we have a epidemic of stress. Clients consistently tell me how stressed they are. And not just clients: friends, family, my kids, my husband. I experience it too. There is a lot of stress out there.
But according to Robert Maurer author of Mastering Fear: Harnessing Emotion to Achieve Excellence in Work, Health, and Relationships, most of what we refer to as stress isn’t stress. And the most successful leaders don’t call stress, stress.
Instead, Maurer says what we experience is really fear. Stress is the feeling on the surface: a tight chest, sleeplessness, a sore neck, headaches. But the driver of all of this is fear.
It may seem like a minor distinction, but according to Maurer, there is a very significant change that happens when we move from thinking about stress to thinking about fear. When we face fear we can ask for help. When we are thinking about stress we tend to internalize.
Successful leaders appear to have discovered the healthiest possible human response to fear: reaching out to others for support. Robert Maurer, PHD, author of Mastering Fear: Harnessing Emotion to Achieve Excellence in Work, Health, and Relationships.
So the next time you are feeling stressed, stop for a minute and consider what is driving your feelings. What are you afraid of? What fear is underneath of the stress?
And most importantly:
How can I ask for help with this fear?
The small shift from feeling stressed to identifying underlying fear can change everything.