Make stress your friend before it kills you. That's the best suggestion I know to offer for executive stress management in case you only have six seconds to read my article. Here's the rest of my short story if you feel stress, and want to know how to make stress your friend.
Stress almost took me out of the game more than once. I was approaching the peak of my game as a small business owner, consultant, and ghostwriter. Then, because of unchecked stress and anxiety, it all came crashing down. I lost clarity, confidence, all of our money, my faith, my health, and a big, fat chunk of ego.
It wasn't the first time this happened. Executive stress management is a big deal in the workplace, especially if you've had to work for jerk.
Each failure I faced as a leader growing my businesses gave me new "moments of clarity." I learned about clarity when I was at one of my lowest points. I walked on a walker. I found a hell on earth I would not wish on my worst enemy. But in the darkness, I found a light called, "Clarity."
After a massive, recent, new moment of clarity, I rebranded my company into Clarity Strategic Advisors, LLC. We teach, coach, train, and empower other business leaders to discover the art of the "Inner Game" of leadership.
I vowed to make executive stress management part of my mission, my mantra.
Are You A Leader?
Yes, I believe everyone is a leader. If you don't lead your life, who will? The best leaders I know work "on" their business. But they don't blow off their family to win a fortune. Instead, the most conscious clarity-empowered leaders I study, know, and coach put family first.
Business is simply a bonus. That's because people like me and the many I've coached all seek to wake up every day and make a bigger difference. Yes, it's true, we all love to make money, and we appreciate a tad bit of fame, but we keep clarity and balance for a healthy life at the forefront of our human consciousness.
Some of us don't know we are born to lead. This type of person only follows, and that's okay because we need each other! I can't help anyone who's asleep or not coaching. I need conscious leaders stuck in temporary moments of darkness. From there they come to be humbled and willing to change.
This article is for the Producers of the free world, not so much the Looters. Looters always get left behind in the end, especially when the Producers always know how to find a new way to make a difference. Looters take. Producers serve others. We make a difference in little ways that add up.
The #1 enemy for thought-leading agents of change and all creative, outlying, misfits is unchecked stress. My dance with stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and out-of-control fear that lead to anger and rage changed my life for the better. It's the only way to describe the upside of what seems in the moment as an utter disaster.
My goal is to help you make stress your friend, to increase your self-awareness, and to empower you to make your difference in the world everywhere you go.
I learned to make stress my friend through awareness, meditation, and mindfulness training; the "Inner Game" of peak leadership and human performance.
Here's how it works.
Did you know that stress-related ailments cost the nation $300 billion every year in medical bills and lost productivity? Even if you told me this statistic when I was younger and unaware of how stress was affecting me in very negative ways, I wouldn’t have paid attention because I thought I was indestructible! (Source: 2015, TTI Success Insights)
Many of us learn to make stress our friend. We see stress by virtue of exhausting hours of practice and rehearsals. Endurance athletes, professional entertainers, and performers from all walks of life learn to master their "Inner Game." We do this by learning to practice meditation and mindfulness retreats, long escapes into nature for recharging your batteries, millions of people suffer severe consequences due to stress, anxiety, and trauma.
Executive stress is silent while it's killing us. Too many warrior business leaders ignore the signs until it’s too late. I know I did. Learn from the mistakes of others like me.
Here are the seven primary stress factors for leaders, executives, managers, and employees at work. Whether you identify with the stressors you see at work or at home, stress is real. Clarity is my way of helping others align their head, hearts, and souls; radical clarity.
As you read the list, take note of the stressors “calling you” the most. What you're hearing is your soul calling to you. Your soul is your inner teacher.
- Demand Stress: Poorly designed jobs and poor job fit cause demand stress.
- Efforts/Rewards Stress: High output in your job drives minimal reward or result.
- Control Stress: High responsibilities at work combined with low authority, control.
- Organization Change Stress: Change, poorly communicated or inconsistent policies.
- Manager/Supervisor Stress: Your superior causes you enormous pressure, stress.
- Social Support Stress: Lack of support from the team, peers, and overcompetitiveness.
- Job Security Stress: You fear to lose your job. You never feel safe at work.
Everything we teach and coach centers around "radical clarity" which is knowing your purpose, vision, mission, and how to get there.
Let's move on to the cost of ignoring the "Inner Teacher" and her warning signs.
Ignoring the Warning Signs of Stress
I was unaware of and ignored all the warning signs my "Inner Teacher" was sending me. Looking back, the main problem was being headstrong. I had yet to be humbled much due to ease of success. My self-critical, perfectionistic personality got the best of me. I lost track of right thinking, speech, and action. I was way off track for a few years. Because of my discomfort within, I drank tons of ethanol nightly, and the older I got the less the booze worked for me to ease the pain.
When I was growing my first business, a financial planning and investment management business for high-net-worth executives and business owners, I learned the cost of not being aware of how stress was affecting me. Making lots of money and feeding my ego was the focus. I paid dearly for having less-than-virtuous priorities.
Too bad I had to lose my mind, all of our family money and investments, my faith, my health, and any sense of clarity or confidence about what to do next with my career, small business, and my family who I cherish more than anything else. I found living hell on earth, but I also found a way back.
Stress kills us much like a fish doesn’t know it’s swimming in warming, plastic-filled, toxic seawater. We just swim on until something goes terribly wrong.
How sad and tragic is our lack of awareness with more than five billion of us having a smartphone in our hands? One of my best friends, Steve, recently had a heart attack. He's one of the smartest, most caring, hard-working family man I know. Stress almost killed him. Here’s the article.
Don't ignore the warning signs including lack of sleep, irritability, self-medication tendencies, addictions, overuse of prescription medications, and unchecked, human ego gone wild.
Being too busy is hazardous to your health and wealth. That's why it does no good to trade your health for wealth. You'll trade back all the wealth before you croak.
How To Get Clarity and Bounce Back
Clarity is everything to me professionally. Every day of work is like a holiday to me because I get to pay back what was given to me, but not freely. Clarity is a way of living mindfully.
Not having clarity was the worst feeling in my life. I knew not my vision, mission, or purpose at work let alone in life. Even though I was blessed with a young family, the business of life was about me. Looking back, I overestimated my abilities and underestimate the risk. My attachment to money and looking good from the outside took me out of the game.
Don't be afraid of the dark! Darkness is the absence of light like evil is the absence of goodness. I saw a light that shined internally when I was still and praying for help. It's as if I heard a gracious voice telling me, "Everything is going to be okay, Cliff. He's the clarity you asked for from me. Now go ahead and do your very best to make a difference in the world. You are humbler now, and better for your recent experience."
For leaders with a higher calling than a fifth house or bigger car, the lesson learned is the power of finding "radical clarity" and acceptance of all that is. Detachment from the outcome, loving the process, is what rising above stress in a healthy way is all about.
Clarity is a priceless process for executive stress management and transforming teams at work. Clarity is not an event. When you learn and practice clarity, she becomes a habit for life.
What Clarity Feels Like
Here's what you can do about stress to make it your friend; find clarity. Be intentional about leading your life. Write a strategic plan of action for yourself just like you would for your business.
When you follow my Clarity process, you find flow. When I coach or facilitate a team of people at work to go through Clarity, they always come out ahead feeling flow and confidence. The biggest difference I've seen organizationally is when executive stress management makes the leaders at the top their very best.
"Flow" is the opposite of being stuck at the bottom of the deepest depths of the darkest oceans. The breakthrough in clarity for me was as close as I've come to having a "burning bush" experience. What I'm about to write will seem goofy to many, but here goes: I discovered there's a steady stream of consciousness that is infinite and it lives within me, you, and all of us. The key is learning to be still enough and connect with it.
Stillness leads to awareness. Awareness is the key to finding clarity. When you have the clarity you seek, you can more easily accept stress and not let it accumulate into anxiety. Clarity about who you are, where you are going, who you are serving, and how you will get there is liberating if you've been lost in dark many times before.
Surrender, accept, submit, and detach yourself from all outcomes. When you do this you learn to be content, happy even, with everything. You meet yourself and others where they are. There is far less judgment of what is and what is not. You are free from the judgment that judges you the harshest, yet projects itself leaking out around you.
As you learn to be more accepting and trusting of all that is, you become more caring for others in your new awareness. I used to be one of the most selfish people on the planet. Then, I learned the power of humility and gratitude. That's when I began to believe for the first time in my life that no matter what happens, I'll be okay remembering acceptance.
The more clarity you achieve, the more confident you become, and you take the right action toward your intentions and goals. The people around you who help you every day see a change in you, but they can't describe it. You can call it clarity.
Clarity is the way to become more conscious as a leader of your life, family, and coworkers. Clarity shows us the way to live a more virtuous life. When we live by The Golden Rule, the law of attraction kicks in our direction. That's when you recognize the feeling of effortless work, a blissful flow in life as if you're riding a bicycle with a tailwind.
Clarity Is A Process for the Business of Leading A Richer Life
Clarity is my newest body of work to help business owners and thought leaders discover the "Inner Game" of being a peak performance leader at home, work, and everywhere you go.
When we learn to be more aware, and the "Inner Game" of being a peak performer transform your results, work and life seem effortless. Here's an overview of The Clarity Peak Leadership Performance Coaching Program™ and workshops. This is a proven system for executive stress management. It's helped me, my family, friends, and hundreds of other leaders from all walks of life take strategic control through clarity.
With "radical clarity", you can bounce back from tough times and into the flow of radical clarity. Clarity is a system for reducing executive stress and aligning teams for peak performance.
The Clarity Peak Leadership Performance Coaching Program™ - A Proven Process for Achieving Peak Leadership Potential
- Chapter 1: Problems for Peak Leaders
- Chapter 2: Achieving Radical Clarity
- Chapter 3: Assess Yourself As A Leader
- Chapter 4: The Power of Purpose for Resilience
- Chapter 5: Clarity of Vision
- Chapter 6: Your Mission Is the Mantra
- Chapter 7: Achieving Goals with The Power of Intention
- Chapter 8: Virtues, Values, and Commitments
- Chapter 9: Culture of Accountability and Alignment
- Chapter 10: Toolkit for Peak Leadership Development
- Chapter 11: Clarity Strategy, Habits, and Action
- Chapter 12: Measure Impact, Difference, Outcome
- Chapter 13: Achieving Clarity for Life
- About Clifford Jones
When you go through this process by yourself, or when my team and I facilitate you, you will get new results in ninety days or less. The more you implement and practice the healthy habits we teach leaders, the faster you find clarity and flow.
How to Get Clarity Now
Ready to put the hurt on executive stress by learning the "Inner Game" of peak leadership and human performance? It's painless because I offer you a risk-free way to get a science-backed, written assessment of your "Stress Quotient."
Your "Stress Quotient" uncovers the hidden productivity killer using an accurate diagnostic for revealing the stressors at play in your office.
Connect with me here for a conversation. We'll discuss your goals as a leader, the obstacles you face including stress at work, and how to create a plan of action to "get clarity, confidence, and peak leadership performance.
Ask me how to get 20% off the normal price for the "Stress Quotient Assessment." Click here to get on my calendar for a conversation.