I didn’t start working with the intent to write a book. In fact the work I did do I fell into, not really having a clear goal in mind. Despite that (or because of it) … My work used to cause my life to be A TOTAL DISASTER!
In fact, just a few short years ago, I was one of the most stressed, hardest workers around. Happily putting my health and sanity at such risk, it’s a wonder I survived. So let me do a bit of ‘reverse bragging’ … to tell you the sad, true story of just how much of a work-a-holic one person can be and how it almost killed me.
So much overtime, and nothing to show for it
Let’s start by telling you about my work with an international consulting firm. Such an exciting time. After a few introductive years in the Information Technology field, I joined a well respected, large company that will remain nameless. The position offered me a substantial pay rise, travel opportunities, and much more. I was able to work with millions of dollars worth of equipment. I was introduced to many of the most powerful businesses in Australia and the rest of the world and was in a position to make them grow. Surrounded by other like-minded professionals this was my chance to show the world what I can really do!
Give me the responsibility!
After two months, I was working on average, over 80 hours per week. I was willing to start work at 2am, to get those critical changes done. I was later to do that 3 days in a row! Which does sound much, till I mention I didn’t finish till 6pm. I loved working on the weekend, or late at night, as there was less interruption!
Maybe your current situation is a lot better than mine, maybe you are the type of person who already works happily, and just wants to do even better. But if you aren’t doing very well and really never have, I can tell you, I truly sympathize because I’ve been there and done that.
Anyway, getting back to my story, this escalated over the next year or so. At first I thought I handled it very well, but it soon started to pile up. Simple things that normally I’d breeze through were taking more and more time. A simple error or mistake would send me into fits of rage. I would drink roughly ¾ of a bottle of rum each night, and on several occasions cried myself to sleep. There were times I was not sure if I could cope. It took many of these signs before I realized I had a problem coping with the stress. But it would take one single frightening event before I finally understood just what this stress was doing to me.
I spent many sleepless nights attempting to find a solution to how I could keep my existing workload, while having more free time. I read every book on time management, stress relief, work improvement and optimization I could get my hands on. I went to coaches, teachers and seminars, even to be thrown out as a disruption because I wanted the answers NOW!
Now, speaking to you as a person who wants to live the good life, and enjoy it to the fullest, how could anyone just accept this kind of thing? Who could just accept the problems I had during those terrible, stress filled years? Problems like;
- No time for lunch, let alone a holiday
- Having a large bank account, but with no time to spend it
- Being pulled in multiple different directions by the other people in the company
- Missing out on friends and family important dates and parties
Take for example late one Sunday evening. I was having one of the rare relaxing times at a friends place. It was about 8pm and my phone rang. Every time my phone rang I would cringe, as it would mean I’d be back to work. As I answered the phone, the voice on the other end was angry and accusatory. “Where the hell are you? I’ve been waiting for over an hour!”
My world collapsed. My heart thundered in my throat. A cold sweat broke out on my forehead. I’d forgotten something. Not something small either, something large and important. On the Friday before I had organized to meet and assist a customer while he makes some changes on his system. Nothing special, although once again it wasn’t put through my HR department as overtime. It really was a simple favour for a valued customer and I had completely screwed it up. That evening, as I look back now, was the beginning of the end.
I do remember coming out of my daze once the alcohol had taken enough effect and thinking, “this has to stop”
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I spent years working my fingers to the bone. But then, a few months after the event above, late one night, while I’m stuck in the bowels of a building, sweating over a broken computer, like a bolt of lightening, I realized I had enough. The responsibility that I craved and asked for, had changed into overwhelming stress. Something within me snapped. I left the computer I was working on, splayed like an alien autopsy. I left my phone (something I had within reach 24 hours a day for the past 16 months). I left my bag and remaining paper work. I caught a train home. I don’t remember the trip home. I don’t remember how I got into my home when my keys were still in my bag at work. I don’t remember buying a new bottle of rum, or drinking most of it. I do remember coming out of my daze once the alcohol had taken enough effect and thinking, “this has to stop”. But for the first time, I did something to stop it.
With my drunken disorientation I sent my boss a short and pointed email. Yet already it was too late, my work style would be forever scared.
In the next few weeks, all the books and seminars began to made sense. The reason they didn’t work for me is because I didn’t put them to work. I expected a magic pill, to take the stress away. In that moment my mind changed forever and I realized I needed to work at being happy with work. I needed to work at being relaxed and stress free…
Little did I know that that day would form the basis of the system now being taught and successfully used by employees in every part of the world. At that time, I only knew I was saving myself from an early grave. And the only principle I had to guide me was the one key principle I’ll reveal right now, the “golden key”, and secret to success and freedom from stress. And even though I’m sure you won’t believe it just yet, the secret is…
Stress Management is Self Management.
Now, in order to translate this secret into real world, practical stuff that works, I had to do a lot of research. I got my hands on every stress related book, website or training product I could. I got into the face of therapists and counselors to discover their secrets. I used combination after combination on myself, and others around me till I knew what worked and what didn’t.
Over the next few years, dealing with other stressed and tired individuals became a rewarding adventure. I discovered that people, really amazing, strong-willed, tough, workaholics were out there, waiting for someone with the skills like me, to free them from their self imposed prison, someone who could offer them an escape route, a solution to their fast approaching early grave.
imagine back to what you felt when you first started your career
I kissed that wasteful, stressful, difficult work goodbye and replaced it with the fun, enjoyment and excitement I had from childhood. In fact, I don’t know if you can imagine back to what you felt when you first started your career, full of vigor and bounce?
Again, I don’t know if you can imagine this yet. But let me tell you there is no feeling like the certain knowledge that every day you wake, alert and refreshed, is a new day to enjoy your work even more.
How would you like to wake up every morning with the insatiable desire to get to work, not because you have to, but because you want to?
Now, let me take a minute to explode the myths about what it takes to be successful with these stress destroying skills, that guarantees you will have nothing but more stress, frustration and failure … unless you take the steps … to banish these beliefs from your mind.
Myth #1 – It will work overnight
This is a dangerous lie taught by slick marketers. If you are very lucky, it can work overnight, but for the rest of us it takes practice, dedication and effort to overcome the years of habitual stress. Using this book you will receive tools and techniques to relieve the stress overnight, but it will take a little longer to train yourself to enact those tools automatically.
Myth #2 – Knuckle down and you’ll break through it
Well, what a fairy tale that is! This is the kind of insidious rubbish that is just guaranteed to keep us where we are, stressed and out of control. You’ve been knuckled down for how long now with no ‘light at the end of the tunnel’?
Myth #3 – I can deal with it by myself
Yes, maybe right now you are dealing effectively with stress. Unfortunately stress levels can and do change instantly due to an unexpected bill, accident or worse. And even if this does not happen, dealing with stress can be like swimming. When you start it’s easy, but after many hours it becomes harder and harder to keep your head above water.
Myth #4 – If I get free of stress, I can do more work!
This is not really a myth, but an idea shared among workaholics. It is true, every word. If you do get free of stress, you can do more work. Unfortunately, having done it myself and watched the results of many people who have this idea, you will only ever get more work and more stress, until it kills you (and if it does not kill you, it’ll put you into intensive care, a nursing home or mental hospital). As such, if that is your goal, I urge you to put this book down now. I am not doing this work to allow you to be more stressed. I’m not doing this so you can further burden yourself. I’m doing this to help you be happier, more fulfilled, and more successful than you thought possible.
These are the main myths I want to cover up front, others I’ll expose throughout the book.
The book you hold in your hands represents many years of work. Not only my work, but years of work from others as well. I thank all those people that have helped me along the way. Either by allowing me to help them with their problems, they helped me with mine, or they committed to helping others. It’s been a long road to travel – sometimes difficult and stressful. But we’re here, and ready to get started.