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These are great questions to ask. Thanks, Steve. I just came across this research summary today on combating workplace negativity -- which of course greatly contributes to employees' stress level -- and I thought your readers would be interested in some of the takeaways from it: http://www.pmroadtrip.com/art10001.html

Steve Roesler

Mark, thanks.

I'm going to copy the URL and add it to the post.

Tom Glover

Steve, I love how you have equated terror with stress. When viewed this way a really puts what's causing the stress in perspective. And once again your solution is profoundly straightforward. Since so much of our stress comes from leftover stuff that needs to get done, just showing progress can help keep the stress levels down. Great stuff!

Steve Roesler

Hello, Tom,

Sorry for the delayed response; been doing a roadshow. Glad the analogy struck a chord.

We humans want to have a sense of control over things and the way we do that is to act. Even when things seem overwhelming, action begins to create a feeling of momentum and control. It also pulls "outside" of ourselves and back into the game. Both of those contribute to a reduction in stress.

Thanks for the affirmation.

Travis Branzell

Your question "What is reappearing on your to-do list that's giving you second thoughts about yourself?" is something that I can relate to personally. I write environmental reports for my company and stepping into this job (1st job out of college) I thought that I had all the tools I needed to write a near perfect report, but quickly learned that that was not the case.

During my first few months on the job I had written a few documents, all of which I had to hand over to another of my colleagues. This individual was very critical of my writing style and how I got my points across to the reader, and I took it personal at times. It was a huge confidence killer. Instead of learning from my mistakes I held on to my old writing style and bad habits, and I put off the idea of changing how I wrote, but only because I thought that the way I was writing was completely fine. I was constantly butting heads with this individual and it caused a lot of stress for me at work, and I would often bring it home with me. I saw the picture that you attached to this post and giggled a little, because that is exactly how I felt. Not until I took the initiative to learn this new writing style did my stress level begin to decrease. I adopted this new writing style, was less critiqued, and instead of negative comments attached to my drafts I received more positive feedback. My confidence came back and all stress was gone. I quickly learned that being hard headed and procrastinating doesn’t help you in the work place, or in any environment for that matter.

Steve Roesler


That's pretty darned courageous to put the whole story out there. As a result, you are no doubt helping a lot of other folks along the way who find themselves in similar situations. I applaud you.

There's also something about "writing" that is quite personal and seems to cause us to bristle when criticized. That's also a true confession. I can listen pretty objectively to comments about content, hypotheses, and positions on issues. I'm not as open-minded if someone seems to be bearing down on my writing style.

Thanks, Travis. Now I feel better as well:-)

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