Has Success Got You Stressed? Here’s 1 Key to Turning it Around

Nov 5, 2015 | Stress

Are you not feeling your success anymore?

On the outside, you might seem quite successful.  You’ve worked hard and accomplished a lot in your life.  You may have a degree, an established career, a nice income, a house, a family – all part of a picture of success.

But on the inside, are you feeling stressed, tired, tapped out?  Are you constantly on the move, but feel like you’re running on fumes?  Do you find your thoughts often turning to worry and self-doubt? Your body may be prone to illness.  Maybe you even sought medical advice, but got no clear answers.

You might also feel alone or isolated as you try to deal with the stress, fatigue or self-doubt on your own.

So what the heck is wrong with you?! Aside from physical ailments, the answer is likely… nothing.

You are a normal person with needs that are not being met. You have probably had enough of pleasing, helping, and worrying about others and not about yourself. Your voice wants to be heard. And it may even be sending your body signals in the form of stress, fatigue or other problems.

Unfortunately, over time, we can focus so much on what others think that we stop knowing what we really want and need for ourselves. I have seen this in my clients, and I know this for myself.

My Story

I grew up wanting to be heard and to stand up for what I thought was right.  As the middle child of three girls, I often protested to my parents: “That’s not fair.”  Unfortunately, this tended to create conflict. Not wanting to feel ignored or the outcast all the time, I began to think more about what others wanted of me and less about what I wanted for myself.

In part, this led me to a legal career (in which I invested over $80K and three years of post-graduate study) that was so ill-suited for me that I became chronically stressed. My body responded with sleep and digestive problems. Still, it took awhile for me to listen to the signals.

Over time and with work, I began to hear my voice again, and it ultimately led me from law to coaching. It took years, but it doesn’t have to take you quite as long, and you can start now.

Turn Your Focus On Yourself

Often we might think that the way out of our stress is to simply do the same thing, only do it better. But if you’re on a path that’s got you feeling stressed and depleted, then achieving more is probably not the answer. And if the path was set by others, then staying on it will further fuel the stress and self-doubt.

The key to turning it around is to pause and turn the focus back to yourself. Stop and check in with your internal compass.

You can begin right now. Take 10 minutes, put pen to paper, and ask yourself:  If there were no obstacles to my getting it, what is it that I really need right now?  And then, what is it that I want?  Write down all that comes to mind.  Don’t filter out the big or the small.

Don’t worry if you don’t hear anything right away. It’s probably been awhile since you checked in with yourself, so be patient. Keep coming back to it, adding, subtracting and refining until the answers take shape.

Messages of negativity and doubt will likely arise. Simply notice them and set them aside for now. They can be considered later.

From my work with clients and from my own life, I know that when we discover and address our needs and desires, we reduce our stress and doubt and renew our energy. You can too.

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Jen Riggs Blog

Meet the Author

Jennifer is the creator of Pathways to Change, a framework for mindful leadership development that integrates coaching, neuroscience, mindfulness and mind-body principles.

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