004 – Dealing With Stress


“However long the night, the dawn will break” – African Proverb

This month’s theme is dealing with stress. When I found this quote I immediately thought of my first night under canvas on the shores of the Zambezi river a couple of years ago.

It had been an unforgettable day, beginning with an unplanned encounter with an irritated elephant, through to a dusk outing on the river; spotting watchful crocodiles; skirting families of semi-submerged hippos and marvelling at the scarlet-feathered carmine bee-eaters in the tree tops.

By the time I was escorted to my tent by an armed ranger, the jet-lag and sensory overload were kicking in. The hum of the insects in the African night sounded comforting as I fell quickly to sleep.

But it didn’t last long.

My body registered unfamiliar sounds and decided I needed to be on high alert

There was a very loud snorting and rustling by my ear. I could feel the ground moving. As I listened I became better at distinguishing sounds – there were several different kinds of snuffling.

In the pitch dark however, I could see nothing so I pulled the pillows around me and lay very still;  worried the snuffling ones might hear the pounding of my heart or smell my fear.

My African upbringing told me that I was hearing hippos, who leave the comfort of the daytime water to graze on the banks at night. My ancient lizard brain was telling me that the hippos had managed to get into my tent – possibly they were underneath my bed.

This is stress

I’m a bit too far out of my comfort zone. I feel out of control and helpless. I’m unable to fully rationalise everything that is going on. My body is frozen, but in my head there is a rapid-fire inner dialogue.

When I tell the rangers in the morning that I felt I’d shared my bed with hippo, they laughed. The familiar, combined with a feeling of being in control, is not stressful.

It’s true that one person’s stress is another person’s excitement

We all need some stimulation to thrive, but what happens when it becomes too much? What do we do then?

Stress doesn’t have to be hippo-shaped to hurt or even kill us, which is why we’re offering a mini e-book to help you figure out your sources of stress, together with suggestions on how to get to the dawn.

I hope you find a stress-free half hour to savour this month’s thoughts. It would be wonderful to continue the conversation in our closed Facebook Group.

Moyra Mackie

What advice would you give your best friend?

Most have us have known that feeling when we’ve got a lot on our plates; challenging targets, multiple demands (often a combination of work and home) and tight deadlines.

Yet sometimes this just helps us focus; makes us resourceful, creative, efficient. We’re resilient in the face of pressure.

Sometimes it does the opposite. We feel stuck; as if we’re going to fail at something (possibly lots of things). The pressure overwhelms us.

The impact of Control, Choices and Competence – or lack of it
Reflecting on the experiences and wisdom of the Time to Think group, I asked myself what they all had in common.

This is when those three Cs seemed significant. Pressure is a form of stimulation, which we can use to help us, just as long as we think we have at least one (preferably two) of those elements.

A quick Q&A with:
Lorianne Cloete, Owner and MD, Press Room – PR & Sourcing Studio

Why did you choose your profession?
I think it chose me. I was drawn to the combination of skills needed – creativity, people and operations. This appealed to all the facets of me.

What motivates you to do a good job?
Making my clients happy

Describe the best boss you’ve ever worked for
My first boss. He was such a mentor, calm, clever and wise. He always supported me and had my back which made me feel I could conquer the world.

If your career path so far has been a game of snakes and ladders, can you tell us about some of the snakes and some of the ladders?
Luckily I have had many more ladders than snakes and it was nothing but hard work that got me up those ladders…

Free Mini E-book on Dealing with Stress

As a special gift to our readers, we’re offering you a FREE mini Ebook  to help you identify sources of of stress and to overcome it. It’s an interactive E-book with a  self-coaching section for you to reflect and perhaps commit to experimenting with some ways of reducing stress in your life.

Dealing with Stress Live Q&A
Q&A with Moyra Mackie

Moyra chats with some of  the members of her  Facebook group Time to Think with Mackie Consulting about stress. Members reveal what stress is to them and share stories on what tools they use to cope with it. This provided valuable input for Moyra to write the feature article for this month’s newsletter. Watch the full webinar here!

Dealing with Stress: Africa Unplugged
By Moyra Mackie – first published on Coach with the Green Hat

In a few days’ time I will be sitting on that seat, by that fire.

In a few days’ time I will be back in Zimbabwe, the land of my birth.

As I listen to the traffic outside my office window, it’s almost impossible to imagine sitting round a campfire in a place that is only accessible by boat or plane. A place where rush hour means the dawn and dusk ritual of animals coming down to the river to feed.

A place without the internet or a reliable mobile phone connection

These Uncomfortable Deeds Will Pay Off Forever
By Dr. Travis Bradberry, first published on LinkedIn

T.S. Eliot was clearly onto something when he asked, “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” The very act of stepping outside of your comfort zone is critical to your success and well-being.

Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some stress and discomfort. In fact, performance peaks when we’re well out of our comfort zone. If you’re too comfortable your performance suffers from inaction, and if you move too far outside of your comfort zone you melt down from stress.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Brings you science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life.

It’s been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine and Time Magazine.

Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings is Maria Popova’s one-woman labor of love — a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why.

Mostly, it’s a record of her own becoming as a person — intellectually, creatively, spiritually — and an inquiry into how to live and what it means to lead a good life.

We asked members of our Facebook group to submit their own images of places that gave them time to think. We received dozens of wonderful photos, often with lovely explanations of why that place meant something. This month’s title image was taken by Duncan Payne, Regional Director at Azule Finance:

“The photo at the Grand Canyon was taken at 7am on an April morning in 2015. I got there early to see the sun rise, and obviously loads of other people would have the same plan so was a bit worried I’d get a rubbish view. As it turns out, for 30 minutes I was the only living soul there. I could have been the only person on the planet !!!”

Mackie Consulting
64 High Street
HP23 4AF
United Kingdom

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