Among high-achieving women in business or the workplace, there could be an insatiable urge to do more, give more, make more and advance more. Though healthy ambition is a good thing, spreading oneself too thin and failing to leverage expectations can induce stress.
We asked Dr. Rachel Talton, CEO of Synergy and founder of Flourish to provide insight that helps women to flourish (grow luxuriantly) but mitigate the stress! Dr. Talton is a nationally-recognized brand strategist, market researcher and leadership expert with a passion for developing women leaders. If you've perhaps found yourself inundated with anxious thoughts, competing priorities or one too many to-do-lists, she shares these 7 steps to get you back on track:
1. Redefine Flourishing: Know that you don't have be overworked to be successful. There's no honor in working yourself to overwhelm. "We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in." Arianna Huffington, Thrive
2. Self-Compassion: "What's my next big accomplishment? What are tomorrow's obstacles to overcome and opportunities to leverage?" Asking "What's next" is natural for leaders. But ask yourself, "What's NOW, and how can I prosper joyfully today?" Or ask, "How can I forgive myself and get right back up if I fall short?"
3. Strategic Specificity: To flourish, don't work harder, just smarter. Be strategic and specific. Don't set out to write a book, set out to write a book about the power of women in the workplace by March 2016. Or to grow your business by 30% annual profits by 2017.
4. Progress, Not Perfection: Understand that reaching your goals is a journey, not a destination. Flourishing women know perfection is no more attainable than "balance."
5. Begin with the End in Mind: As you plan, be mindful of the end results, as Steven Covey suggests. If your goal is advancement to the C-Suite, envision yourself in the new role, with new projects and a new team and in the new office. Focusing on results provides fuel to cope with stress. Again, perfection is not the goal. Excellence is. And take time to celebrate!
6. Create Community ("It Takes a Village"): Identify a support system and lean on trusted family and friends in your village. I call my village my "Front Row." They're always sitting in the front row cheering me on. I would argue that investing in connecting with your community will allow you achieve more success and less stress - not the other way around.
7. Spiritual Foundation: Whether you hold religious beliefs or practice mindfulness, the literature is clear that people with a spiritual foundation are better able to cope with stress, heal faster and experience increased benefits of health and well-being. Flourishing women know what allows us to thrive is the ability to believe, to connect and to contribute. All else pales in comparison.