In praise of a stressful week

stressful week

By Mark Schaefer

I would like to tell you a little about my stressful week. There is a good reason for this, which you will discover at the end.

  • I have taken on a new project with substantial financial risk. It is still anyone’s guess as to how it might turn out but it has probably been the most stressful period I’ve had in my professional life in ten years. The situation is amplified by political and bureaucratic pressures that are out of my control.
  • I’ve been having significant pain in my shoulder. In fact, I’ve been having chronic pain in a number of my joints but the pain is so bad in my shoulder that sometimes it’s difficult to put on a shirt. I have been told that at some point I will need a shoulder replacement.
  • My stepson is awaiting entry into graduate school and as a temporary measure is living in our home for an extended period of time. Although he is an awesome guy who helps around the house, it is still stressful having another person in the middle of our daily routine for so long.
  • I am preparing for a period of travel where I will literally be living out of a suitcase for a month. While my travels will bring me to many cool destinations and I’ll meet some nice friends along the way, just getting the business and personal affairs ready for a trip of that magnitude is difficult.
  • There has been a close family relationship that has been deteriorating for about a year. Month by month the animosity seems to be increasing with no end in sight.

What’s the deal?

Why is any of this important to you?

I saw a statistic a few years ago that has always haunted me: For most people, the overwhelming feeling they experience when observing their Facebook news feed is “jealousy.”

Little wonder why. When you’re fed a steady diet of the perfect family eating the perfect food on the perfect vacation, at some point, your life might look pretty crappy by comparison.

This has always bugged me.

I worked hard over a long career and I live in a nice house in a beautiful place. I travel around the world for my job and I love posting pictures of my adventures. I have an awesome family and a wonderful wife.

And it occurs to me that people undoubtedly experience jealousy when I post that stuff. Probably nothing I can do about that except perhaps take a small moment in this space to celebrate everything that happens to us as human beings, including the stress of every day life.

Onward and upward

I will never forget my first “celebrity” moment. I had just spoken at a conference and this woman cornered me and kept saying “you are a rockstar! you are a rockstar!”

That blew my mind. I was so uncomfortable with that. I’m a husband, a dad, a son, a friend. I’m a guy with a blog. But I’m no rockstar and I didn’t want to be one.

Since then, I’ve learned to be patient and gracious in such situations but every once in awhile I think it is important to remind everyone that we all suffer, we all have stressful weeks. We are all amazing in our own ways, we are all flawed in our own ways.

I am an optimistic, forward-looking person. But for just one blog post I wanted to talk about the daily stress of living and remind you that we are all equal in our human condition. Forget about reach and relevance and follower count for a moment and look at people as people.

Your thoughts?

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com

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