“Just because It (Job Stress) feels bad doesn’t mean that something bad is happening.”
That’s what I heard myself say this week to a client who was considering a professional pivot, as so many are.
But even if we didn’t want to change a thing ourselves…everything over, under, and around us is changing in spite of us anyway.
For sure, some things that are happening around us are not good. But that’s not true for everything.
In the case of my client, it was simply an optional professional opportunity staring her in the face.
Maybe It’s Indecision
So maybe a heavy component of the Job Stress that The American Institute of Stress is calling America’s #1 Health Problem is more about Indecision—the what to do about it if anything—that is really weighing people down.
From what I am hearing, whether things are going well or not so much, a lot of people are feeling a pressure to choose alternative personal and professional futures, now more than ever before.
Because we can. But I have to tell you about this book I’m reading, Matt Haig’s, The Midnight Library.
This is not the kind of book my book club tends to read, so I wondered why the majority of us voted to read it now. And then I started, and there it was, lo and behold, the book’s central thesis on exactly what I am hearing so many clients fretting about now.
To paraphrase the unsettling truth of our condition: We can choose our choices but not their outcomes.
So that’s worrisome for a lot of people because, even if we know that, on some level we also believe that there is a safe and secure decision out there for us if only we can figure out what it is.
Only we can’t and the effort to do so is depleting, depressing, and bad for our emotional and physical health. As in, 75-90 percent of primary care visits are stress related, with Job Stress as a leading cause.
Upside of Indecision
As per last week’s post, we just don’t want to make any mistakes, and yet there is no getting around how possible it is for us to do exactly that:
…we humans mistake and miss a lot. How much attention are we actually paying to our surroundings when we are driving a car. Or, if someone quizzed us after we read a few pages of our book, we might flunk — because the mind was somewhere other than on the road or the page at the time.
And yet, wallowing in indecision, as bad as it is for our health, at least keeps us from making a mistake, one good reason why so many people remain stuck.
Another point made in this book, that actually rocked me, was how impossible it is to never hurt another person. I actually do try very hard not to hurt other people. But, sometimes despite our good hearts and best intentions, the decisions we make can leave other people feeling hurt.
So, there we have another reason why many people may prefer to suffer in stuck; that is, so we don’t make mistakes nor hurt anyone else in the process. What to do?
How About This: It’s Not The Decisions We Make
I have believed for some time now that it is not the decisions we make—but rather what we make of the decisions after we have made them—that defines our lives.
If you are suffering Job Stress or any other kind of stress, let us know if you find it as freeing as I do to know that there is no one right decision out there anyway—for us to waste our lives worrying about.