Meet Jan Bruce, our guest blogger. She’s a co-founder and the CEO of meQuilibrium, the digital coaching system for stress, that helps both individuals and corporations achieve measurable results in stress management and resilience. Her new book, 14 Days to Cooler, Calmer, Happier , couldn’t be coming at a better time than during busy gala season. Here’s a sample of the inspiring outlook she espouses. We’re sure you’ll find it helpful.
Feel Like Your Auction Is Running You?
You’re More Resilient Than You Know.
by Jan Bruce
Organizing an auction is a Sisyphean task. Keeping all the moving parts in motion, can be overwhelming even when you’re using really helpful software like BiddingForGood’s Auction Manager Pro. That’s why stress happens no matter how experienced or confident you are. The key to staying afloat is in your ability to shift your response to that stress. And that’s something we believe anyone can learn to do with practice. What you might not realize is that the things you do just by virtue of your work are making you extraordinarily resilient already. You already have all the winning abilities you need. That’s the good news!
Here’s how those winning abilities can shore you up during stressful times.
Winning ability #1: You’re connected to your work
You know how important it is to keep your cause in the public eye and to keep the coffers full. With employee engagement levels dipping precipitously worldwide, you are the opposite, and take every decision, and every person, to heart.
Challenge: Sometimes your work can make life start to feel very heavy indeed. You know you have to keep a smile on as you dial for dollars and schmooze with folks who can help, but you could also benefit from remembering to embrace levity, too.
Try it: Find the funny. When you laugh, you stimulate your circulation, activate and relieve your stress response, ease pain, and boost mood. Even just watching a short video can give you that lift that makes a difference.
Winning ability #2: You help people give
You create the conditions and purpose for people to give to the causes they care about. In other words, you link money with meaning. Psychology researchers have found that spending money on others makes people happier, while spending money on yourself barely affects your happiness at all. When donors gave money to causes they believed in, they gained a sense of meaning. The fact that you’re connected to your purpose and help others to do the same makes you naturally more resilient and satisfied.
Challenge: The downside of playing such an important role is that you’re more likely to forget to care for yourself. You might forgo exercise to meet a deadline. Settle for potato chips and coffee for lunch.
Try it: Block out time. Set aside a few minutes each day to replenish yourself — something as simple as taking a break to eat a real lunch (with real food, not something out of a plastic wrapper), resting for five minutes in a quiet place, or taking a walk around the block. The better you can replenish the well of your energy and motivation, the more you can bring to that work.
Winning ability #3: You value community—and own your role
You’ve seen how a community’s efforts can help amazing things happen—raising awareness, funds, support. And any group thrives under strong leadership. The fact that you’re willing to step up and assume any number of roles, whether you’re the leader of an entire effort or one critical part of it, is admirable (if stressful). We’ve found that those people who reach out, step up, and take risks that matter (even if it’s just risking rejection), set themselves up for greater resilience and better handling of stressful situations.
Challenge: Depending on your role, sometimes you can feel singularly responsible for an auction’s success—or its failure. And with the endless effort you put in, that fear, of not reaching your target, or letting people down, can challenge that resilience.
Try it: Pay attention to your thoughts. They not only drive your emotions and stress levels, but they’re often untrue! So when you hear yourself saying all-or-nothing thoughts (“I’ll never be able to do this,” “I’ll let everyone down”), use a process we call “Trap It. Map It. Zap It.” : Trap the emotion as it emerges (panic, anxiety); map it to the triggering thought (“I’m afraid I’ll let everyone down”); and zap the thought (“That’s not true. My effort is not the only one that counts, and if I need help, I can ask for it.”)
The next time you feel stress crowding out your energy, remember: You are a champion of resilience already—and you have the tools to shift that stress in a healthier, happier direction as needed. Now that’s a winning bid.
Learn more about stress and your health! You can find the new book, meQuilibrium: 14 Days to Cooler, Calmer, and Happier, co-authored by meQuilibrium CEO Jan Bruce, Adam Perlman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, and Andrew Shatté, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer wherever books are sold.