This Daily Reminder Helps Mikahla Chapman Conquer Her Fears

In high-pressure situations, the Accenture Inclusion and Diversity Specialist takes a step back, and reminds herself that not all thoughts are facts.

At Thrive Global, in honor of International Women’s Day, we’re inviting women business leaders to share how they Thrive. 

Thrive Global: What’s important in your life outside of work? What helps you thrive? With a demanding schedule, how do you make time for these important things?

Mikahla Chapman: I thrive when I feel like me. At Accenture we like to stress the importance of bringing your whole self to work. While I agree this ‘whole self, best self’ philosophy is important, I don’t find it easy to occupy all the areas of my brain that make me feel like me while at work. For instance, I happen to love expressing my musical side by playing in a steelpan band, but I don’t think my colleagues would get much done if I brought the band into the office for rehearsal. I also like to make crafts that leave me with something tangible I can feel proud of which is also not so achievable in the world of computer based work. Same goes for spending time outside, and for enjoying the company of loved ones. I’d say the difficult part for me is not making the time for these things, it is staying mentally present in the moment I am doing them to make sure the moment counts.

TG: When you notice you’re getting too stressed, what do you do to course correct?

MC: When I’m stressed it is because I am unable to foresee how I will get through a high pressure situation. The only way out is a dark tunnel full of roadblocks and all the signs are in a foreign language. This lack of clarity is then compounded by a reaction: fear of the unknown. The fear then leads me to exaggerate the worst possible outcome which, while exquisitely dramatic, is normally built on emotions and assumptions. To course correct, therefore, I try to remind myself that my thoughts are not facts!

TG: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about prioritizing your health and well-being?

MC: Be grateful for the choices you have to work with what you’ve got.

TG: What’s the best advice that you would give women about preventing burnout?

MC: I like to pass on a piece of advice my grandmother passed on to me which is don’t fret the small stuff. While juggling a million things in the air at any given time is often deemed a stereotypically female strength, it can be incredibly draining. It’s ok to let things go if it means you spare the energy you spent worrying on doing a better job at what really matters.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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