One of my biggest Microsteps lately has been to stop thinking about problems! Our mind is constantly cluttered with worries, problems, and stress. We let them take too much of our brain space and end up burning out if we don’t make a conscious effort to stop the chatter in our mind. I am a very pragmatic person, so I found that if I can solve the problem, I’ll do it right then and there.
However, if the problem is keeping me awake at night or monopolizing my thoughts when I can’t do anything about it at that time, I have learned to “put it aside” and don’t let it spoil the moment I should be enjoying, or the sleep I should be getting. These “switch off” moments are vital if we want to be able to sustain the pressure that our jobs and our lives create. I also make a point of switching off my phone and disconnecting after a certain time of the day. This usually helps to keep any worries at bay.
Overthinking problems can start very early on. When we are young, we sometimes feel guilty that we’re not doing good enough, we think there is only one solution to every problem, or that everything is going to work perfectly on the first try. We are full of certitude, and if things don’t go our way, we take it as a failure. As I grew in my career, I learned that there is no one-size-fits-all, whether we’re talking about people or solutions. You have to adapt, look at things from different angles, and accept that there are different options. Keep an open mind, don’t stress yourself about it, as fear will only limit you. And remember that everything will work out in the end.
Another thing to keep in mind is to give yourself moments during the day when you can step back. I spend long days in the office or connected to work and it never ends if I don’t make a conscious decision to take a break. When I feel overwhelmed, thinking of my family allows me to take that break. It makes me smile, sends me to my happy place, and gives me fresh energy. This also helps to break the cycle of cumulative stress.
In addition to my other Microsteps, human connections and building a strong team spirit have been the backbone of my 30 year career with Firmenich. Opening your door and connecting with your teams not only gives you insight into what is happening internally and on the ground, it also sends a strong message of trust, support, and empowerment to your team members. My colleagues know that they can share anything with me: problems, frustrations, suggestions, questions. Sharing this trust with my colleagues is a way to relieve stress, knowing that we are all here to support each other. Remember that supporting your well-being or that of your team can start in small ways, and everyone has the power to make a difference.