One of my 2018 goals was to keep a journal and I’ll be honest, it has yet to happen. However, I thought this blog would be the perfect place to start holding myself accountable to writing down my thoughts and feelings. (In front of millions of people.) So, please come along for the journey. Today, I’m going to get personal and write about stress.
Stress means being subject to tension or pressure. I don’t know about you, but I reckon I’ve been feeling stress since I was 13 years old. I’ve always felt some kind of worry or concern about something, and that something is ever-changing. Whether it’s a test, an event, a race, a relationship, or an interaction, we all have those experiences that unsettle us. They’re the events we worry about long before or long after they occur.
I’ve always been fairly ambitious, and I used to set goals for myself assuming that if I reached them, I wouldn’t feel stress anymore. What I’ve realized (unfortunately) is that stress will always be present, even if just slightly, since there’s always something else to worry about.
Now, at this point you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Well, it all comes back to choosing a career in Sales at HubSpot. During my first few months as a Business Development Rep, I remember being so upset by the little setbacks. One minute I would be flying high having booked a great opportunity, the next I’d be having a meltdown over a cancelled meeting or negative email response. I realized very quickly, I couldn’t ride the emotional roller coaster of sales or I would likely self-combust.
Sales, as we all know (and to-be sales reps you’ll soon find out) can be incredibly stressful. It’s a game of rejections. Monthly quotas. Activity dashboards. Relying on other humans. Being ranked against other humans. A recipe for self-esteem destruction.
I won’t lie. It’s a tough job. But, it’s a rewarding one at that. And I learned that if stress wasn’t leaving, I needed to start focusing on ways to manage it better, so that I could continue to grow in my career, be successful and crush my monthly quotas.
I will note here, the tips below are what helped me cope with stress at work. But, these coping mechanisms may be the opposite of de-stressing for you. So far they’ve calmed my daily freakouts, and although I still have a quick meltdown now and again (we're all human), I've learned to manage the more stressful scenarios and use the people around me for support, both in and out of the office. I hope these de-stressors will help you too on your journey through a successful sales career.
1. Exercise with a Community
Earlier this year I became a spin instructor at an indoor spin studio. Now, I don’t need to go through the benefits of exercise. Endorphins. Muscle. Weight loss. Increased Energy. Reduced risk of basically all diseases. We know all of this. But, what I’ve realized is more important is the people you exercise with. It is so much more meaningful to have a team or workout class where you know people. My spin class has become a real safe space. I walk in and know people’s names. We connect. We talk. We encourage each other to bring our best selves. Every time I walk out of the studio, I feel lighter. Not just from the bucket of sweat I lost, but from being around a motivated, supportive community.
CTA: Find a way to sweat and make an effort to integrate into the community. Introduce yourself to regular attendees. Get to know the instructor. Make it more than just an impersonal workout. If your job offers workout classes, rally your team to go for a lunchtime barre class or training session. Get others involved in doing something good for both their mental and physical health. It will go leaps and bounds at relieving a stressful day to just take a break and get your endorphins going.
2. Stand-up Comedians
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine. But, this has been a recent discovery for me. And, I found my love of laughter as a de-stressor through stand-up comedy. I’ve typically been one to binge-watch really cliché Netflix TV shows (Gilmore Girls, The Office, Brooklyn 99 - the classics). But over the last few weeks, I’ve started watching stand-up comedians, and let me tell you, I have never laughed harder than when I’m lying in bed watching funny strangers explain ordinary events. There’s something so relatable about the way they turn everyday human experiences into hilarious stories. I also like how the stories usually involve confronting truths and somewhat disturbing points, but they describe it in a way that enables the audience to simultaneously resonate and laugh.
CTA: Check-out the stand-up comedians on Netflix/Stan. My favorite four are below:
Tig Notaro - Happy to be Here (I’ve re-watched about 20+ times)
Iliza Schlesinger - Confirmed Kills (For all my #womeninsales out there)
One thing I believe is so important in order to stay sane during your workday, is to laugh and talk with your co-workers about things outside of work. Whether it’s a 30-second banter in the kitchen, or a five-minute conversation where you ask your desk-mate how their weekend was, it feels good to connect with your colleagues on a personal level. During the days where I’ve been most stressed at work, usually all it takes is for my fellow Business Development Reps to make me laugh, or talk about weekend plans and I instantly feel better.
CTA: Make an effort to get to know your co-workers on a personal level. If you’re a funny person, make them laugh. If you’re not so funny, find a funny colleague and laugh with them. Make it a routine, grab coffee with them in the morning, or take a stroll at lunch to talk, laugh, AND boost those endorphins (the de-stressor triple-threat).
4. Animal Therapy
This one is self-explanatory. I don’t have a pet currently, but if I did it would be a cat. I’ve found two workarounds for some quick pet therapy. First, find friends with pets and make an effort to visit their pets. (I mean, them.) Second, pet any and all animals you come across. If you’re lucky enough to work in a pet-friendly office like me, don’t be shy to ask a coworker to take a minute and pet their dog. Most of the time, that’s what they’re there for anyways – as emotional support for them, and in turn, as a quick stress-relief for you. Trust me, they’ll understand as soon as they see your face light up when that playful pooch gives you a big face lick.
CTA: Find friends with pets and make friends with those who have pets. Or stray animals, whatever your preference.
The way you self-care can vary. Lately my self-care has been massages. I’ve started getting one every few weeks and I’m never going back to no massage life. It’s important to do things that tell your mind and body “I’m on your side.” Find what it is that works best for you to relax. Maybe it’s reading a book, or taking a nice bubble bath. Maybe it’s getting into a bedtime routine with essential oils or a face mask. Maybe it’s meditating or a weekly yoga class. The key here is to do whatever feels best for you to start your morning or wrap up your day so you feel refreshed and recharged to tackle whatever challenges your job is going to throw your way.
CTA: Do little things to care for yourself. Massages, nails, facials, read a book, go for a walk. Whatever it is, do it for yourself, and do it more than once. Find a routine that works best for you.
These coping mechanism aren’t going to remove stress, but hopefully they help you manage it. Your job is supposed to be challenging, it’s what motivates you to succeed and to keep pushing yourself to grow. But, there are certainly days which are harder than some, and in sales, I’ve found those days to be a bit more regular than in other roles. Does it make me love my job any less? No. But it has made me realize that I need to focus on other aspects in my life to make sure I’m caring for myself and using the support of those around me when I need it.
Thanks for reading.
Originally published Sep 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM, updated December 19 2019