When we got married I told my wife 'If you leave me, I'm going with you.' And she never did.
James Fineous McBride
It was July 4th. Family BBQ at Natalie’s parents’ house. Large family, lots of conversation. Most of us are in our late 20’s, building families and careers…comparing notes.
At the time, I had a retail job. My boss that had a 3rd degree black belt –
he didn’t know karate, but he knew Ka-razy
(that’s “crazy” for the non-James Brown aficionados –the Big Payback…one of my favorites!)
As it was my turn to gripe about my job, I began,
“Yes, my current boss is impossible. He makes it difficult for our store to be a success,”
I finished, with decorum and diplomacy for the circle of listeners. My son, Chaz, who might have been 6 years old at the time jumped in…
“You said he didn’t know his head from his… (Natalie’s hand over his mouth was just in time!)
Hey, what happened to being seen and not heard! Sweat was now pouring from my brow. Everyone knew I said it, and yes, I did, but in the sanctity of our home, in a private conversation with Natalie as he played video games…or so I thought.
“What made you repeat that?” I asked, on the way home.
Silence – now he has comedic timing!
Getting brave, he spoke up and said, “I don’t like the way he treats you and you should beat him up and show him who is boss.”
Yes, if only video game justice prevailed in real life. I realized that Chaz had begun to hate my job on my behalf. So did Natalie, except she had the maturity of understanding the paradoxical balance between me walking off the job when things were unbearable. Or simply walking away from a bad conversation, with a crazy boss – with a little of my pride taken.
I also realized that I had not given them a full rounded view of what I did for a living. I actually loved that job. I was a manager of a very busy Men’s Store, selling upscale suits to business clientele, and I got a 40% discount on my purchases!
Your spouse (or kids, for that matter) have no way of knowing if you are really stressed out, or energized, until you share the final component of our M.V.P. Award.
I had shared the pressure, but not in the way that was enabling…only debilitating. Did you know pressure or stress comes in two varieties?
Eustress and Distress.
We all know what distress is, but what about eustress? It is Greek for
“Stress that is deemed healthful for giving one the feeling of fulfillment.”
I am connected to an industry that markets Medicare Advantage products to eligible beneficiaries – mainly seniors. Each year, we have an Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). It is a time of chaos and frenetic activity as millions of beneficiaries and thousands of agents scramble to do all that is necessary to help them decide and to be successful.
The #1 thing I hear during this time…
“The AEP stresses me out!”
The #2 thing I hear (yes, from the same agent just moments later when tasked) …
“Oh, I love the AEP!”
They love the action, the pace, the opportunity. Yes, some of the requirements are arduous and repetitive, but necessary. Your spouse has no way of knowing if you are really stressed out or energized.
Until you share The Pressure.
Both kinds. Be real about what is disagreeable, but also balance it with the good parts. When a room of agents get together in these environments, we understand one another…we feel each other because we can relate. Semantics are part of the rite of passage…to complain about something we love.
Give your spouse the tools they need to relate to your job. The pressures great and small, and the difficulties that you overcome because of your gifts and talents. The distress and the eustress. Sales is not easy, but you are gifted to handle it.
They should have a deep sense that you are in your element…that your contents are not under pressure!