A New Outlook

I have a monthly subscription to Massage Envy. Once a month, they hit my credit card for some amount, and I get one 60-minute massage. With travel and family obligations, I haven’t been able to go every month. I have, however, found a therapist that I like. (We insiders don’t call them masseuses.) I like Angela, the therapist, because she finds every single knot on my body and, not without causing pain, endeavors to eliminate them. This week, about halfway through causing pain relief, she said, “Andy, you really should have booked longer. I’m doing the best I can, but I need more time.”

There is no doubt, that I carry a lot of stress. It’s not due to my 14-year-old son who, while home alone, left for a birthday party Saturday and not only forgot to close the garage door but also left the door to the house unlocked. It’s not due to my 11-year-old daughter either. (If you have an 11-year-old daughter, you know I don’t need to give an example.) The stress is due absolutely, positively to work. As Randy Jackson likes to say on American Idol – “one thousand million percent.”

I have realized in the past 72 hours that I alone cause the majority of my stress at work. I create the pressure that leads to the stress. I create this pressure because of my drive to succeed. It’s the same drive that drove me to a high GPA and SAT scores, an elite college and elite grad schools, and many steps up the ladders at my employers. Last Friday, after a conversation with my boss, it became clear to me that I may not go any higher at my company. I may have topped out. Unless I ease back on the gas pedal, my “drive” is going to push me up against a steel wall, only increasing the pressure.

As the weekend has gone on, however, the stress from work has declined. Because I am slowly, mentally eliminating the pressure to advance up the ladder, I am not causing myself less stress.  I am now determined to no longer look at every event, every memo, every presentation as a competition to succeed and advance at the expense of others. If I take away this pressure, realize that I make a good living and can provide for my family, takes things as they come, I think I’ll be happier. It makes sense doesn’t it?

This is a big change for me. This is a new outlook. Yes –it may be my way of “stopping to smell the roses — but it’s me getting off the fast track. In the coming posts, we’ll see how it works. Come back later to read more.

At minimum, perhaps Angela will have fewer knots to remove.