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Client Story – Erin Stolte

Erin Stolte

There is a spot on my left shoulder blade that hurts like the dickens. No matter how much I shift and rub and trying to get comfortable, there is no getting rid of this stubborn pain. It usually starts about 8:30am, after I’ve been at my computer for 30 minutes sifting through emails, organizing my day, and lingers for about 8 to 10 hours until I get home. What do I do about this stubborn ache? Not a darn thing. I do my best to ignore it – how’s that for a strategy? Pay no attention. As strategies go, it’s not a very good one. Perhaps my body is trying to tell me something?

After six years of working in the chaos of start-ups, I have learned that I am not very good at paying attention to how my body is handling the inevitable stress of building a company. Though I “live” in my body, I spend most days in my brain, thinking my way through challenges, paying the rest of me – from the eyeballs down – very little attention. This means eating whatever is handy, drinking whatever has caffeine, and counting it as exercise when I walk from my desk to the copy machine. As long as I’m awake and my brain is turned on, everything’s great – right? Turns out, not so much.

One start-up I have had the privilege of supporting is Axeos, LLC. These folks are super passionate about educating companies how stress on the job is affecting both the mental and physical wellness wellbeing of their employees. From them, I have learned that how I take care of body affects the quality of my thoughts and brain performance – that stress breaks down my body in a way that can’t help but affect my mind. More importantly, I have learned to be aware of how stress uniquely affects me and with that recognition, I can head stress off at the pass.

I carry stress in my left shoulder. Instead of ignoring it – I now know to listen up and pay attention. And my career will be the better for it.

Written by Erin Stolte
VP Operations – HPT Development

Of heroes, mice and men.

Mice and men

Between action and reaction there is a space. This is the space in which you can choose how you are going to handle the challenge facing you. This is the space where you explode into a million pieces, “turn the other cheek” or rise to the challenge and are at your best. This space is often called the “count to 10” moment. Philosophers have referred to this moment as the instance where freedom lives. Freedom to choose who you are, what defines you and what you believe in.

Emergency medical responders make a living in this space. They are the ones chosen and trained because they can keep their cool and save lives while others fall apart. These are the professional managers of the “count-to-10” space, and there are others who train incessantly to develop a skill set that will NOT crack under pressure: Navy Seals, policemen, soldiers firemen and the like.
We reserve a special place in our culture for those who rise to the challenge and in the spur of the moment act and save the day; they run into the burning buildings, stop the suicidal person from jumping off the ledge or hit the armed robber with an umbrella. Heroes, we call them.

But often, our lives are also woven in repetitive – sometimes mind-numbing – routines. Extraordinary moments come and go, and then we have to wake up, have breakfast, meet inconvenient people in boring places at ungodly hours. Wash and repeat. And yet, the same dance of the action and choosing of reaction happen all the time. Except that now, we must learn to pick our battles, keep our opinions to ourselves and swallow our pride in order to keep the peace. No one will call us heroes when we choose to sit out a well-deserved insult, but our lives will be better because of it. And in this exercise of freedom, breathing steady and rhythmically go hand in hand.

This, friends, is what stress management is all about.

Written by Pilar Angel, Co-founder, Axeos LLC