Stresshack #5: The Being and Doing of Stress

Seurat_1884_DimancheJatte Getting things done is important. In most organizations, from the family unit to the corporation and the nation, performance is often and sometimes exclusively evaluated on its basis.

But the doing of important and not so important tasks needs to be in sync with our unique and private way of being in the world. The more in sync with who we really are, the more what we do with our time and resources will feel rewarding and more deeply fulfilling.

A leader of others needs to be able to be genuinely true to self.  Research findings show that the best leaders in business, academia and politics are not significantly different from what they do. In fact, who they truly are and what they do appear to be one and the same.

One of the most significant sources of stress is when being and doing are not synchronized. When the individual feels (and is often not able to articulate) that what it is being done is at odds with what would “feel right” to do according to one’s authentic way of being, trouble often results.

A typical example is that of the overachiever or compulsive striver whose activities do not harmonize with values and private lifestyle. Eventually, this disharmony between being and doing creates high stress (allostatic load), whose consequences are (among others) ineffective personal and interpersonal leadership behaviors.