Karen Maleck-Whiteley and I are pleased to be officially launching Stop Managing Stress! 20 Questions to Reclaim Your Life. One thing I tell my writing clients is you have to promise yourself you’ll keep coming back to your book and finish it when life gets in the way. It is too easy to have unfinished projects sitting on shelves or in unopened folders on your computer. This book almost met that fate!
Stop Managing Stress! started as a workbook over 10 years ago. Karen and I used to have a company called WMW Group and one of our offerings was corporate stress management workshops. Some of you may have even met me through those workshops. Karen and I had a problem with that company–life got in the way–a lot. We both had mothers who were aging and facing severe health challenges. We had many other commitments that meant we never devoted enough time to get the business to a place where it thrived. And perhaps even more importantly, something didn’t feel right about the whole concept of “stress management.” We disbanded the company. Our mothers passed away. I studied Shamanism. Karen started a wonderful crafting business called Divine You Crafts, which gave her artist a place to play.
A little over 3 years ago, I came across this workbook and I read it. It had lots of good stuff in it. I thought it would be a perfect “back burner” item for me to complete and maybe offer as an e-book. I called Karen and said, “I think we should finish the stress book. It should only take us 6 weeks or so.” I’m not sure that Karen was excited as I was about jumping back into this old project but she agreed. As we worked, we found what we couldn’t put our finger on 10 years before. The idea of “stress management” is actually quite silly.
After all, who wants to spend life managing stress? What you focus on you get more of—More Stress? No, Thank You. When we manage our stress by doing little things that take the edge off, we never get to the heart of where stress is created.
Stress isn’t what happens to us. It is our expectations about how life should be versus the reality of what it is. Stress is how we take on more work than we should because we don’t say no. Stress is not listening to our own hearts and following someone else’s path. Stress is losing our sense of humor about how weird life can be. Stress is not allowing ourselves to feel our disappointments. But most important, this thing called stress that everyone tells us is so bad may not be at all. We read a study that said people who thought stress was bad for them had worse outcomes than people who said “I’m going through a bad time but I’ll get through—the stress won’t hurt me!” Holy Shit! We had been teaching people that stress could kill them—we hope they didn’t internalize that message that medicine and we shared with them.
The book reminds us that if you don’t ask yourself the right questions, you can end up living life by default rather than choice. If you don’t do the things you know you should do, you stay in the same spot. This is a fun book that reminds women that we often try to control, make assumptions, forget to say no and all sorts of other things that cause us stress. (We wrote this book specifically for women but we don’t mind if men read it too!) The book is a light-hearted but important look as how we can choose to live more powerful, fulfilling and fun lives. We tell tales on ourselves and all the ways we choose lives that have stress rather than laughter, love and joy.
They say writers often write what they need to learn. I know that is true for me. I keep coming back to the 20 questions in the book and finding tweaks for my life. One of the phrases that Karen and I have used for years is: Done is Better Than Perfect. We have had to use it many times in the development of this book. The book sat for 6 months because we had come to the place where we thought it needed more examples and a major rewrite. We came back to it after that break, reread it and found that it actually was good without that major rewrite. (Oh what we do to ourselves when we listen to that perfectionist!)
Stop Managing Stress! 20 Questions to Reclaim Your Life wasn’t a 6-week project. Life got in the way. We had to keep coming back to it and overcome our inner critics. But we are celebrating. It’s done. It may not be perfect but if I do say so myself, it is pretty darn good.
Check out the official Page for Stop Managing Stress! There are links to all the ways you can get your copy today!
And if you read it, I’d love to hear what you think!