Stress to be successful?

Published on 24 August 2019 at 17:57

I recently came across a post on Instagram, which stated that if you cannot handle stress, you cannot handle success. But is this really true? It made me think. Many job descriptions include this in their requirements nowadays and recruiters ask questions about stress resistance in interviews. But what is considered stress? Can we define stress? Does it feel the same to all of us? What is a stressful situation? Stress is described in the dictionary as follows: 'A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances'.

So.., if it is all about a mental state or emotion, it must be different to all of us. As we do not experience the same emotions, neither do our brains work the same way. What feels stressful to me and makes me nervous, may not affect you. So how can recruiters even ask the question if we can handle stress? Basically, we are not even able to answer this question truthfully. Even if we intend to do so.


When having a lot of work or doing extra time, it can feel more stressful to one person than to another. We are unable to feel each others emotions or expect everyone to handle the same workload. Sometimes we do not even have a good insight of what it takes to work on several projects at the same time. Especially for the ones who delegate, it can be difficult to keep track on the workload of each employee. Which can cause misunderstandings and frustrations if we do not pay attention to behavior.  


A different kind of stress is when we find ourselves in difficult (personal) times. For example when we have family issues, our relationship is under tension or financially we are on the ground. Then we might be more uptight and emotional than we are in stable situations. In our moment of anxiousness or nervosity, we might take things way heavier which can cause us stress and intense emotional feelings. So, we might conclude here that a situation can feel more stressful at times, which would not affect us at any other moment in our lives. Apart from the situations we might be in, our mind can also play tricks on us and blow up certain happenings on the job, or comments from others around us. Which at the end of the day are not that important and significant as we took them upon us in the first place.


Now the question is, does dealing with stress equals success in business? If you ask me, these topics do not directly relate. The thing we can learn to do, is to control certain emotions better, which obviously can be helpful in our professional lives. We can manage situtions that feel stressful to us easier, if we know how to control these emotions. By analysing and reflecting them, we can create a different and probably lighter less personal perspective on the occassion. After we teached ourselves how to manage our emotions and feelings caused by stress, we can progress and take on new challenges that are presented to us. 


For leaders under us: be patient with employees that face stressful situations in their lives or at work. Empathize and help them to get back on track. Don't take stress lightly. Talk with them to get a good understanding of the emotions they are dealing with and what they are going through. Find a suitable solution to not increase stress on the job, on top of the already tensed situation. Appreciate your employee for being open with you about how they feel, and encourage them to keep you informed about their mental state and progress.

When employees feel supported and understood, they are inclined to be more loyal and dedicated to their leaders as well as to their jobs.


I would like rephrase the earlier mentioned statement to: 'Take on new challenges to be successful in business'. Cause when we want to learn, grow and experience, only then we can take bigger steps and move forward. We can build on what we already know and gain more knowledge to improve and increase our business' potential. Adapt to new situations and take advantage of the information that is provided to us.