Hi. My name’s Jamie and I’m a (former) Stress Addict.
Tell me what a day in your life was like when you were a stress addict. How did you spend your time?
Disclaimer: I’m still not sure I’m recovered. I might be an occasionally relapsing stress junkie. I would say (and this is the hard thing to STOP doing) that I overbooked myself A LOT. And instead of just digging into work or tasks and focusing or getting off my ass to get shit done, I would spend an unnecessary amount of time in “planning mode.” Like, as if the amount of stuff I had to accomplish would be less stressful with a “perfect” plan. I now know that’s crazy. I still have an unreasonable amount of lists (in my iPhone, in Asana, in Google Tasks, plus, like 5 different journals) but I handle the overwhelm of them differently. I used to feel like not getting it all done MEANT something about me – like I was failing. Now, I’m not so stupid. You have to set yourself up for success to be successful.
Typical Day (and this is probably a version of a bad day): Wake up, have coffee, worry about the shit I have to do. Make a list. Try to get shit done. Worry more than do. Stare at the list. Try to use my email as a to-do list (which is not a good idea AT ALL). I think a major shift that still fluctuates is being proactive versus reactive. Starting the day reacting to demands or needs or worries as opposed to tackling what you’ve chosen to do, can often make a huge difference for me.
What were the biggest causes of stress in your life during that time?
Most of my stress is self-imposed. Although going to a specialized Arts High School in NYC and having a high-volume Hollywood job were probably the most “externally stressful” times of my life. They were both pressure cooker situations where I felt a strong need to perform, excel, and prove myself. And proving is the worst thing ever. Like, literally the worst.
Was there a specific turning point for you when you realized things needed to change? Was there a moment where you felt like you hit rock-bottom?
I definitely hit rock bottom in Los Angeles before moving back to New York. That meant I was working over 70 hours a week, making barely any money and going into debt, feeling creatively unfulfilled, and overall undervalued at my job. It was no bueno. Shit needed to change. Was there a moment? When I told my boss I was leaving and he threatened to ruin my career… (yay, Hollywood!)
What’s a day in your life like now that you’re a (former) stress addict?
Summertime in NYC! Wake up. Have iced coffee. Outside in a bikini in the sunshine, with my laptop. Yes, I work in a bikini.
What’s the one thing you changed that had the greatest impact?
Getting the right support system in place. Having the right coach (or multiple coaches) has changed my life. I started looking within and facing shit I had been avoiding. I got braver. I moved in the direction of circumstances where I was valued. That’s actually a new rule for me. Go where you’re valued. No matter how much a smarty-pants know-it-all you are, you cannot intellectualize personal growth. It’s emotional. And you need the right support team. So get a coach, surround yourself with like-minded people and move in a direction that excites and inspires you.
If I had one thing to say about hiring a coach it would be this, I would rather have a coach for the rest of my life and never buy another pair of Christian Louboutins. (Steps off soapbox now, with stilettos.)
What’s the one thing that you remember when you start to stress that pulls you out of it?
For me it’s always: 1. What am I trying to prove and why? (And stop!) 2. What can I do to live in this moment? 3. What am I making this mean or what story am I telling myself about today?
Jamie Jensen is a word wing-woman + sexy sentence slinger (a.k.a. crafty copywriter). She helps world-changing women (and some dope dudes too) unleash clear communication in their best possible voice for their biz. So they can go from bumbling to bold, baffled to brazen, and vague to valued. Because that’s where the power lies: saying what you’re about so you sell like hotcakes. You can find her over at www.yourhotcopy.com and on Facebook.