My wife is willing to give me 20 points for stress. "But that's it, buddy," she says.
We're moving next month. According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, "change in residence" weighs in at 20 points. It's more than a minor violation of the law (11 pts), but less than imprisonment (63 pts).
That makes sense. Imprisonment involves being locked up—after moving.
Most stress is about change, whether good or bad. Losing your job is stressful (47 pts), but so is an "outstanding personal achievement" (28 pts).
When work changes, leaders illuminate the future. They offer hope.
Thomas Watson, founder of IBM, was once asked when he knew IBM would become a colossus. "The first day," he said.
"I had a very clear picture," Watson said, "of what the company would look like when it was finally done.
"I realized that for IBM to become a great company it would have to act like a great company long before it ever became one" ("The E-Myth Revisited," Michael Gerber).
When my wife and I first started packing, we had no idea where we were going, no view of the future. All we saw were boxes and boxes.
Then, a few weeks ago, we bought a new house. It's close to Boston, and looks out on a small pond. Sometimes, I picture that pond, and instead of worrying about packing, I worry about drought.
Psychologist Martin Seligman says you can usually predict the outcome of a U.S. presidential election by which candidate is most optimistic ("Learned Optimism").
A classic case, Reagan vs. Carter in 1980.
President Carter spoke about a "crisis of confidence" in a speech to the nation. "This is not a message of reassurance," he said.
I listened to that speech recently. It's the kind of speech that makes you worry about drought.
Reagan radiated optimism. "It's morning again in America!" was one of his ad campaigns.
Carter, of course, had beaten President Ford four years earlier. But President Ford was not known for optimism either.
"The State of the Union," he said in one of his annual addresses, "is not good."
Tip: Leaders acknowledge the current state, then drive to a better one. Sometimes, they bring boxes.
© Copyright 2012 Paul Hellman. All rights reserved.
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Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.