What a soldier on a plane taught me about perspective.
I fly a lot during the spring and fall as I travel to speaking events.
I often try to talk to the people sitting next to me unless they are enveloped in a cone of silence, AKA headphones.
On one flight I was sitting next to a network engineer who helped run the IT department at a large company.
As we talked about his job, I asked him if it was stressful. He was in charge of a huge network, the technology was changing constantly and it seemed like he had a lot of demands on him.
He laughed for a second and then said, “I’ve been shot at. In Afganistan there were people trying to kill me. The worst IT issue I have to deal with doesn’t really touch the stress of that. When things fall apart on some project at work, I’m able to keep perspective. No one is shooting at me. We’ll figure it out.”
The problems I had seemed pretty small in that moment. I might feel pressure about growing a platform or figuring out a new idea, but no one is shooting at me. No one is trying to kill me. I do some stressful things sometimes but no one’s life hangs in the balance in my job.
In my most stressful situations, I’m going to be alright.
And chances are, so will you.
If you ever feel stressed about some dream you’re chasing, find a soldier. Thank him or her for serving and then ask about his or her day.
Your perspective will never be the same.
Question: How do you deal with stress?