Stress: Better Organization is Not the Answer

Published June 11, 2020


Leading YourselfWellness
This article is a part of The Global Leadership Summit Faculty Spotlight series where we feature content from the upcoming #GLS20 speakers. This is a great opportunity to get a taste of what to expect from these amazing leaders!


The GLS team is excited to welcome top speaker and best-selling author Rory Vaden to #GLS20. Rory will be sharing insights on how to multiply your time from his fantastic book, Procrastinate on Purpose.

Stress is something that we all have to deal with.

Stress is one of those things that no matter who you are or what business you’re in, you are going to have stress.

And if you have kids, you know what it feels like to have the pressure to take care of your kids, but also trying to grow your career and improve what you’re doing in your business. You’re trying to be a great mom or a great dad. Or maybe you’re trying to be a great sibling or you’re trying to be a great volunteer.

And, so successful people inevitably are going to deal with stress. There are healthy ways to respond to stress, and there are not-so-healthy ways to respond to stress.


A Leader’s Response to Stress

But what I want to talk about is probably the overachievers’ number one response to stress.

If you’re reading this, and you are a leader, you’re an overachiever. You’re a mover and shaker. There’s a good chance that you do this, and I know, because this is what I do. I have learned it’s not that this is wrong but it’s not the highest response to stress.

And so, here’s what happens.

Something shows up in our life. It creates stress. Usually, it’s the result of something that isn’t working as efficiently as it could. Or it’s something that used to work that is now broken. And so, you think, “Oh, why won’t this work? Why can’t this just work? Why can’t it just operate the way it’s supposed to operate? Like, why can’t the thing, or the person, just do the thing that’s supposed to be done?”

And that creates stress. And, so what is the response?

Let me tell you how most overachievers do it, or at least let me share with you how I have done it!


Your Response to Stress is Organization

Many people who are high achievers–or overachievers, or entrepreneurs, or leaders or whatever the term is that you want to use–respond to stress by trying to apply more organization.

Most of us have stress. Something breaks down, something isn’t working, and our response is

  • more organization,
  • more systems,
  • more structure,
  • more linear thinking,
  • results-mindset problem-solving, right?

We think, “How do I take this issue and just remedy it? How do I fix it? I just want it to go away.”

And again, I don’t think that’s the wrong response. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad response. But here’s what I know: that response often causes more stress in the moment.


The Greatest Response to Stress

Isn’t that ironic? The response to solving something immediately often causes more stress in the midst of a stressful situation.

So, what is the greatest response to stress? Here is my hypothesis.

The highest response to stress is not more organization. The highest response to stress is more gratitude.

When you have stress, it’s usually because something has broken down. It’s something that’s not working the way it should be working or the way that you want it to be working. And when it breaks, we immediately go to the part that’s broken, to the thing that’s not working. We say, “Why isn’t this working? How I need it to work!”

What happens when we do that is, we’re overlooking the thing itself. We’re overlooking the fact that there is something there that is broken. There is something there, and it’s almost always a blessing.

  • There are house problems, but there is a house. There are problems that have to be dealt with, but there’s a house to be grateful for.
  • Or there’s a person who possibly isn’t performing or doing something we want them to do, but there is a person there.
  • There is a tool that is no longer working the way we want it to work, but there is a tool that is there.

We overlook the blessing because we draw our attention to the problem that is, the result of what is. We focus so quickly on what is wrong that we forget to look at what is right. We overlook what is right, we overlook what is there.

The greatest response to stress is not more organization. The greatest response to stress is more gratitude.


Be Grateful

If you can first be grateful …

if you can first be thankful …

if you can first acknowledge the blessing that is …

Then you will have more clarity. You will have more peace and you will likely solve the problem more efficiently. And that is tremendous discipline. That is a higher-level choice – the response to choose gratitude in times of stress.

It’s what most people don’t do, and it’s why stress affects so many of us.

It’s why stress is linked to so many health problems because so many of us quickly jump to the solution. To the efficiency. To remedy the problem. And we overlook the tremendous blessing that is.

So, the next time you have something that stresses you out, I want to invite you and encourage you to pause and say, “What is the blessing that is there in the first place?”

And make sure that you’re not overlooking the thing that is just to solve the problem that has resulted.

You can connect with Rory on Instagram @roryvaden, on LinkedIn @roryvaden or on Facebook @rorywvaden.

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About the Author
Rory Vaden Is one of our incredible 2020 faculty members for the The Global Leadership.

Rory Vaden


Brand Builders Group

A recognized expert in business strategy and leadership development, Rory Vaden a New York Times Best-Selling author, and Hall of Fame speaker. Rory’s pioneering firm, Brand Builders Group, specializes in helping leaders become more respected, trusted, recognized and influential. His insights have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN, Entrepreneur, Inc, on Fox News and he was named as one of the top 100 leadership speakers in the world by Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine calls him “One of the world’s leading productivity thinkers.” Rory’s latest book, Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time.

Years at GLS 2020