Finally – Revelation Of A Puzzling Stress Condition

Stressed business manIt’s been quite some time since you’ve heard from me on here.


I know this is not the way a blog is supposed to be run, as it does absolutely nothing to increase readership or popularity and goes against the teachings of my mentors in iPro. There are no excuses for deliberately avoiding tasks that should be done, especially those tasks that are associated with an ongoing business strategy, especially as that very same strategy is supposed to fulfill my goal of establishing a solid and financially secure business.


The only explanation I have for things that I have or have not done, either recently or over the past few years, can only be associated in some way with the breakdown I suffered at work back in 2010.


In fact, August 2nd was the sixth anniversary of its occurrence.


Anyone who has endured trauma – whether mental or physical – will know just how difficult it can be to explain, or to justify or even apply logic to their subsequent actions or indeed their lack of action following in the wake of a major traumatic event. I still have no real clue as to why I choose to do or not do certain things. For people with no experience or understanding of a breakdown, the actions of those afflicted may seem hard to understand, even erratic, pointless or maybe downright bizarre.


Over the past six years I know that I am slowly getting better, although I don’t really know how “better” can be truly defined as a specific end-point and I guess that it is probably in the same category as to what actually determines someone or something to be “normal”, that is, if there really can be any true definition of it.


All I really can say is that I seem to have developed some form of defence mechanism, which has the effect of switching my mind away from things that appear to be threatening in some way, although I have no clue as to why my blog should suddenly start to show signs of becoming something that could induce a high amount of stress.


I’ve recently returned from a two week stay with my sister, which included the wedding of her eldest daughter – my niece – to a college professor and research scientist (he also holds a number of doctorates). He was also in the middle of writing a grant application and research submission for publication in order to secure his continued tenure for the coming year.


Talk about everything happening at once in his life!


My sister lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and the last two weeks away from my own life and environment is something I needed – although I didn’t really know it at the time. The last time I saw my sister and her family was at my own daughters’ wedding in 2015 and the time before that was in 2011 at her other daughters’ wedding.


So, it’s now back to my own life and time to get things back on track with my own business.


The title of this post is “Can My Stress Become A Business Advantage?” and when planning it, I had intended for it to be just a revelation of what I had discovered about my own condition when in Canada. I’ve heard it said that in order to find yourself, you first need to get away from your own familiar surroundings and environment, in order to avoid those distractions that can so easily cause your attention to refocus on something else.


Although not totally unfamiliar to me, the surroundings I have been immersed in and the people that were around me have been sufficiently different for me to realize something that has most probably been there for quite some time. Also, I mentioned above that I had originally intended this post to be about a revelation I had discovered, but ‘Synchronicity’ has also played a part in those plans.


If you are unfamiliar with Synchronicity, it is a phenomenon of the Law of Attraction and is stated that there are no such things as chance or coincidence. They do not exist and their occurrence is not random. Synchronicity is the law of unity and arises from the deepest source of our destiny. And so it was that this article from the Harvard Business Review popped into my Inbox; ‘How to Use Stress to Your Advantage’ Clicking the link will cause it to open in a new tab, please take the time to read it.


In my particular case, my breakdown has left me with an enduring and overpowering fear of crowds. With everything I have gone through, this has been the most stubborn and consistent fear. Most of the time, I will appear to be perfectly fine and it’s only when I’m within a crowd of people that things become very confused and frightening for me. I’ve always explained it as the closeness of everyone and their unpredictability – people really do not look where they are going and will often just stop or suddenly change direction!


My revelation happened the morning after an event we had all attended the previous evening. It was a cultural event which was part of an annual celebration called Folklorama, which takes place on the first two weeks in August. It’s a festival of global culture, with individual pavilions’ for each of the countries where people have migrated from over the years into the Province of Manitoba.


I experienced the usual feelings of confusion and fright in the pavilion, the sound of all the people talking merged into a chaotic and overwhelming confusion of noise, obliterating anything my family tried to say to me. As is usual in these situations, my wife took my hand to guide me along.


It is said that we all dream when we sleep and that a large proportion of us rarely remember what the dream or dreams have been about. I also rarely recall dreams, but that night I did remember a dream, very vividly. The strange thing about the dream is that it was not about me or anyone I know. It was as if I was being shown something that had already happened, although I don’t know when it happened.


It involved a man, a woman and a boy and was extremely disturbing. When thinking about it the following morning, it suddenly struck me that the feelings of confusion and fright I suffer in crowds actually has very little to do with verbal noise or the unpredictability of people. I now realize that the feeling of fright; noise and crowds are all associated with some type of emotional absorption, which I am unconsciously trying to avoid.


Now, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you are wondering what any of this has to do with using my stress as an advantage in business. Well, if you have read the article I referenced above ‘How to Use Stress to Your Advantage’ on the Harvard Business Review website, you will have seen that a certain level of stress is actually necessary for us to achieve goals and fulfill our potential. If it wasn’t for stress, we wouldn’t have an automated response to danger, which has ensured our evolution and survival. When used consciously and by acknowledging its’ power, stress can provide us with the ability to judge situations and to form balanced assessments of them.


I know that I will need time to gradually accept the realities of my new discovery. but finding out what the fear is about does give me a great sense of progress and begins to provide me with some answers to a fear that just won’t go away and until now, has made no sense. So, an understanding of this apparent new ability I appear to have acquired should provide a kind of non-verbal access, rather like a peek directly through a customers’ eyes and hopefully be able to ‘tune-in’ to them.


I’m convinced that the disturbing dream I had came directly to me from one of those people in the crowd at that pavilion. I don’t know if it will only work when I’m among people, but it will be a huge step-forward in enabling me to properly reconnect with people again at social and business-focused gatherings.

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Mike Flanagan
In 2014, I retired from Senior Technical Executive post with a top level, global IT systems and solutions corporation. Freelanced in the late 1990's in my own IT consultancy business & rejoined the corporate world 2005. Now decided to go into business again, this time online with an Internet Marketing Company I call CS Marketing (the CS stands for Corporate Survivor). I help others interested in online business and use the technical and business skills gained throughout my professional career.