Adaptation, resilience, and goals are three components of my success when dealing with stress. Over the years, through my sports and my military careers, I have developed two major skills: personal organization and time management. Stress can come in different forms such as anxiety, nervousness, anticipation, or uncertainty. My Top 5 stress management techniques are physical fitness, surfing, soccer, running, and sitting on the beach watching the waves. These allow me to focus and move forward when stress arises.
My ability to adapt to situations that arise last-minute can be frustrating, triggering stress or overthinking. In these moments, I seek fitness and the ocean to calm and clear my mind. Over the years I have learned I can adapt to any situation by focusing on what I can control. One thing that helps me adapt is my physical readiness. My career is physically demanding, at times adding unprovoked stress to the body that can cause fatigue. As an athlete and service member, though, it’s important to train the mind and body.
One of the passions that I find happiness in is soccer. The team comradery, the strategic IQ during the field of play, and the competitive nature incorporate all three top components to my success in dealing with stress. In order to adapt to the field of play, the other team, and the environment I’m performing in, I must be resilient in my pursuit to win as well as my commitment to my team and club. Goal orientation must be in alignment with the coaching staff as well as the other players on the field. As a team player, you must understand the commitment and responsibility to others to win or be successful. Being on the field, outside with friends and spectators is an experience only few will understand. As an athlete, I am familiar with all the chaos due to my planning and preparation prior to my games. My personal organizational need to be a priority so my full focus can be on the game and team members when the time comes.
Another activity that I enjoy is surfing. It allows me to disconnect from the electronics, busy roadways, and work. The ocean is powerful yet calming with the seamless flow of currents below my feet, at the same time displaying its relentless power with the crashing of the waves. I’m not able to control the currents or waves, therefore it becomes a learning experience in controlling only my ability to stand up and ride the wave or sit calmly until it’s time to paddle. Being in the ocean has been a great escape for me and a way to destress from my hectic lifestyle of planning, training, and mentoring others. When I’m in the ocean, I get to relax and enjoy some peace while cheering others on when they catch a nice wave. Surfing is difficult and takes balance, calmness, and an understanding of how and when the wave will break.
With so much going on in life, we sometimes forget to take time to enjoy our hobbies. With diligent time management, it becomes easier to partake in activities like surfing. This requires some resiliency because you’re not always going to catch the right wave or have the perfect ride…and then you fall… a lot. But you must continue to get back up and try again. It’s the same in life: every time you fall or struggle, you remember your goals, get back up, refocus, and make the adjustments.
In my time in the military and sports, I have never been the fastest, most skilled, or even the most winningest, but I always focus on my personal goals. It’s my consistency and hard work that aid my preparation for an event. Having goals keeps me focused on what I want. I’m often motivated when others around me are better, and I hope to help others push themselves a bit harder as well. I believe in myself and perform positive self-talk to focus on keeping a winning mindset. Stress or anxiety can sometimes creep in, but focusing on adaptation, resilience, and goal setting helps calm my mind and prepare me for any challenge. This is also a testament to my time management and personal organizational throughout. Without time management I’m unable to complete all the task and enjoy the extracurricular activities.
No one is any different than the next when it comes to feeling overwhelmed or stressed, but it is how we cope with each that helps us move forward successfully. Utilizing the resources available working well with my team helps me to successfully complete my job duties and responsibilities in a timely manner.
By #CougaMBAssador Jeremy Dornbusch