When someone tells you to “not stress it” it can make things worse. However, what letting go of tension means for you and your career means is you can now focus with a clear head. Women hold stress differently than men. We often bottle our stress up until pressure builds up and the cork wants to shoot off. But, as author and speaker Joyce Meyer says, “When you bury something alive, it stays alive.” Once bottled up, these feelings won’t go away unless they are addressed somehow, somewhere. Men don’t allow their focus to be diluted with personal issues nearly as much as women do. Don’t worry about what your partner said last night or whether or not your children are happy and on the right road or how you feel about what the last month’s holiday treats have done to your waistline. We need to set all the little things aside so we don’t let them increase our stress. When our worries are weighing on us, it shows.
Here’s what letting go of tension means for you and your career:
One day, just before a presentation, I stepped down the hall to the restroom. As I was washing my hands, I saw my reflection in the mirror. It was scary. I thought, “Oh, my God! This woman is a walking stress time bomb.” I looked so tense. (I can’t even remember why.) It was a wake-up call. I quickly stretched my eyes, mouth, neck, shoulders, and arms. Good thing the restroom was empty, because I’m sure I looked silly.
No one wants to listen to someone who’s tense. The audience will become as tense as the speaker. We want to listen to people who are confident and relaxed. We may not be excited about or looking forward to every presentation, interview, or meeting due to the personal space we are in, but we need to look as though we are. Be sure and stretch your face, neck, and shoulders and take a few deep breaths before meetings to make sure you align your attitude and physical presence. Do a quick mirror check if there’s one available. You can even take a quick selfie. Does your face show you are happy to be there and excited about what you have to share? Are your shoulders straight and your posture energetic? Does your face and body language radiate with the message you want your audience or client to receive? Try it. You’ll perform better and exude a confidence that will inspire others to have confidence in you too.
Marja Norris is the CEO and Founder of MarjaNorris.com, a company dedicated to helping women achieve their career goals with style and confidence. With a distinguished career in finance, Marja has successfully navigated the male-dominated business world. Working her way up from an entry-level assistant to a Senior Vice President, she draws on her three decades of experience in the corporate world to empower women to pursue their highest goals and blossom into everything they can be.
Marja is passionate about coaching women on projecting their best professional selves. With the publication of her latest book, The Unspoken Code: A Businesswoman’s No-Nonsense Guide to Making It in the Corporate World, Marja’s mission is to provide women with the tools to successfully navigate the workplace through heightened confidence, excellent communication skills, and dressing the part to achieve career success.