Home The Columnists Behind The Mike Stress



By Michael Aun


Stress. We all endure it from time to time.

“It is not the load that breaks you down, it is the way you carry it,” reflected Notre Dame and South Carolina coach Lou Holtz.

The very best instrument in your mental tool box is choice. When you think about it, everything boils down to choices. When you look back in your life, every good or bad decision made was because of a choice.

In most decisions, there are infinite opportunities to make the right or wrong choice. Every bad choice slams the door on many or all options. The good news… at any point we can change the direction of our lives by changing the choice we make. In a free society, it is all in your hands.

My old high school football coach, the late J.W. Ingram, loved saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

S.T.R.E.S.S, according to Dave Willis, is an acronym for “Someone Trying to Repair Every Situation Solo.” I am not sure who said it, but I once heard a speaker remark, “I stress about stress before there is even stress to stress about. Then I stress about stressing over stress that does not need to be stressed about. It is all so stressful.”

Most of the anxiety in our lives has its roots embedded in the concept of pleasing others. The frustration in our lives comes from stressing over the future. The good news we can control it by making the right choices.

I am the “King” of bad choices. I often say that I serve as a good “bad example” for my children and grandchildren. Fortunately, they are all pretty good at assessing me.

In short, you should not stress about things you cannot change. Play the hand you are dealt like it was the hand that you wanted. It will not change the outcome, but it will help your attitude.

When you are here… and you want to be there, we stress about “why” we are not there. The simple fact is you cannot master the rest of your life in one day, but you can master the day one day at a time.

We should not confuse stress with passion. Stress is often manufactured from things we truly do not care about. When we bust your butt for something you love, that is called passion.

I was blessed to learn early in my life about passion. Speaking in front of a group of people was my greatest fear and is, in fact, the number one fear in the world today. Death is fourth on the list of fears. Go figure… people would rather die than give a speech.

When my high school guidance counsellor the William Moses told me I was best suited to be a ballerina (based on the test he gave me), how was I supposed to interpret that?

It took me several decades to conclude that I really wanted to master the process of being in front of a group of people. The vehicle of “speaking” was simply the medium by which I could accomplish that.

Instead of being stressed about who and what I was, I concluded I was blessed to be who I was… imperfect in so many ways but unique in others. Accepting yourself is an important part of the formula.

Anger drove much of the stress in my own life and I never knew why until I discovered that calmness was power, the very foundation of all that we hold dear. Tension is who we think we should be; peace is discovering who we really are.

Yes… you can exercise away some stress. You can eat less and eliminate some stress… you adopt the right attitude and eliminate some stress.

You could handle stress like a dog. If you cannot eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away. Remember when you were a little kid? You did not know what stress or worry was, i.e. you had no cares in the world. Think like little kids and dogs and you will not just survive, you will thrive.

Michael Aun, CSP®, CPAE Hall of Fame Speaker® is the author of “X-Raying the Prospect… Understanding 28 Personality Patterns of Your Customers”