Archive for August, 2011

Tips for Turning Stress on its Head, or: I Wish I Had Read this Earlier in My Life

August 31st, 2011 by under Admissions, B-School Primer PLUS, Professional Development. No Comments.

The Alchemy of Motivation

I recently read this Harvard Business Review article about managing stress and I thought it would be useful to post on the blog, especially for incoming first year students.

It’s an insightful piece on how to turn stress from a liability into an asset by:

  • Recognizing that stress is an indicator telling you what is important to you;
  • Reframing stress away from a fight-or-flight mentality to a broaden-and-build mindset;
  • Identifying what you can and cannot control and only worrying about the former;
  • Building a productive and positive support system; and
  • Sharpening your stress handling system by increasing experience

Sometimes, I'll add things I've already accomplished just so I can also check it off. Don't judge - it WORKS! Source: Movers's Edge

Stephen’s Tips

I would add to this that making small little steps is a method that has worked really well for me to build my confidence and help me feel like I can do more.  Making lists and then checking items off is especially helpful.

Also, I try to remember not to worry about mistakes or embarressments I made in the past.  Just as we (should) make decisions based on incremental or future costs and ignore sunk costs, we should ignore sunk costs that hold us back psychologically.  If you learn how to do this successfully, tell me how.

And if you do end up paralyzed, at least procrastinate on the highest priority issue by working on the second highest priority instead – this has been my fall back strategy for ages, and at least keeps me productive….for example, I should be writing a case analysis for Pricing Strategy right now, but I thought it would clear my head to work on this blog, which is part of my graduate assistantship.

Stress in MBA Life

Part of the MBA experience is dealing with different sources of stress, including classes, team projects, the internship/job hunt, part-time jobs, family committments, graduate assistantships, loans, professional development, club activities, and networking.

At the Smith School, we learn through trial, error, revision, success, teamwork,  and reflection how to improve our self-management.  It’s difficult to be a good leader if you can’t be a good role model.

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