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Observing Your Stress Responses

Published 11/21/2018

Take a moment to think about how you respond to stress. You're tested when you face a challenge or a problem occurs in your world. In today's episode, we're going to talk about the ways we express ourselves when faced with stress or challenges we're faced with.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
It's a very busy week for most of us as developers. Many of us are working at companies that have major sales cycles, especially in the states. There are a lot of companies doing Black Friday deals this week. So we're going to keep the next two episodes, today's episode and Friday's episode are going to be short episodes. We're going to do them in the format of a challenge. Now I mentioned in the last episode of Developer Tea, I mentioned that we're going to be releasing a new thing coming in the new year. I can't tell you everything about it, but it's going to be very similar to the type of content that you're going to hear in today's episode. And I'm really excited about it, but I want to go ahead and jump into today's topic. Before we do that, though, I want to thank today's awesome sponsor, Linode. If you've listened to Developer Tea for very long, then you know that Linode provides industry leading Linux in the cloud services. They do this with your choice of Linux distribution, resources, and no location. You can get that up and running in just a few minutes. They have 10 data centers worldwide, so it's going to be super fast, no matter where you are located. Your plans are going to start with a gigabyte of RAM. That's their lowest sized plan in terms of RAM. That's only $5 a month. Now they're going to give you $20 worth of credit for being a Developer Tea listener. So that's equivalent to basically four months. Go and check it out. Lino.com slash Developer Tea. And use the code DeveloperTea2018 at checkout for the $20 worth of credit. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode. So you probably have heard this kind of advice before that you are really tested when the difficult times come when you face a problem. And that's true. And often we think about this type of advice in terms of when a problem occurs in our world. When we face some kind of, you know, adverse condition, like for example, we get in a car wreck or we can lay it off from our job or, you know, some other kind of, you know, event that occurs. But I want to challenge you and change the way you think about this advice, the idea that you're a lot of who you are, a lot of the way that you operate in the world is going to come out. It's going to be exposed and expressed whenever not only when you face some adverse condition, but when you have any kind of stress at all. And specifically today, I want to talk about the stress of differing opinions as a way of showing and expressing your values and your way of dealing with the world. When you encounter a different opinion, how do you typically respond? I like to imagine this through a metaphor. It's kind of like a room, the way that the room responds to sounds. And maybe initially the quiet sounds, there's not really much of a response, but as they get louder. A room will echo, and usually that echo has its own kind of unique signature depending on the shape of the room. Another good metaphor might be a mattress. No, this is not another ad read. But the way that a mattress responds when you put pressure on it, you can look at two mattresses and they may look exactly the same. They may have the same shape, the same contour, even the same claimed features. But then when you put stress on them, how those mattresses respond can be entirely different from each other. So it's important to know kind of what our resting state shape is. This is important. But it's also perhaps even more important to understand how we respond to stress. And the particular type of stress that developers face, perhaps the most often, is the stress of dealing with differing opinions. When you're negotiating with other people's opinions, for example, if you have another developer on your team who thinks that things should be written differently, then you do. Or perhaps you have a manager who believes that you don't need to spend as much time doing X, Y or Z, and you believe the opposite. This kind of stress, and forgive me for the cliche, but it reveals your character. And when I say character, I don't necessarily mean it reveals how good of a character you have versus how bad of a character you have. Instead, it also reveals the uniqueness of your contributions. So here's the basic challenge for today's episode. What I encourage you to do today, when you encounter this kind of stress, because you will, at some point, encounter a different opinion from yours. Instead of immediately taking your own side, in other words, instead of immediately fighting for your own opinion and advocating for your own perspective, take a moment to recognize the way that your character is responding to that stress, the way that you kind of echo back when you hear a loud noise. Do you tend to buckle under that stress? Do you tend to immediately move into a defensive posture? Do you have a shutdown mechanism? Do you respond by listening, but quietly writing off what that person has to say? These are all things that are pretty normal for people to do, but if we can learn new ways, if we can remind ourselves that other people have the opinions they have for a reason, that when they approach a conversation, typically their goal is not to sabotage that conversation. Usually, we have the same intentions, the same outcome in mind, the same success in front of us as our goal. So if we can understand other people's opinions, then that stress that we respond to, that character that comes out, can be shaped for mutual benefit, rather than for personal benefit. And instead of seeing other people's opinions as some kind of offense, something to fight against, you can start to integrate your opinion with theirs. You see, we have this mindset that one of us has to win, but if instead we can think about ways that we can combine our efforts and come out with a better solution than we would have come out with on our own, then we can start to realize that those stressful moments are indeed one of the most important opportunities that we have in our day. Now, the most important opportunity because they are the moment when we decide if we want to collaborate and cooperate, or if we want to be destructive. So the challenge, once again, is very simple. Take a moment, pause, whenever you are hearing an opinion that feels stressful to you, that is differing from your own opinion, instead of immediately responding, pause and observe, observe how you're responding internally first. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Thank you again to today's sponsor, Lynneau, go and check it out, Lynneau.com slash Developer Tea. You're going to get $20 worth of credit at checkout. Use the code Developer Tea 2018. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.