DESIGN SHADOW ON STRESS

I am sitting in a plane headed to Chicago, IL. Neocon or bust. This flight time has come as a needed break from a busy, non stop week… A week that I could feel the pressure and stress weighing pushing me down.

The week started with some bad news concerning the representative for my client, who is my partner in all design solutions and approvals. He had a major health set back and was going into surgery. After the shock of the event and finding out that things would hopefully be ok for him and his family the reality of the situation set in. This meant that he was basically unreachable for a couple weeks and not able to work for the next 6-8 weeks. I literally stared at my computer screen for 30 minutes trying to think through all that needed to be done in the next couple weeks to meet our deadlines and what could be put off until I was able to start getting his approvals again.

Now from my experience, there are two types of stress in the design field… First the kind of stress that comes from being asked or expected to do something that you don’t know how to do – lacking knowledge or experience. The second is  stress that comes from applied pressure… Just too much to do without the time to do it. This later stress was the pressure that was building up as I stared into the monitor of the computer.

Times like that I recall something someone of my Faith is well known for saying, “Forget yourself and get to work.”  So after getting my wits about me, I did just that.

Even with that notion and all the hours this week spent in the office and at home I still couldn’t get it all done. By the time Friday came knocking, I felt like I was drowning. A site visit had to fall by the way side and some other “Friday important items” had to be moved to “Monday’s important items.” Finally after getting up early on Saturday and getting some work done before the kids got rolling, was I able to feel like I could breathe.

I am still somewhat in the middle of it all, but sitting here on a plane looking back on the week, I am amazed how well I handled the stress and the work load.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is known for saying:

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.”

Five years ago I wouldn’t  have been able to handle the week I had this week. But some how year by year, experience by experience, my capacities have grown and I have become more than what I was when I started.

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