There is no better advice for any Specialist-Generalist than this – know when to step away.

When you’re cross, tired, stressed or rattled you’re not helping anyone.

That last sharp word, that ‘in your face’ exchange, that cutting edge in your voice – watch it; it never helps.

Thomas Aquinas spoke in favour of ‘righteous anger’ but not many others have. And still Aquinas put ‘prudence’ at the top of the list of virtues.

All things said: if you’re hot under the collar you’re not going to be serving up the best of yourself.

Breathe, back off and take some distance.

Similar advice here from HBR:

Don’t Let Stress Lead to Bad Decisions

It’s hard to think clearly when you’re under stress. Your blood pressure and heart rate rise, adrenaline and cortisol flood your body, and your survival instincts kick in — all of which interfere with decision making.

To avoid making bad decisions when you’re stressed, pay careful attention to your physical symptoms. We all have an inner “lookout” that helps us monitor our reactions.

Tap into that part of your mind and look for physical sensations or emotions that indicate your stress level is rising: a tightness in your stomach or a feeling of anxiety or panic.

By noticing these reactions, you can hold yourself back from acting rashly. For example, when you get an annoying email, and you notice that you’re irritated, you can hold off on replying until you’ve calmed down.

Use your “lookout” to recognize these impulses before you act on them.


Adapted from “Manage Your Stress by Monitoring Your Body’s Reactions to It,” by Erica Ariel Fox


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