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Are you really struggling?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Have you been struggling recently?


Maybe you’ve been struggling with the impact of Covid on your life? Maybe struggling to hit a sales target. Or, maybe you’ve been struggling with working long hours in front of your favourite video conferencing app, like Zoom, Webex, Teams etc. Or, maybe you’ve had to struggle with a medical ailment or injury for a while. And, some of you reading this could be struggling right now with corporate burnout.


We all have to struggle at times. But I’m wondering; Do we really have to use the word "struggle"?


About 15 years ago, I engaged in a bit of banter with someone in a group sporting session. That bit of light-hearted banter caused me to have to spend the rest of the session trying to recoup the situation with that person, because they had taken the banter-word to heart. I learnt in that moment that …

“Every word counts”. And, from that moment onwards I have tried to monitor the words that I use. I know that I don’t get it right all the time, but every day I try to get better.


So, here’s a question for you related to that word that I used in that encounter.


When you say or think the word “struggle” what images come to mind? What feelings do you sense? What happens to your body when you think that word? Does your body contract & shrink a little into itself … worry lines on your forehead and so on? And if that word is doing this to the visible body, I wonder what it’s doing internally too?


I have tried to stop saying the “S” word for the past few years. Even when I have presented to audiences about my own corporate burnout experience, I avoided it. It’s tricky because it is so entrenched in the colloquial expressions that we all use in everyday language. But, I assert that this little change away from the "S" word is possible, and it can have a major, positive impact.


You see, the “S” word may sow the seed that what you are experiencing has no end. The "S" word could imply that everything to do with your current experience is negative, because of the meaning you applied to the word many years ago.


Compare that to experiencing something; just experiencing it with no judgement. An experience might inform your brain that there is the potential for an ending. An experience is typically non-judgemental; it is neither positive nor negative. It just is.


So as an example, instead of thinking “I’m suffering with corporate burnout”, could you instead start to think or say, “I’m currently experiencing and working through a period of corporate burnout”.


It’s a very subtle change that can positively impact the physical and emotional changes to your body. It acknowledges your experience, but with far less negative meaning attached to it.


And so, I assert that “every word counts”.


Maybe you agree or disagree with my conclusions about the “S” word and its impact. There will be times when the "S" word might be appropriate for you, However, what I’d ask is that you become aware of the words you unconsciously use time and again, like hate, anger, frustrated and so on. And, if a specific word doesn’t serve you in a specific context, then try to swap it out for something else and see if your experience improves.


Give it a try and let me know how you get on.


>>> About Stuart:

Stuart is an executive coach, "corporate professional" coach and student mentor. He provides a confidential environment for clients to review their career strategies, to help define career and life goals, and to explore and resolve limiting beliefs that are holding them back. He also helps unburden those professionals who are approaching corporate burnout, and to help people in general to "unscramble". He can be contacted via his website at https://www.unscrambledheads.com/


Article Photos by Brett Jordan & Ilyass SEDDOUG on Unsplash

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