I hate deadlines.
They cause stress.
Stress is uncomfortable and unpleasant.
But I have to admit, stress and deadlines have been a huge part of discovering the most valuable things about myself.
Life without them would be unthinkable, not to mention really boring.
Here is an example.
When I am preparing for the autumn touring season (like I am right now), I experience moments of nagging, generalized stress.
Have I remembered everything?
Am I ready for the rigors of traveling and performing internationally?
Am I happy with the repertoire of tunes I will be playing on the tour?
Are they ready to be performed (shudder)?
Are my guitars and equipment ready to be relied upon night after night?
Are all of the travel and logistical arrangements for the tour sorted?
I have learned to see stress as both dynamic and beneficial.
It is a message from myself to myself, telling me to get into a new rhythm.
It points out details I may be neglecting.
It prods me to make decisions about dangling issues that could cause problems later.
It causes me to finish unfinished things,
including musical compositions (thank you, deadline).
It prompts me to plan ahead, to anticipate and visualize the requirements, contingencies, and people I will be dealing with in the near future.
All in all, stress requires me to change in order to deal with it.
The wierd thing is, as the stress and the deadline push me into a new rhythm of organizing, handling, completing and deciding, I change into something I like.
I suddenly find myself enjoying it.
Successfully navigating the challenges of the stress and meeting the deadline have resulted in a feeling of confidence and capability.
All of a sudden, I feel relaxed and excited about the upcoming tour.
It’s like matching the speed of an oncoming wave, getting on top of it, and riding it.
I am now using the stress, rather than being used (up) by it.
Here is my stress model:
Stress is a form of energy.
You, and it, are dynamic.
As you change in order to deal with it,
it changes into something that moves you forward.
It’s energy conversion.
How do you see your stress?
Do you avoid it, or do you make it work for you?
I see it as a blessing disguised as a curse.