You may have a drug problem. Many people today are hooked on a commonly abused, yet elusive drug whose widespread use seems to be flying under our radar. That drug of choice is adrenaline.
Hooked on Chaos – The New Drug of Choice for Managers
Especially in today’s society, with the constant push to produce more, an overwhelming to-do list, tight deadlines, intense competition in the marketplace and pressure to perform, responding to hundred of emails a day and of course, the drive to hit sales quotas and close more business faster; all of these factors have created a new type of junkie, especially in companies with intense sales driven, result driven cultures – the Adrenaline Junkie. Whether your a CEO, VP, sales manager or salesperson, I can say with great certainty after coaching and working with hundreds of thousands of managers and sellers over the years, the majority of them are adrenaline junkies. The irony is, they don’t even realize that they are!
The classic symptoms? Saying “Yes” when you mean “No.” Overcommiting or overbooking your schedule, then finding it difficult to deliver on deadlines or complete tasks. Procrastinating until the last moment. Believing you, “Work best under pressure.” Being easily distracted.
Consider that an adrenaline addiction may be creating many of the problems, employee challenges and obstacles to a sale that you want to avoid. Tolerating stress, chaos, disorganization, poor planning, lackluster team performance or undesirable customers create situations that provide the adrenaline rush associated when working on overdrive.
Like any drug, adrenaline has its rewards. On the surface, it may appear that this legal, seductive drug provides a burst of energy to get something done, tackle a project or meet a deadline. Being superhuman enables you to accomplish more than what a mere mortal is capable of producing.
However, it’s more dangerous than we realize. The body produces adrenaline when stressed, in pain or to protect us from imminent danger. While used to handle a crisis, you don’t want the drug to control you and dominate your lifestyle. After a day of riding the adrenaline roller coaster, you crash.
Too much adrenaline from other sources (nicotine, chocolate, caffeine, etc.) can also lead to stomach and heart problems, high blood pressure and anxiety. Aside from feeling drained, burnt out and exhausted, adrenaline lowers your productivity level and sets you up for failure. If you thrive on chaos, it’s difficult to maintain your focus, concentration, peace of mind or mental clarity. If you’re a salesperson, a congested mind does not allow for the space to create the best solutions for your customers during a sales call.
If you’re overwhelmed with a pile of tasks, then you can’t be “present” with or listening to your customers. This affects your ability to follow a sales process, ask the right questions, uncover your customer’s needs and even create or recognize a selling opportunity, creating holes in your selling approach that many promising sales fall through.
Get Off the Adrenaline Train
To kick the habit, prevent sporadic results and get off the adrenaline train, shift away from using adrenaline and start creating the momentum that produces consistent, long lasting results. After all, once people realize they’re hooked on adrenaline their first reaction is, “Well, if I’m not going to work off adrenaline, then what energy source will I use to get things done?” It’s a process for people to accept that an adrenalized lifestyle ultimately comes at a great cost. It’s only when a person has the insight and achieves this level of awareness can they truly make the CHOICE to tap into a healthier energy source, such as momentum and consistency. Here are three things you can start doing to create a healthier lifestyle and work-style.
1. Just Say No
Are you a “Yesaholic?” Do you instinctively say, “Yes” first without considering if you can realistically deliver? The irony is, saying “Yes” and not following through creates what we wanted to avoid. That is, letting others down by over committing and not delivering, costing you frustration, happy employees, new or future business, a satisfied customer, even referrals.
Before you respond with a start/delivery date on a project or proposal, ask yourself, “Is this something I want to be doing?” “Do I have the time for it and if so, when?” In other words, “Are there activities that I’ve already committed to that take priority?” I’m sure your family would appreciate (be shocked?) if you made it home for dinner.
2. Develop a Healthy Relationship with Time – Underpromise
Adrenaline junkies often force the end result into an unrealistic timeframe. Instead, increase (even double) the timeline you’ve allocated for each task by considering the worst-case scenario. This provides a buffer of time when completing tasks even if you experience some bumps along the way. One client said, “If I add 50% to each activity timeline, my day would end at midnight rather than 5pm!” Herein lies the greatest lesson. You’re overcommiting!
3. Do Complete Work
“I’ve always been a great self- starter but not a good finisher.” Sound familiar? Keeping incomplete projects alive becomes another source of adrenaline. Instead of continually stopping and starting something new, commit to seeing each task through to completion before taking on the next one. Once you’ve cleared out some space as a result of completing one task, you can add another in its place.
Like kicking any drug habit you’ll experience withdrawals, so take the time to get ahead of the curve and catch up on all of the overcommitments you’ve already made. You’ll reduce your stress level, experience more peace and calmness, create more time, become incredibly productive and enjoy a healthier energy source. You’ll then be able to choose to redesign your life and career the way you really want. Take it from a recovered adrenaline junkie.