A colleague of mine cited this above idea during an internal presentation, that we attended this week. I have to say, It's an idea I totally subscribe to. A slightly more refined articulation of the "no pain, no gain" mantra that a mildly psychotic personal trainer used to shout at his clients at a local gym, many moons ago, but that's an anecdote for a different time. 

Both however, capture the same principle and are equally valid. Certainly, during my career, I look back on the times when I have been most out of my "comfort zone" and can safely say that in retrospect, they are the times that have been most valuable to me in terms of personal development. 

I recall about 10 years ago (slightly apprehensively ) holding a job briefing with a very experienced CFO, who, when describing the "must haves" in a Finance Director profile that she was looking to hire, simply kept  referring to the need for the new hire to have the "battle scars" of experience and to be able to clearly evidence those at interview. Although this made sense to me at the time, it really resonates with me fully now that I am more advanced in my own career. 

Despite the obvious COVID related problems, this last year has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding in recent memory for me. Principally because I 've been able to work with some fantastic, friendly and extremely capable colleagues but also because I have been continually out of my own "comfort zone" to a greater or lesser extent. In fact, with some key deadlines all culminating at once in the last couple of weeks, I have to say I have surfed that fine line between feeling extremely energized by the frenetic pace of my job and of also at times feeling frankly a bit "frazzled".

When do "valuable development experiences" brought about by these steep learning curves, cross the divide into becoming stressful, exhausting and seemingly insurmountable challenges that have the capacity to have a negative impact on your own mental health?

The linked article contains simple but really practical and relevant tips on how to manage work-related stress. With a focus on those challenges that arise from, or are compounded by, working from home. As a veteran of home working, having enjoyed a thirty second commute for over ten years now, I can vouch for the suggestions made. 

I could, (quite justifiably), spin this to blog to state how "PeopleScout in EMEA have such an impressive array of solutions that my familiarising myself with all of them was the challenge of the year" or again "how great an employer Peoplescout is in respecting its colleagues and their personal and professional needs" (again, very true) but I wont. My ramblings here were simply an opportunity to reflect on a difficult but ultimately rewarding year and share the below article!

Wishing all my connections a fantastic and well deserved break with their families. Stay safe and I look forward to connecting with you all again for more of the same in 2021.