Work Without Stress: Building a Resilient Mindset for Lasting Success is very adamant that it’s not a “stress management” book, but it also isn’t your typical “make your business more resilient in 10 easy steps” either. The book offers a very interesting perspective on the word “stress”. Instead of helping readers manage stress, it offers a path to eliminate stress altogether
What is Work Without Stress About?
Work Without Stress makes several bold claims about stress and stress management. The first claim is that what we commonly call “stress” is actually a negative feeling associated with “pressure”, or the need to do something. That’s it. In other words, it’s pressure that you feel when the boss is screaming at you for the annual report. The emotion you feel when your heart and mind are racing to respond to this pressure is actually the “stress”.
Breaking free of stress involves bypassing the negative feedback loop that occurs when your body defines something as “pressure”. This negative feedback loop starts when we feel “stressed.” Like all organisms, the human body reacts with the “fight or flight” response when something bad or unexpected happens. Unlike other organisms, humans tend to think about these bad or unexpected things over and over again. (Think about your thoughts when you are running late for work!) This constant negative thinking is the feedback that must be avoided.
The key to bypassing this negative feedback is a four-step process of awareness, attention, detachment and release discussed in the book. Work Without Stress argues that most of our lives we run on autopilot, a state of “waking sleep”. This “waking sleep” stage includes our response to things we call “stress”. As a result, we respond to stress the same way we’ve always done. The book’s strategy is to recognize what’s going on and step out of the negative feedback loop. In short, you feel pressure, but you don’t overreact to the stress. The more a person (especially a leader) is able to do this, the more resilient he or she can become. The more resilient that person is, the stronger the workplace.
Work Without Stress is the product of author Dr. Derek Roger, a researcher, speaker and clinical psychologist with expertise in resilience and stress management. Dr. Roger is the founder and director of The Work Skills Centre, which provides the training for psychology and neuroscience-based training stress management consultancy organization The Challenge of Change.
Roger’s co-author, Nick Petrie is a former professional rugby player and coach who became a researcher, writer, teacher and international consultant. Currently, he is serving as the senior faculty member of the Center for Creative Leadership.
What Was Best About Work Without Stress?
Work Without Stress offers a unique perspective on stress management and resilience for those readers who are tired of trying to “manage” their stress. Instead of trying to redirect stress to somewhere else, this book puts the solution back in the hands of the reader. Stress is there because you put it there, the authors are saying, not because something is stressful. While this may seem a bit mean, it opens the potential for a better solution. If stress is always “out there”, then you can never truly manage it. If stress is based on your perception, then you can do something about it.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
As mentioned above, Work Without Stress is not your average “self-help” or “stress management” book. It is a revolutionary, research-infused guide to transforming how readers can engage with stress on an individual and organizational level (with an emphasis on the individual). One area that could use more attention is the exercises the book offers. The book mentions exercises done by clients but never really breaks down the exercises into a step-by-step format. Providing that format might give readers some time to integrate the messages of each chapter. The chapters cover a lot of ground and exercises could provide a much-needed breather.
Why Read Work Without Stress?
Work Without Stress is best suited for stressed individuals who want to reevaluate how they are handling stress. This book is not a simple “fix your stress in 20 easy ways” book. It is a book that upends everything you thought you knew about stress, pressure, stress management and resilience. It offers a simple 4-step process for addressing stress at the root of the problem versus trying to “manage it”. This 4-step process is based on the authors’ own insights after working around the world with clients in a variety of situations. Work Without Stress shares that insight along with the science that supports it.