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Leadership and Stress: Exploring the Antidote to Overwhelm

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Patricia Hirsch interviews Chris Balsley, PCC. Human beings are designed to experience stressful situations, to move through them, and to grow because of them. This is at the core of human resiliency and strength. Think about historical figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Mother Theresa. They met stress and adversity head on; they moved through and they grew from their stress.

Stress is part of the ontological structure of today’s leadership. We see it on high-performance teams to those pushing the competitive edge as well as executives working long hours with demanding deadlines. Stress pushes us to excel, it increases our resiliency and makes us stronger. With the right amount of stress we can think clearer and express ourselves better, literally our brain functions better and when our brain functions better, we function better. This kind of stress is called eustress. When we move towards overwhelm a chain of events go off: We make poor choices, we make snap decisions, our muscles tighten, we run from difficult conversations. This stress we call distress. Somewhere between eustress and distress is a magical point called the optimal stress zone and it holds the perfect amount of stress for peak performance.

Chris Balsley MA, LPC, PCC has maintained a thriving and diverse professional practice for almost thirty years. Chris’s coaching clients include leaders at all levels in organizations from government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies. He has conducted years of trainings with both active duty military and C-suite teams in corporations. He has been a senior somatic presenter with Newfield Network International Coach Training School since 2006. He dedicates a large portion of his career to helping individuals and teams increase their performance and shift their moods intentionally.

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