How do you handle stress?

As an Australian living in the US, I frequently head back to the land ‘down-under’ to visit family, friends, indulge in the local cuisine and renew my working visa. On a recent trip back to Sydney and the US consulate, just as the enormous double deck Qantas 380 was about to leave the runway in LAX for its 16 hour journey across the Pacific to Sydney, I received an email from the US consulate stating my paperwork was not complete. This was the last message I received as we were asked to put ‘all electronic items into flight mode’.

Now, anyone who has dealt with US immigration system and knows the ‘no second chance’ policies, my heart rate quickly raised and a flush feeling spread over my face. What did I not complete? Will I have enough time before the interview to correct it? These are the type of questions that could have plagued me for the remainder of the flight.

So, how do you handle stress? When circumstances are beyond your control and late at night when you can’t do anything about them, what is your strategy to cope?

I think we have all been in this situation once or twice (maybe many times) …. And as an entrepreneur these happen more often than we would ever like. So, it is essential that a realistic perspective replace the seemingly worse case possibilities.

Firstly, a mentor once asked me, “Will anyone die if this doesn’t change in the next 24 hours?” … if not, treat it with the urgency it realistically deserves.

Secondly, will worrying about it when you have no way to deal with it change the situation? The answer of cause is ‘No!’

And lastly, it’s important to have the confidence in yourself. You have the skills and resources to do whatever it takes to ensure an acceptable outcome occurs when you have the chance to deal with it.

In addition, I throw in a little prayer to help ease my mind.

So how does this story end? After landed in Sydney and finding my hotel, I immediately went to the consulate to discover my on-line application was not submitted. Jet-lagged and after an additional 3 hours on the computer, I had the form completed with a copy of my receipt in hand. I was then able to go and enjoy the rest of my day at Circular Quay

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