In my case, when stress and pressure mount, I put on blinders and go head down, feet forward. This is a great asset in focusing my energy and overcoming obstacles. But it also has downsides. I’ve found that I’m less likely to empathize effectively with others or recognize when I’m being overly callous. Over years of working in politics, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to deal well and poorly with stress…and I’ve done plenty of both.
I’ve also learned that the best way for me to dump stress is a one-two punch: briefly disconnect to get by myself and then get in some kind of physical exercise. The combination of peace, silence and endorphins from physical exertion do wonders for my attitude and outlook.
Knowing these potential weak points helps me avoid them though. If I hadn’t made and identified those traps, I wouldn’t be nearly as effective at combating them in the future.
Depending on the profile of your office and available time, it’s likely not going to be possible to write up a briefing sheet for every single meeting. But at the very least, you should take a few minutes to consider who you’re meeting with as well as ask “What” and “Why” for yourself and your counterpart.
What and Why relate to what each party wants to accomplish in that situation. When thinking about a donor, you’re clearly hoping that they’ll donate a specific amount of money for a discrete cause. From their perspective, however, they want to see certain solutions, ones you ostensibly also care about, be enacted.
Train yourself to feel the precursors of anger or frustration. Establish a trigger. For me, it’s often a taste in my mouth and a tightening of my chest. Perhaps accompanied by a, “are you effing serious?!” in the back of my head.
When I feel that reaction boiling up, I know that my lesser angels are jettisoning my plan and overreacting out of anger.
If you truly believe that the goal you’re pursuing is transformational, you should be tenacious in the pursuit of funding. If you’re not active in articulating the reason and need for funding, what should compel me to believe that your goal is so significant?