Do you seek serenity? Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places. Most people reading this column live a hectic lifestyle. In this industry, our lives involve last minute changes, high staff turnover, doing multiple jobs, pressure to “close the deal” or “make budget,” not to mention delivering on what you promised in the agreement and crossing your fingers that the sponsorship investment actually delivers the ROI you had hoped. WOW—and that is just at work. What about the lack of affordable housing, single parent families, getting kids to activities and trying to feed them healthy food, keeping yourself healthy, worrying about aging parents, young families, and trying to find/keep a job?

In addition to all of this, we have conflicts. We have the differing opinions with our parents and children. We may have to let someone go at work or ask someone to take on more. We sometimes have to tell a client that their idea sucks and won’t work, or admit that our own idea was a lemon!

Where the heck does one find serenity in all of this?

I talked to several people and got a cross-section of answers. Some were actions, some were inactions, some were escapes, and others were building a wall. Here is some of the feedback.

  • Meditation
  • Long walks
  • “Work-life integration” versus work-life balance (somebody was reading every Tuesday!)
  • Going to the gym
  • Burying yourself deeper and “get what needs to be done… done!”
  • Prayer or religion
  • Hiding out in a washroom stall
  • Taking long drives

One really caught me, and in essence, captured most of what others had proposed. It is not original, but I had not heard it in a long time. To me, it is true. The comment was “Serenity is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.” I believe it is important to understand this. Conflict and issues won’t go away. You will still argue with your kids and partner; you will lose clients and have disagreements internally about what is saleable and what is not. Others will blame you when things go wrong, as you will do to them—yes you will!

Conflict, stress, and change are all inevitable. Attaining serenity is not about getting rid of these issues, because it will never happen. It is about finding coping mechanisms to deal with the conflict, stress, and change. So yes, maybe it is long walks alone or with someone; perhaps is it classical music or meditation. No matter what your coping mechanism is, it is important to find it, recognize it, and use it. The world is not going to become less stressful, conflict will not go away, and change will continue—only it will happen faster than ever before. So, find out how to cope with these things and use it! Trust me—it does work!

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