JC’s Advice for Handling Pressure

You think you have pressure and stress in your job?

Sure, you’re called on to constantly innovate. There are arduous FDA approvals to go through, new product launches to plan and execute flawlessly, never-ending compliance issues to deal with, deadlines, budgets. The daily grind of keeping your team motivated and focused.  It’s tough, but we’ve all been through those before, right? I’m talking about real pressure here.

For me, the past few days have been nerve-wracking.

But wait. I’m retired. It’s something I’ve worked for all my life. My nerdy little financial planner says I’m covered. What could cause a short, fat and balding (okay, bald) guy to stress out?

Short Answer: Commas.

A little backstory. My wife and youngest daughter are teachers. When I retired, they convinced me to get back into teaching. Teaching was my first job right out of college and one I absolutely loved.

At first, it seemed like a great idea: Get back into teaching. No pressure. No stress. Something that I missed and loved. It was a no-brainer.

So, I went through the process of getting recertified. Transcripts, past (and long expired) certifications, content proficiency tests, classroom management workshops, H.R. diversity training, state and federal background checks, and a couple rounds of interviews.  It was tedious, sure, but no problem. I soon became an official substitute teacher.

JC holding up substitute teacher certification

Newly certified and proud of it. No pressure here.

The plan was working perfectly; I was teaching English, spending time with kids and helping to shape America’s future. Each day on the job, I was learning what was hip and cool in pop culture and coming home with funny stories to tell.

No pressure. Pure fun.

Then my daughter asked me to be the “Guest Teacher” in her class (a kinder, gentler way of saying “Substitute Teacher”).

Subbing for my daughter wasn’t part of my deal. Pressure.

Her lesson plan called for me to teach a unit on commas. Commas? Not exactly a fertile subject for furtive minds. Dependent clauses, independent clauses, nonrestrictive clauses, coordinating conjunctions — now that’s some rich and inspiring content for a bunch of hormone-enraged sixth-graders. There’s no room for commas on Twitter.

Big. Time. Pressure.

Then I took a moment to pause. Took a deep breath. Told myself to separate my thoughts and that everything would be fine.

Turns out everything was fine. Kids today don’t need to memorize the rules verbatim anymore. Rather, they need to understand the concept. It starts with understanding why we use commas in the first place.

“ … to tell the reader when to pause, take a breath, and separate thoughts (words, clauses, and phrases, etc.) giving order to the sentence.”

Huh. Pause. Take a deep breath. Separate your thoughts. Everything will be fine.

Commas can teach you a lot about life.

They can teach you a lot about the day-to-day of health care marketing life, too. In our fast-paced world, we deal with a lot of real pressure. Big time pressure.

Here at 2e, we encourage one another and our clients to practice mindfulness. It helps our creative minds stay focused and our busy schedules run a bit smoother.

As you embark on 2018 with new pressures to get your marketing message in front of the right audience at the right time, think of simple concepts from simpler days. It’s easy to let to-do lists and meetings turn your week into one big run-on sentence. Remember, it is okay (and necessary) to add some punctuation in between.

It may save you from running out of breath.

JC and daughter cramming for lesson on commas

Father and daughter in the classroom cramming for a lesson on commas.


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