Sally Henderson
Powerful change from the inside out



The 4 common stressors that might be hindering your growth right now


With this year's Mental Health Awareness Week focusing on stress, I want to talk about the pressure that goes hand-in-hand with being an ambitious leader.

Because whilst we can all be pretty great at keeping a confident face most of the time, we've all felt the effect of stress creeping up and threatening to make us lose control.

And according to a recent poll led by the Mental Health Foundation chances are you're feeling it right now:


And whilst short-lived outburst of stress can act as a performance boost, frequent & long-lived stress can have devastating effect on ourselves that end up rippling onto those around us - at work & at home.

Leadership is often viewed as this illusive talent ‘other people have’, with your inner critic threatening to pop out & revealing you’ve been blagging it, ripping away the security cushion you desperately want to believe is there. But let me tell you this:

For me, every single person has the talent and ability to be a Greater Leader.

It just takes investment, support and the right opportunities delivered in the right way. But it also takes vulnerability.

The high stress that often is an uncomfortable bedfellow with being a high performer and key leader comes from these common factors:

  • A lack of clarity on your real role VS the role you aspire to be doing and, most importantly, how to get there

  • A lack of boundaries & remit rules to govern healthy relationships

  • The fear of ‘failure’ & all that comes in that particular Pandora’s box

  • The exhaustion that comes with the relentless fire fighting & need to keep the numbers & culture happy

And, as an ambitious leader yourself, you know I could go on.

So how can you ensure you get a grip on stress & become more in control? Here are 3 key things that I urge you to do:

  • Keep a record for a week of how you talk to yourself. Seriously.

    I call it "the Devil and the Angel" exercise, and it is pretty powerful: once you become aware of your subconscious chatter, take a minute to ask yourself:
    - What does this show me?
    - Would I talk to my best person in the same way?
    - What would happen if I did?

  • Scope out your REAL role against your IDEAL role

Write down the 5 core things your role is there to deliver. Now write down the percentage of your time and passion for each ‘bucket’. What does this tell you? Remember that it's not because you're good at doing something that it motivates you.

  • Rate out of 10 how happy you are at work and with your leadership right now

    - What does this tell you?
    - What do you need to do more of, less of, stop doing and start doing to have the number you want or keep the high number you have.
    - Do you think the rest of your senior leadership team feel the same way?

Now let me leave you with this: 

Being a change maker, putting yourself into the line of fire to reach your potential & striving to simply be your best is a tough gig.

And if you're fed up of handling all of this on your own, let me know.

But remember: be kind to yourself, give yourself a break, make time for the simple pleasures & remind yourself this:

You’ve got this.

Because yes, you do.

Did you know that I run FREE bi-monthly online Masterclasses dedicated to helping you grow your Leadership? They run for just under 1 hour, and places are limited to ensure attendees can ask questions during the session. Drop me a quick line & I'll make sure you're in the know to grab your place at the next one!

sally henderson