Ready… Set… STRESS!

How well do you handle stress?

When you’re laying in bed awake at night, are you dreaming about the fun things in life? Or are you stressing about the potential problems you come across each day?

I used to think stress came and went as a result of the environment I was in. But what I’ve learned over the years is that I cause my own stress.

Anywhere, anytime, even in very peaceful conditions, I can always find a way to stress myself out.


This past Wednesday was a very relaxing day for me. I’m currently on vacation, my wife and I rented a boat and cruised around Bass Lake all day. We drank a few beers, played in the water, and got back to our tent around 4pm for a nice afternoon nap. Best day ever…

Until I woke up to this text message:

Text Screenshot 5am joel

Tamra is one of my property managers. Prairie is one of my rental properties. Something is wrong. She knows I’m on vacation and wouldn’t bother me unless something serious is going on.

Ready… Set… STRESS!

What would you do in this situation?

I want to work at Starbucks…

Have you ever wished you just had a low stress, low responsibility job?  People at Starbucks always seem happy. Same with Trader Joe’s employees. Why can’t I just get a job there and have a stress free life?

Here’s why:

“YOU create your own storms. Then always get upset when it rains”

Although Starbucks seems like a stress free job, I can picture myself stressing about little things.

Here’s a few examples:

  1. Coffee beans delivery guy is 20 minutes late. He said he’d be here at 11am, it’s well past that, perhaps something is wrong. What if he doesn’t come today, we run out of coffee, customers get angry, corporate fires me, and my resume shows that I couldn’t even hold down a basic job. Stress.
  2. Stacy isn’t frothing the milk properly. It’s starting to annoy Jeff, who complains to me non-stop about it. Customers are noticing their lattes are too milky, and are giving me rude looks. We’ve ruined everyone’s day!!  Stress builds.

I’m guessing my job at Starbucks could actually turn out to be equally as stressful as my last corporate position when I was negotiating million dollar contracts.

So, if stress is everywhere, what do we do about it?

Well, If you believe like me that you create your own stress, then you must also believe that you can create your own peace too.

Here’s a few things I do to manage my stress:

1) WWJD:  What Would John Do?

My old boss, John, was one of the best stress handlers I’ve met. No matter what crappy situation was brought to him, he would handle it with grace and ease.
‘A customer’s product is broken and they want to sue us for $1M in damages?’  No problem, let’s respond with xyz. Done.
In my life when shit hits the fan all at once, I picture how John would handle it.

2) My Calm Down Songs:

Music calms me down and gets me out of my own head. If there’s no music around, here are the songs I sing in my head:

3) Things could ALWAYS be worse.

Whenever I have a massive problem to solve, I picture the Problem Swap game.

In this game you are sitting at a table with all of your friends and family. Everyone writes down their biggest personal problem they are facing and puts it into a hat in the middle.

You have a choice. You can pick from the hat and get stuck with the problem you pull out. Or, you can keep the personal problem you have currently.

I always choose my own problem. It’s easier to solve than everyone else’s.

4) Daily Appreciation (This one’s my favorite)

I am totally at peace when I remind myself I’m the luckiest guy in the world.

On a daily basis, I practice appreciation for the little things in my life. When I look around, I see good, not bad. I generally stress less.

“The grass is greener on my side”


So, how did Wednesday end up?

I’ve owned rental properties for so long I’ve trained myself to remove all emotion when facing issues.

It helps to think every problem in real estate as just a money problem.

I called Tamra and asked her to explain the issue quickly. She did. She gave 3 options to solve the problem. A, B, or C.  I chose C. It will cost me $1400, but handles the issue immediately. I have reserves and insurance for this exact reason.

Within 20 minutes I was back to relaxing on my vacation. Problem solved, no stress, worries.

Ready. Set. RELAX.


4 thoughts on “Ready… Set… STRESS!

  • A quote I have always appreciated it: “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere”. I am definitely guilty for allowing stress and worry to get the best of me. I am extremely hard on myself and also like to get things done as perfect as possible, so when I don’t have the time to do it right or even at all, I begin a vicious cycle of stress and unhappiness. After our conversation the other night, I am trying to change my perspective and how I look at situations. Focus on what I can change and let go of what I can’t. No need to sit there stewing on things that I have no control over.

    • Couldn’t agree more. Control what you can control. Influence what you can influence. The rest, you just got to live with.

  • This is great. I had a recent client that was super relaxed and I always wondered if he was always like that. Turned out he had some major issues due to stress and he completely changed his lifestyle. Some people need to put it in perspective and I think some people just figure it out over time. Sometimes a beer helps!

    • Thanks for reading! Yep, stress is real and it can lead to big issues. Grey hair is a common sign 🙁

      Beer helps me too for sure! Love it.

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