Living a Slow Death

In citing  the 2014 Stress in America survey from the American Psychological Association, a 2015 article in U.S. News & World Report revealed that “…work is the second most common source of stress among U.S. adults, just behind money,” and that “sixty percent of adults say their jobs are a somewhat significant or very significant source of stress”.

You probably didn’t need a formal report to tell you that now did you?

The price for the mounting stress level is high, both to our pocketbooks and our health.stress-costs

While the reasons for our anxiety are often varied and not always easily solved, there is one source of stress that many workers and employers can successfully address.

I was introduced to this secret in 2002 when the company I was working for enlisted a business coach to help us with our inter-office relationships and overall organizational productivity. Prior to the workshop we all took an assessment called the Kolbe Conative Index®.

At the time, I thought “just another personality test. I know how these things work.” It didn’t take long, however, to learn that this was different. Everything I had been exposed to up to that point measured intellect or aptitude (like an IQ test) or personality (such as the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator). The Kolbe Conative Index measured something altogether different. It’s called conation – a term that refers to any natural tendency, impulse, striving, or directed effort. It is the part of our mind that determines how we take action when faced with a problem to be solved, a task to be completed or a goal to be achieved.

Let me just say, it changed my life – and the workplace culture of our company. For the first time in my life (I was 49 years old at the time) I understood that I was hard-wired to take action a particular way – at least when I was free to be myself.

This is where stress comes into the picture. I learned that a huge source of stress in the workplace comes from trying to satisfy expectations that require me to act in a way that is contradictory to my natural problem-solving instincts. Sometimes the expectations were my own. Other times the job itself required me to act in a way that simply was not me. I learned ways to appreciate the strengths that I brought to the table and how to better utilize them in my day-to-day work activities.

I also learned that the co-workers that were oftentimes a source of my stress were just wired differently and that we butted heads because we were just trying to get the job done in ways that were contradictory to each other. Once I learned to value the strengths that they contributed to the process (strengths that were different than mine I might add), the stress level immediately began to subside. Work was not only more enjoyable, but more productive as well.

I have since become a Kolbe Certified(TM) Consultant and now share some of the secrets that I’ve learned in the classroom and in the workplace with those wrestling with some of the issues we were facing 15 years ago. The Kolbe System™ is backed by more than three decades of scientific research and validation, and meets the standards of the American Psychological Association for validity and reliability. This is  not some hokey Facebook quiz.

If you or your organization is looking for a proven approach to reducing stress and improving productivity, let me know. I am confident that it will change your life too.


consultant_logo_copper2010Providing services as a relational strategist, advisor, and coach for small business, churches, organizations, families, and individuals, Rick brings almost 25 years of experience in business and a virtual lifetime as a pastor and ministry leader. He understands the challenges of small business owners, ministries, churches and families and offers quality and affordable professional services that will lead to a more healthy and productive lifestyle.


Rick is a Kolbe Certified™ Consultant and can help to uncover your instinctive strengths or those of your staff so that you or your team can work more effectively and productively.

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