Stress Be Gone

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

The other night my son fell asleep about thirty minutes earlier than usual; a hoped-for outcome after an incredible weekend of celebrations for my wonderful step-dad’s 75th birthday. (Happy Birthday again, Jack! What an amazing celebration for an amazing man.)

I was excited for a few bonus nighttime moments because I was nearing the end of The Girl On The Train and wanted to finish it before leaving on yet another work trip this week. So I stayed up reading even though I, too, was absolutely pooped after our fun fun weekend. When I finished the book, I wearily made my way upstairs and nestled into bed—the pillow and sheets have never felt better; it was like they were a cool and welcome hug, beckoning me to finally close my eyes and sleep.

Literally thirty seconds after my head hit the pillow, my daughter came out of her room and into ours, struggling to sleep due to a cough and stuffy nose.

So much for the welcoming hug of sleep.

Since I learn this lesson over and over and over and over, I’ve decided the only possible solution is to remove stress from my life, period.

It’s so simple, see. Because here is the most predictable pattern of life, as far as I can tell: The Thing I Planned To Happen + The Things That Happen Unexpectedly That I Didn’t Plan For = The Way Things Actually Go.

And since The Way Things Actually Go often times always looks slightly different than The Things I Planned To Happen, I should just look forward to seeing the way things will actually go rather than stress about the way I planned things to happen.

It’s brilliant, I tell you! Plane got cancelled and I’m stuck for hours? I did NOT see that coming—what delicious book can I find to make the time pass? The day of housecleaning I finally was able to schedule thwarted by a sick child? Well, let’s put on some TV and snuggle up together. Who cares about that dust anyway? Presentation that I prepared gone amuck? What a fun opportunity to practice my improvisational skills and keep me on my toes!

Stress is just a perspective, it’s occurring to me now. So I can choose to stress when things go differently than planned, or I can simply choose another perspective.


What perspective can you choose today? 


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.