BRAIN FOOD: Your Route to the Top - How to keep afloat

Speak to others around you - they're probably just as swamped as you are. If in doubt, ask them. It feels better when we realise that we're not the only one with too much to do.

Optimists outperform pessimists. Minimise the downside (which is rarely as bad as we imagine) and maximise the upside (usually a whole lot better that we are willing to consider).

Think ahead. Remember that if you can get through the current turbulence you will come out stronger and more resilient - which means that it won't seem as bad next time round.

Be focused. Identify one thing you can do that will make a difference.

Get on with it and don't stop until you have achieved a result.

Celebrate success - either publicly or in private. Even the most driven people gain strength from reflecting on what they have achieved from time to time.

Keep your cool even at your bleakest hour. Avoid overreacting to short-term glitches and sharing your concerns too widely. You never know what opportunities await you around the corner.

Take the rough with the smooth. Recognise that what looks like a problem may be just a natural part of your job. We all have to deal with unhappy clients, try to win round obstinate cynics and listen patiently to unreasonable bosses. This isn't bad luck but part of working life. Enjoying the challenge means we are more likely to overcome it.

Find someone whom you can shout at, and share your concerns with them when it all gets too much. This may be a perpetually patient partner or a professional coach. The paid-for variety are easier to replace.

No stress, no success. Appreciate that stress is an essential ingredient if you want to get the top. The person who said: 'I don't really get stressed - the only thing that causes me any concern is that the people of my age have all done better than me' has identified the cause of their comparatively poor performance in their opening comment.

The Mind Gym,

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