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It was a momentous vacation. Jeff and I were going to Hawaii for 10 days. Our first vacation to this beautiful place that one can only dream about. Excitement was oozing out of us. Finally it was time to depart.

The week leading up to this vacation, I worked long days and nights to get ahead of the work load while I was gone. Packing was pushed out to the morning of departure. Of course, I am much more productive under pressure, i.e., stress. Pressure is just another word for stress.

Our friends stop by to shuttle us to the airport. I wasn’t quite ready yet, because I was pulling together last-minute items that still needed to be brought along. “More productive under pressure (stress).” Yet, Jeff and our friends are waiting. I’m hurrying along to pull the final touches together.

Finally, we’re on our way. Excitement continues to build about this wonderful vacation to Hawaii as we travel to the airport. Due to the time of day, airport traffic was nominal. Bags are curbside, Jeff pulls out the boarding passes and his driver’s license. Oh, yes, we’ll need picture id for checking in and security. I reach for my wallet…

Panic sets in. Can’t find my wallet. Now the pressure, i.e., stress is highlighted. Without id, I’m not flying to Hawaii. Frantic searching of my purse and carry on. Still no wallet. Meanwhile, flagging down our friends in the event we need to return to the house to find the wallet. Jeff sends me back home with our friends and stays curbside with 6 bags, all of which he can’t check in because I don’t have my wallet.

Nascar driving friend, quickly gets back on the road to head home. Meanwhile, Jeff is curbside, now digging through the 6 bags (he started with mine, he’s brilliant like that) looking for the misplaced wallet. I get a call from him about 10 minutes away from the airport, he found it. Our friends returns me to the airport and my patient husband.

However, the pressure, i.e., stress continued. Airline lost Jeff’s bag (delivered 24 hours after arrival), car rental refused to rent a car to us until we could produce an itinerary, of which was not printed out, so a search of email on the smart phone ensued, finding a beach house in the dark on unlit and unmarked paths, aka streets. Finally arriving at the beach house we are disappointed at the accommodations. It’s been a long day. Tomorrow is a brand new day. And it was. The time in Hawaii was amazing. We still laugh about day 1. Quite unusual for Jeff and I to have a day of travel that out of sorts.

Or is it? Recently I became aware that I’ve been operating under the belief, “I work better under pressure” for years. Or, “I’m only creative under stress.” Projects are put off until the deadline is looming. Night work becomes more regular. Distractions become priority and are justified. At what cost? What price emotionally, mentally, physically, relationally am I paying?

Creativity is actually diminished when under stress. David Lee, HumanNature@Work on creativity under stress, states, “Research shows that stress interferes with human intellectual, emotional, and interpersonal functioning. In fact, nearly every popular training and organizational development initiative is directly compromised by the intellectual, emotional, and interpersonal consequences of stress. Studies show that when people are under stress, their thought processes narrow. This narrowing of attention, by definition, prevents divergent thinking, which is the foundation of creativity. ”

What stress are you allowing in your life that interferes with your mental, emotional and interpersonal functioning? What needs to change? What steps are needed to make those changes.

Peace – captured by Nicholas Reinhardt, master photographer.

Your brilliance matters!
And your brilliance is extravagantly brighter when you’re at peace.
Be intentional.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27