How to Navigate the Gap Between Responsibility and Ability
The gap between responsibility and ability is where stress lives. Your boss assigns a task that stretches your skillset or overstuffs your schedule – stress!
Two factors influence your response to stressful situations – who you are and learned strategies.
Good people respond poorly to stress because they haven’t learned any better.
- Negative rumination combined with catastrophizing.
- Determining you are unable to meet expectations.
- Encountering an inescapable hardship or difficulty.
#1. Unrealistic expectations.
You’re stressed because you beat yourself up with ridiculous expectations. You SHOULD be able to meet a challenge but can’t. You beat yourself down because you don’t do everything perfectly. You stop playing if you can’t win.
The rejection of inability prolongs incompetence.
Lower stress levels by adopting a learner’s perspective. “I don’t know how to do this, but I’m ready to learn.”
#2. Need for approval.
You’re stressed because you believe the boss’s opinion matters. And it does! Pleasing the boss means you’ll earn a promotion, bigger salary, more perks, and better assignments.
The need for approval inside you creates disapproval from others. We like people who like themselves. But neediness is unattractive. Just don’t use self-love as an excuse for complacency.
Lower stress levels by adopting an earner’s perspective. Ask your boss how you might EARN a promotion.
- Explore specifics.
- Don’t push your boss into a corner.
- Focus on performance.
- Measure progress.
- Seek feedback.
- Don’t bring up promotions all the time.
#3. Unhealthy comparison-making:
The achievements of others cause stress.
Sometimes I want to quit writing when I read the great work of others. But it’s stressful, disappointing, and unfulfilling to use others as the measuring stick for your life.
Better to live up to your potential than give up because others exceed you.
The difference between admiration and envy is motivation and discouragement.
How do you define stress?
How are you dealing with the gap between responsibility and ability?
I needed this post this morning. It helped me clarify a few things about stress and how I am currently handling it. Thank you.
Thanks Matt. I suspect that many of us could use a little clarity in this area. 🙂 Best to you.
The best definition of stress I ever saw was interest paid today on future trouble. My goal (sadly not often achieved) is to pay less in interest than the principal is worth.
How do you define stress?
When your demands exceed your coping skills, you will have a stress reaction. The stress may manifest itself in psychological, physical, or behavioral symptoms.
If the gap is to big between demands and abilities you need to get help from someone (mentor, coach, therapist, your boss, a colleague etc.)
“Comparison is the thief of joy”
“The difference between admiration and envy is motivation and discouragement.” What a powerful reminder of perspectives on fuel to do and be our best – to be inspired and not paralyzed by the greatness around us. Thank you, this came at a good time!
Thanks for this insightful post. This is so true: “The gap between responsibility and ability is where stress lives.” In these difficult times, when so many people are affected by the pandemic, it is likely that some employees may be asked to take on additional responsibilities. This can be a recipe for stress if it is not properly managed.
Anticipation is an insurance against stress. If leaders can anticipate future needs of their teams and act now to provide the training and resources needed to be prepared for what lies ahead, it will enhance the team’s ability to deal with stressful situations.