Presented a workshop on power struggles yesterday. I believe power struggles are fueled by frustration, stemming from a feeling we have lost control. Of course, this loss of control is often exacerbated by our obsessive perceived need to “get it all in”.

From parents, to teachers, to kiddos, we live in an overscheduled, task-oriented, box-checking society. In our continual attempt to do “one more thing”, we drive our stress levels through the roof. Sadly, when I spend hours at the computer, on a plane, and at work – yes, I’m teaching my children the importance of having a good work ethic, but I also wonder what other messages I might be sending about balance and priorities.

In trying to help students understand how to accept disappointment, I often talk about wants and needs. But if leading by example is the best method, I wonder if my behavior is sending a mixed message? Maybe I’m the one who needs to ask myself, “Is that something I really need or just want to do, so I can get one more box checked?” I am quite good at justifying my tasks as being in the “need” column, but in reality, I’d lose the debate if push came to shove.

Want to lower your stress level and get into less power struggles? Shift into a lower gear and analyze your wants and needs. I hope you discover the over-rated nature of trying to “get it all in”. Instead, practice my favorite behavioral lesson and just “step away”.