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Are high-stress jobs worth it?

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

Approaching deadlines. Mounting pressure from management. Hostile work environment. These are some of the issues facing professionals among all lines of work in the current era.

According to the American Psychological Association 2021 Work and Well-Being Survey nearly 3 in 5 employees (59%) had experienced negative impacts of work-related stress in the past month, including lack of interest, motivation or energy, difficulty focusing, or a lack of effort at work.

Is it possible to combat these external factors and find peace within ourselves?

As a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon, I have witnessed the effects of stress on colleagues and friends. That's how my book, "The Heart of Fear," was born. It's a series of interviews with professionals across high-stress, high-risk careers and how they cope with fear and stress.

In my own career, I have found striking similarities between surgery and skydiving.

In skydiving, deployment refers to throwing out your pilot chute while in free fall. This opens the main container and deploys the main container.

Deployment is the first step to achieving your goal. The first step ignites a sequence of events to reach the ultimate destination.

In navigating any high-stress situation, I think about the desired outcome. I think about the first step. Then, I deploy.

What do you want to achieve at work next week? How can you deploy?

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