Advice for those stressed out at work: Show up even when you’re fed up

Bill Beausay

Bill Beausay literally carries workplace complaints on his sleeve … not to mention his back.

That’s because Beausay encourages participants in his workshops and seminars to not only voice their frustrations with work, but also write them down — on his clean white dress shirts. As Beausay paces before his audiences, the words appear, handwritten in bright green marker. “I quit.” “I feel trapped.” “This place sucks.”

Even as they face increasing stress at work as well as at home, Beausay encourages people to persevere and suggests ways in which they can change if not the situation, then at least their outlooks. “Show up and be special people no matter what.”

An author, professional speaker and trainer, Beausay presented both a luncheon address and afternoon workshop as part of the annual Administrative Professionals Day observance in Grand Junction. The Book Cliff Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals hosts the observance and brought in Beausay for the event.

Beausay said many people feel like the champion greyhound that suddenly quits racing after discovering the rabbits it had been chasing weren’t real. “What do you do when that happens?” he asks.

Even without realizing it, some people exhibit a kind of learned helplessness that prevents them from moving beyond perceived barriers, he said. All they know is how they feel, which is usually sad and angry.

It isn’t always possible to immediately change some workplace conditions. And when change does occur, the pace can be excruciatingly slow, Beausay said. But people can change their attitudes. And that sometimes changes the workplace, too.

To that end, Beausay suggested what he called the five “ups.”

The first up, he said, is to show up. “Magic happens to people who keep showing up.”

It’s important for people not only to persevere, but also realize their talents and blessings they already have.

Unlike many of the communities Beausay visits in his travels, Grand Junction offers a lot of amenities, he said. “I do not roll into very many Grand Junctions. You guys have a good thing.”

The second up, Beausay said, is to listen up. It’s important for people to truly listen to what others tell them, to look at them while they’re talking and to engage them with questions. “Sometimes the best advice you can give is to just shut up and listen.”

The third up, he said, is to “fun it up.” Beausay recounted the story of a small business whose employees would meet for an hour every Friday to not only list their problems, but also list ways in which they could have fun addressing those problems. “When they adopted that attitude, things started to rapidly change.”

The fourth up, he said, is to let it up. People must realize they will face certain tasks and lessons over and over again until they complete the tasks and learn the lessons. The longer the process takes, the more it hurts.

The fifth and final up, Beausay said, is to give up — not in the sense of quitting, but in giving more. In answering requests, he encouraged people to respond “I’ll do better than that.”

Beausay also encouraged people to take action. “Take one thing and put it into play today.”