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Conquering Stress! With Dr. Arlene —Career Passion Causes Stress

Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - 6:01 pm

By Dr. Arlene Barro

Passion is the career fuel that ignites success. What else does passion fire-up? Urgency and stress. This dynamic trio could promote success, burnout, or both. What is the cost of chronic work stress? According to the Harvard Business Review, we spend 125 billion to 190 billion dollars annually in health care costs. This includes psychological and physical problems which contribute to chronic work stress due to burnout. Let us investigate.

Managing Passion, Urgency, Stress

Unraveling and understanding the function of each component of the trio and the interaction among them is critical for effective management. Protect your passion. Your career passion is the ruler of the trio and must be nurtured. Urgency and stress can either promote the success of passion or destroy it. If the flame of career passion is extinguished, it may or may not be lit again. Use urgency to ignite passion. Two types of urgency are fighting for passion’s attention: inner and outer. Usually inner urgency is built into passion creating a strong desire to get things done. Keep the inner urgency in check so that it does not dominate passion. Employers provide outer urgency when, for example, they issue deadlines which could be difficult to meet. Speak up and do not work beyond your capacity, fueling burnout.

Sprinkle stress with passion and urgency. Stress and urgency are close cousins. We have both inner and outer urgency which triggers stress. When inner and outer urgency are intensified so is stress.

Burnout? The death of passion coupled with unhealthy levels of urgency and stress could lead to hypertension, digestive troubles, and heart problems. Moreover, the chronic state of stress increases the risk for depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Treasure your passion and protect it. Just sprinkle a pinch of stress to lower the impact of urgency on passion.

Appreciating Passion in People

Do we appreciate passion in both men and women? Not always. Why? We view men and women differently. Consequently, we make erroneous assumptions. The evaluation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s and Dr. Christine Ford’s testimonies supports this. Let us set the record straight.

Emotionality is the core of passion which, in combination with other attributes, ignites creativity. My Ph.D. dissertation, for which I was graduated with distinction, focused on creativity and how to identify it. The results of my study, supported by other research, show that high test scores on emotionality and femininity, as well as other traits, correlates with the ratings of those identified as highly creative men. At the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Thursday, September 27, 2018, Kavanaugh displays his career passion, as he fiercely defends himself. His outrage, crying, and indignation are consistent with a male creativity profile. Moreover, his behavior enables him to release anxiety and stress. Many have questioned his temperament for a position on the Supreme Court. No one has mentioned that attributes, associated with creativity, were igniting his behavior. For some, his anger was disturbing.

Ford’s testimony was compelling which elicited compassion. Many assumed that she was telling the truth because she is a woman; others assumed that Kavanaugh had to be guilty because he is a man. Men and women are people. Each one of us is an individual. Innocence and guilt has to be determined by evidence, not by sex. The FBI report will influence whether Kavanaugh will become the next Supreme Court Justice.

Passionately Pursuing Success Extraordinaire

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a Supreme Court Justice since August 10, 1993. She displays and represents the essence of career passion. Outspoken, self- confident, committed to making a difference. For many years, she has passionately pursued gender equality and women rights, resulting in astounding achievements. I highly recommend watching the CNN documentary ‘RBG’ on Ginsburg.

If you are consumed with career passion you will be inspired. If your career passion is fading, you will be re-energized. You will have the opportunity to experience career passion extraordinaire.

Questions about this column? Email

Dr. Arlene Barro, the creator of the Right Fit Method, is a UCLA-trained behavioral educational psychologist and professional speaker. She is the author of “WIN Without Competing!,” a business, career, and personal strategist and founder/CEO of barro global search, inc. at 10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood. Episodes of her radio show are available at


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