If you are building or running a business, you likely feel pressure most of the time. You spend your days in a rush, putting out fires, trying to solve seemingly insurmountable problems, and worrying about stuff like payroll, deadlines and keeping clients happy. And while you might not like to admit it, you secretly enjoy the constant hustle. It gives you a high that feels almost like being on drugs.
At a biochemical level, you actually are under the influence. The poison of your choice? Adrenaline.
You experience an adrenaline rush when your brain senses a challenge or danger and goes into the so-called “fight or flight” response. Every time you are under a lot of pressure, adrenaline helps you push through it.
And while an occasional burst of adrenaline can be helpful in a crisis, relying on it to get you through every day comes with a high cost.
The adrenaline tax
The consequences of your constant hurry and adrenaline rush might not be yet visible. But they are like a tax that you’ll eventually have to pay for the ability to function in a high-pressure environment without slowing down, taking time off and resting.
Adrenaline takes its toll on your health — it can damage your blood vessels, increase your blood pressure, lead you to experience anxiety, weight gain, headaches, and insomnia.
But there is also another, hidden cost that you are probably not aware of, one that undermines your ability to lead and create a healthy culture in your team.
One of the most severe consequences of running around like a headless chicken in self-induced adrenaline haze is that you might be inadvertently creating the polar opposite of the culture that you want to have.
Psychological studies offer plenty of evidence that an ongoing sense of pressure leads us to behave in ways that are grossly misaligned with our values and beliefs.