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SOS Mode

Having worked as an interview prep and communication skills consultant in the design and construction industry for almost 14 years, I have a love/hate relationship with this industry.  I love the people I get to work with.  I love the contribution that we make to our world.  But, I hate— I deeply hate how our industry treats the salaried professionals in it.

On one hand, industry champions promote safety and quality, eating fruit and counting your steps.  However, on the other hand, the industry constantly demands that we do more and sacrifice our health and well-being.  

People do better work with vitality. 

Who would you rather have doing your surgery: the surgeon who’s been working 10-hour shifts six days a week, or the doctor who works reasonable hours, gets sufficient sleep and feels refreshed and clear without needing coffee all day? Given the same life styles –Who would you rather have in charge of quality control or managing safety?

Studies show that working more hours does not equate to greater productivity or effectiveness.  We don’t really get more done.  It just takes longer to get things done when you are living and working in overdrive; another words, SOS mode.

What is SOS mode?

            S:  Sacrificing self-care and restoration

            O:  Overwork and Overwhelm

            S:  Stress, Anxiety and Depression (SAD)

In the fall, I read an article citing a Centers for Disease Control study which identified the industries with the highest incidents of recorded suicides:  #2 Construction, #4 Architecture and Engineering, #9 Management.  Peoples’ lives are at risk – figuratively and literally.

How are we figuratively killing ourselves? By constantly operating in SOS mode without reprieve.

Not only have I observed this in the many companies that I have worked with over the past fourteen years, I have experienced it myself as a solopreneur.

For many years, the below was not true for me:

I take care of my self.

I trust my self.

I value my self.

I know me.  I really, know me.

You marketers are likely screaming TYPO!!!!  Why did she use “my self” instead of “myself”? By using my self I have found that I treat and relate to me as I would someone I truly care about: my father, my mother, my spouse, my child. 

I was disconnected from my self.   Overworking.  Always connected to technology.  I had become a doing machine, suppressing self-care as a badge of honor. 

My self, got in the way of what I “needed” to do.

So I was abusive to my self, constantly pushing myself to get more done.  Mind over matter.  Human will over any limitations to my doing.

Yet in doing so, I continuously demonstrated that what mattered to me was not me, but accomplishment, business and doing.Doing such a horrible job of taking care of my self, yet carrying my self with me always led me to not trust me or my self.

This went on for years until my body started indicated that I could no longer keep going this way:  digestive issues, elevated cortisol levels, thyroid issues and Epstein Barr Virus.

Don’t let things get to that point.

If you have been experiencing any element of SOS or all of them, please attend my session for SMPS Arizona on March 16, 2017, at the Phoenix Country Club. Click here to sign up!

I will share some of the simple tools I have learned to get me out of SOS mode and keep me out.

Invite your non-SMPS colleagues, co-workers, managers and human resource team as well since this topic is one that will resonate with many in our industry.

Whether you can attend or not, please click here to and take two minutes to complete a survey that will help give us a sense of the scope of this issue in our industry. Share it with various people representing different job types within your company as well as your SMPS friends outside of Arizona.


Hilari Weinstein
President, High Impact Communication 

Hilari is the President of High Impact Communication and has worked as an interview prep and communication skills consultant in the design and construction industry for almost 14 years. Hilari is an advocate for SMPS and enjoys attending local SMPS events when her schedule allows it. Hilari holds an annual membership for Butterfly Wonderland - her Zen spot, she enjoys reading, writing and very grateful that Amazon Prime exists.


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