Are you a goal-oriented person? Do you plan? Do you prioritize? You may have noticed that some of your coworkers don’t. Then coworkers have to scramble to get things back on track. People really hustle when there is a problem or an emergency. Stress can be motivating, and then, again, it can be just plain stressful.

Stress and motivation can go hand-in-hand. I always think it is important to define terms and then describe options for action.

Stress is often defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Motivation is often defined as the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way and the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

With the appropriate amount of stress people do respond with increased productivity and creativity. However, too much stress and both drop and are replaced with anxiety and high blood pressure.

So, stress has an optimal level. It depends on the individual, the conditions, and the circumstances.

I think the question about whether stress is motivating, might also involve the aspect of being reactive versus proactive.

Sometimes there are shocking events, or unreasonable demands put upon us, and our reaction is the stress response. However, sometimes, realistic goals and ambitions, enhance our clarity, compel us to plan, encourage us to acquire resources, and leads us to experience a meaningful and happy life.

If others dump problems on us, engage in open conversations, discuss options, and negotiate realistic expectations. Once this is done, take a short break; maybe take a short walk. Collect your thoughts, make some plans, and enjoy the energy created by properly managing the stress response.

Making stress motivating relies on negotiating realistic expectations. When faced with others’ demands and crises, negotiate reasonable requests, respond rather than react, and relieve some of the work stress. Continue to set goals, make plans, and unleash your motivation.

Practice stress management strategies and move from anxiety to motivation.

If you need to find a keynote speaker, plenary speaker, breakout speaker, concurrent session speaker, seminar leader, or workshop facilitator who can deliver in-person, virtually, or via prerecorded session, Kit Welchlin, M.A., CSP, CVP, is a nationally recognized professional motivational speaker and author and can be found at or