Bet you didn't know the word “stress” manifests itself in two completely different ways. “Good stress,” or eustress, results when you extend yourself physically or mentally to achieve something you really want. Remember when you trained all season for that all-state cross-country race – the one you not only won, but in which you cranked out your best time ever? Or how about your statewide science fair medal? You severely curtailed your social life and got bags under your eyes from the long hours of research and analysis, but you knew you absolutely killed that project. The judges thought so, too – you banked some serious scholarship money along with that blindingly bright medal.
So applying that “good stress” to advertising sales is easy. Think about preparing for a pitch to a prospect who consistently spends big advertising bucks. You study the prospect's industry, look at the business's past ads, and work closely with your graphics department to create some memorable spec (or sample) ads. That's good stress. You worked hard and have every right to be proud of your efforts.
On the other hand, there's the pull-your-hair-out kind of stress… the kind we all hate. Your manager is breathing down your neck to meet the month's sales quotas, and you've only got three days left. At the same time, he's hammering you to maintain your high customer service standards, and he wants you to develop a strategy to get that high-dollar account away from another ad agency. Does he realize how stressed out you are? When you get back to the office, you've still got an hour of ad proofing with the graphics department. And after all that, you get to fill out your daily online sales tracker sheets. “Help,” you shriek, “I can't take it anymore!” Time for a caffeine pick-me-up… and a few deep breaths to calm yourself before you go back to work.