Managing Stress in the Moment

  • By Shawn Sommerkamp
  • 17 Jul, 2017

Every human being on the planet finds themselves, at one time or another, in a stressful situation that they can’t escape. You know what I mean. You are in a meeting at work, and a colleague undermines you in front of everyone. Whoa! At this point, stress jumps on your back like a mad gorilla. What do you do?

Proverbs 12:16 (NASB)  "A fool's anger is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor.

 We can easily say what we want to do. We want to pour a glass of cold water over their head or yell at the top of our lungs or at least crawl under the table and hope everyone just leaves the room. These are natural responses, of course, since our most primitive instinct wants to kick in – the instinct to survive. When someone attacks us, we want to attack or run. Those instincts serve us poorly in professional life. As the verse above says, showing anger (or fear or stress or annoyance) is dishonorable.

Learning how to manage stress in these precarious situations is key for career advancement. Here are three practical ways to find immediate balance.  

Pray For Strength

In the split second it takes for our blood pressure to rise, we can also find peace in a simple prayer. “Father, help me to be calm,” is one prayer I offer up. This helps us not only rely on someone greater than ourselves, it helps us keep in mind that God is in control, all the time.  


This is practice where you learn to become aware of your posture while taking a slow, deep breath. When frustrated, we tend to lean slightly forward (fight) or slightly backward (flight). God created in us the sigh, a way to help us automatically center. Trouble is, when we are in a tense situation, we tend to hold our breath. In that moment, breathe slowly and calmly, and you will find yourself begin to stand straighter and taller with confidence. The urge to strike back or run away disappears.  

Slow it Down

When feeling the tension rise, make a deliberate choice to slow down your speech pattern. Yes, talk slower. What will actually happen is you will be talking at just the right pace. When stressed, we tend to speed up from the cortisol and adrenaline our brains start pumping through us. These chemicals are what prepare the body to quickly respond to stress. When you slow down your speech, you offset the surge of energy that often overacts.

James 1:19  "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

Practicing the three techniques listed above allows us to hold to the guidance from James. As we are quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, we can show the righteousness of God to our colleagues. Not only does this shine the gospel light, it also fosters great relationships in the workplace and does wonders for career advancement.

Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience.  He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to use their career to glorify God and support local church growth.

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By Shawn Sommerkamp 18 Sep, 2017

Psalm 94:19  When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul.

In the previous blog (posted Feb 13th titled "Remove the Blockers") I revealed the four types of Internal Blocks that hold us back from experiencing profound career growth.  These are Fear, Assumptions, Interpretations and Limiting Beliefs, referenced as the acronym F.A.I.L. I also asked you to practice self-awareness by writing down those times you felt a little “off” then taking a moment to identify your self-talk that day.

Fear Holds us Back

We are now going to look at the first internal blocker, one of the most prevalent and pervasive blockers and one nearly every client I’ve ever had struggles with from time to time, the F in F.A.I.L. - Fear.

When our internal dialogue is influenced by Fear, it tends to come from past experiences. We were bit by a dog and now we are fearful around dogs. We were yelled at by an aggressive manager and now we get uncomfortable in the presence of all management.

As an executive coach I focus my clients on moving forward. We don’t spend time thinking on the past. This is of utmost importance for your own professional maturity. What happened yesterday or last year simply doesn’t matter. It’s all about what you want for your career today.

Luke 9:62  Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus Calls Out Fear

Jesus addresses three would-be followers. In the first, Jesus knew what would make the man unfit and addressed it outright. In the last two, they had an excuse for not being ready to take immediate action. In each, Fear was the blocker.

"I can’t do it right now Jesus because…"

…it would be way too uncomfortable physically and emotionally

…I have a depressing situation that I’m involved in and can’t muster the energy

…I will really miss all the great time with my family

Why would a loving Jesus disqualify someone from kingdom service just because he wanted to say goodbye to his wife and kids? If that were the real reason, Jesus is heartless. We know He is our loving Savior, so there must have been a deeper reason. The same is true of the man whose father allegedly died. Would a compassionate Christ stop a man from honoring his father with a proper burial? No! These were excuses prompted by fear.

That's what Jesus was addressing in each of these three would-be followers - Fear!

It's Time We Address Our Own Fears

For us to address our own, we will start telling ourselves the truth of who we are in this moment, in this day. How? By using the Thought Tuning™ process. You think through what you are telling yourself in the moment, consider your Core Values as a being created by God, then tell yourself something different about what is happening. Tell yourself something more in line with who you are as a person.

That's how you overcome your fear. Remember your Core Values while actively identifying self-talk, then changing what you tell yourself.

If you haven’t done the Core Values assessment yet, please go back to my website, [here] download the Thought Tuning™ guide from the main page and complete it. Then place your core values on the fridge, on your bathroom mirror, on your work space desk, on your phone; anywhere to constantly remember who you are. You are the person God created.

These Core Values are your very essence. None of them have anything to do with fear! When you feel your anxious thoughts welling up, walk through the Thought Tuning™ process, and you will immediately see the difference.

By Shawn Sommerkamp 18 Sep, 2017

by Dave Mitchell

Hummingbirds are really quite amazing.

They are very small (the hummingbird egg is the size of a jellybean), versatile and fun to watch.   Their wings beat up to eighty times per second. They can rotate in a complete circle, hovering like a helicopter in mid-air, fly forwards, backwards, up, down, sideways and even upside-down.

The laws of physics say it should be impossible for the humming bird to fly.

But, as Steve Chandler says, “Clearly nobody told the hummingbird.” 

I remember traveling to the Philippines years ago.   It is a beautiful country, filled with beautiful people. We traveled to one of the poorest areas to donate supplies from the U.S. HOPE worldwide was there administering dental work and providing simple medical treatments. We (non-medical) were asked to bring a suitcase of the basics - clothes, toothbrushes, soap, socks, etc. to give away to families that were local to that area. It was some of the harshest conditions I had ever seen or been around. 

The Joyful Children

I will never forget the children that day. My wife and I still talk about it. Joyful, happy, grateful, friendly, laughing, playing games, jumping rope, having a good time just being together.

The laws of materialism and comfort say it should be impossible for the people there to be joyful. I learned that day, “Clearly no one told the children.” 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” - Theodore Roosevelt

Most, if not all of the beautiful children I saw that day, had never left their local area. There was nothing to compare their situation to – therefore there joy remained, it was not ‘stolen’ by the knowledge of a different life with different surroundings – it was all they knew!

How many times have I missed the ‘joy of life’ by comparing myself to others - my situation or ‘stuff’- because I was envious or jealous?   

Convicted and determined, I spent these last 25 years trying to understand how to maintain consistent (although imperfect) joy and peace in my life. After years of research, reflection and development, I found a way to not only practice joy in my own life, but teach it to others. It’s possible. It’s real. 

Is it Really Possible to be Joyful Always?

Maybe you can be tempted to think, “Dave, if you knew, like REALLY knew, my story - you would understand why it is so hard (if not impossible) for me to live the joyful life.”   

I know it can seem hard – maybe because you have been trying so long – to maintain consistent joy. You might even feel like, ‘It’s impossible’. 

Technically, it’s impossible for the humming bird to fly as well. But they can – up to 30 MPH! 

The Bible mentions being joyful and in some cases commands it:

  • ‘Be joyful always….’
  • ‘Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds….’
  • ‘Rejoice always in the Lord always….’

 Imagine with me, for just a moment, a life where your joy is untouched and unaffected by life’s circumstances. A life where your joy was your strength and fueled you through the day regardless of what was going on around you or the results you were achieving. Can you see it? Can you picture this? 

If you can see it, you can reach it. I know, not only because the Bible calls us to have true joy always, but because I know how to change my thinking to achieve it.  And so can you.  It starts by deepening your awareness of those areas affecting your joy. And you can do so by clicking the button below, which will take you to a page to access the Joy Meter Assessment.

By Shawn Sommerkamp 18 Sep, 2017

Matthew 6:33-34  "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

This article is for those who never seem to get caught up, that spend 12+ hours every day, month after month, endlessly striving to get work done.  

Whether you are one of those people who burn the professional candle at both ends or someone who has struck the perfect work-life balance, one thing holds true: Work will completely fill whatever time you give it.

It’s real. Like a gas completely fills whatever container holds it, work fills every minute you are willing to sacrifice. Its appetite is voracious. It is a freedom eater, and it chews up and swallows your time faster than you can shovel it in. Like a hungry animal, it sits there begging, “Feed me more.” The higher up the corporate ladder you climb, the louder the complaints and more pressing the hunger.  

As simple as this concept is, we often don’t understand its very powerful implication: We are in control, and work is not.  

If you believe that this statement is true, it will help you achieve a balance in life that is healthy, happy and sustainable. So, do you believe me?  

If you think you are not in control of how much work your career absolutely demands, you might qualify as the “S” (Submissive) or “C” (Compliant) dimension of the DiSC Personality Profile. It simply means you have a personality that perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment. And yes, that comes with a tendency to work endless hours, often feeling like you can never seem to catch up.  

Ecclesiastes 4:4  "And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another.  This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."

I’m not suggesting from this passage above that you, as a follower of Christ, are full of envy. I am asking you to consider, however, there may be subconscious reasons you work so many hours. This is something worth examining. Here are a few questions you may want to get used to asking yourself:

  • What would happen if I let this work task wait until tomorrow?
  • Who might also benefit from doing this specific work instead of me?
  • Which of my core values do I contradict by working as much as I do?
  • What steps can I take to reduce the amount of time this effort will take next time?

We are on a journey. And we all want to have the greatest impact possible for our Lord. Consider your time, how much you spend buried in work and take the steps to regain control. It’s easier than you think.

Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience.  He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to use their career to glorify God and support local church growth.

By Shawn Sommerkamp 18 Aug, 2017

Proverbs 20:10  "Differing weights and differing measures, the Lord detests them both."

Bible Numbers?

Have you ever stopped to consider how often numbers are mentioned in the Holy Scriptures? The answer is “a lot!” The number 40 is used 100 times, 12 is used about 130 times, and 10 is used over 240 times. God counts not only the stars in the sky but also the hairs on your head. Do a quick word search on “numbered” in the Bible, and see how many times God numbered things…whoa!

I’m not a Biblical numerologist and can’t say I believe much in what they teach. I am convinced, however, that God is a God of numbers. We not only have an entire book in the Bible dedicated to these little arithmetic symbols, we also see them across the millennia in God’s creation - from the basis for math as a universal language to the Fibonacci sequence in trees, flowers and fruit. This includes the staggering importance of numbers within the many and varied Biblical money matters. The importance of numbers to understanding the scriptures and our wonderful God simply can’t be measured (pun intended).  

Jesus Taught Numbers Too!

Jesus taught about numbers and the principles of economics as well – including the parables of The Two Debtors, The Talents, The Dishonest Steward, The Ten Virgins, The Unmerciful Servant, and the Hidden Treasure.   There is so much packed into the New Testament alone about wages and earnings and profit and budgeting and debt and savings that it simply can’t be ignored by Christians. Indeed, just knowing your household finances will serve you well in this life and the life to come.  

Luke 16:11  "If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?"

How well do you know the numbers that surround your career? 

The more familiar you are with business figures, the more you will be entrusted with leadership responsibility. It’s that simple.  

The higher up the ladder you climb, numbers become infinitely more important. Just imagine how unstable a CEO would be who has no idea of the company stock price, employee head count, capital assets, quarterly revenue or annual profit.  

We work for an awesome God who loves us and knows what we need. We don’t work for man, and we don’t fear man. We strive ambitiously in the workplace, diligent with our responsibilities and loving in all our deeds because God is our boss. And if we want to grow our career, we want to have a strong handle on the numbers that swirl about us. Not because we want to avoid embarrassment, but because we want to be our very best.  

Sales Representatives want to know precisely how to calculate their commission plan. Project Managers want to know if their project is delivering within planned budget. Quality managers want to know defect rate and tact time. Directors want to know gross margin, Cost of Goods Sold and forecast. Marketing managers want to know ROI (return on investment) for each advertising dollar spent. Farmers want to know crop yield. Retail managers want to know product sales and inventory. The list can go on forever.

The Most Important Numbers

The most important set of numbers are those used to measure your own performance in your current role. This is vital to your career advancement. Do you know what results the business is expecting from you? If you are a CEO, the answer is easy: earnings, returns and revenue. What if you are a Tech Support Rep or a School Teacher or an Engineer or Software Developer or Architect or Business Analyst or Sales Support or Movie Editor etc.?  

If your leadership team hasn’t told you, find out! If your management team doesn’t know, then sit down with them and define what they consider solid performance, mediocre performance and best in class performance. Set goals and targets for exceeding their expectations and help others in your department reach their goals. If you were on a sports team, the number rests on the big scoreboard and everyone knows it. You all work toward making your number bigger than the opposing team’s number.  

In the workplace, numerical performance has become nebulous for most employees, middle managers and even directors. You want to grow your career. I know this because you are a follower of Christ and he calls us to be excellent in everything we do. Know your numbers, and grow your career.

Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience.  He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to use their career to glorify God and support local church growth.

By Shawn Sommerkamp 18 Aug, 2017

Proverbs 27:17  "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

What is  a Mentoring Relationship?

Mentoring is an influential professional development tool. It is an effective way to progress your career. It is a partnership between two people (mentor and mentee) usually in a similar career field or at least similar experiences (such as entrepreneurship or leadership role.)

A mentor is a guide who can help the mentee find the right direction and develop solutions to career issues. Mentors had similar experiences and will have empathy with you, an understanding of your situation. Mentoring provides you access to greater career options you might otherwise have missed.

Having a mentor is a winning move plain and simple.  It actually comes down to choice. You choose whether or not you want a mentor, then choose the mentor you want.

  “…you will, therefore oblige me greatly if you will kindly direct and guide me and make necessary suggestions which shall be received as from a father to his child.”  

These are the words written by Ghandi to a man named Dadabhai Naoroji, a local leader who helped start the Indian Independence Movement from Britain. Upon learning of Naoroji’s intentions, Gandhi was eager to join the effort. In 1888, he wrote Naoroji the letter, a portion of which is captured above. Naoroji took Gandhi under his wing and instilled in him lessons that would ultimately change the world.  

Proverbs 1:5  " A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel."  

Famous Mentoring Examples

This is as trustworthy as all of God’s word: A man or woman of understanding will seek out mentorship. You may have already experienced it yourself, at some level, without formality. That’s good. However, there is something better. That is a formal mentor/mentee relationship. Here are a few examples from recent and ancient history:




Warren Buffet


Benjamin Graham (college professor)

Dr. Martin Luther King


Benjamin E Mays (President, Morehouse College)

Bill Gates


Dr. Ed Roberts (inventor of microcomputer)

Henry David Thoreau


Ralph Waldo Emerson (author, poet)

Walter Cronkite


Fred Birney (High school teacher)

Ray Charles


Wiley Pittman (neighborhood store owner)

T.S. Eliot


Ezra Pound (poet)

Michael Jordan


Phil Jackson (NBA coach)



Socrates (stonecutter and philosopher)



Plato (teacher, founder of Athens Academy)

Mentoring Examples Found in God's Word

Although mentoring clearly provides encouragement, insight, training, correction and inspiration it is an avenue for career growth most Christians don’t fully incorporate (at best) or completely overlook (at worst.) It’s in your best interest to give attention to this ancient relationship structure. Although modern business circles lay claim to the premise of mentoring (as seen from the above list), its roots are well established from Biblical times too.  
















12 Apostles









How to Ask a Mentor

Many people look forward to being a mentor and are only waiting to be asked. Identify someone who has a skill set you admire, a job you would like to have or a strength you would like to develop. Go to them and share both your respect and your request.  

Be ready to describe your goals and define what you want from the relationship. Confirm the best way to communicate (phone, Skype, in person, email etc.), and then set a frequency. Make sure to meet no less than once per month (for an hour) or 15 minutes weekly. Connecting once every three months won’t be much of a connection.

Once you have the mentor relationship in place, please drop me a line and let me know all about hit.

Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience.  He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to use their career to glorify God and support local church growth.

By Shawn Sommerkamp 18 Aug, 2017

Luke 14:31  "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?

The good news is, whether you know a little or lot about negotiating, the concepts are very simple to grasp and, in many cases, quite easy to execute. Here below are a few important tips to becoming a better negotiator. Take special note: these are principles and can be practiced. The more you do, the better you get. Not every situation is identical. As you try them out, add to your learning.  

God’s Purpose Prevails

We are so blessed in knowing that our plans will only succeed if they are part of God’s plans. This removes a big load off our back when sitting at the negotiating table. As we negotiate with this truth in mind, we can be free from taking things personally. We know the outcome is part of God’s plan. We don’t have to let our emotions get tangled up in the discussion. We can maintain “detached involvement.”  

Remember, It’s Only A Game

You don’t have to watch a lot of TV to know of shows such as Shark Tank and Pawn Stars and American Pickers and the many more that have a component of negotiation to them. You can see the “game principle” at work in each round of negotiation no matter who is negotiating. This is only a game. The rules are simple and emotion-free: You start low (or high) and end at the point you want most.  

For example, if you are negotiating a salary, start the negotiations about 25% higher than the salary you want. You will then receive a counter-offer that is much lower than the salary you want. You then counter with a slightly higher amount, and they counter with a slightly lower. You are both inching your way to the middle where you both feel like winners. This is the way it works. It’s just part of the game.

Be Okay With Walking Away

One of the most powerful negotiating positions is your ability to just say “No,” and walk away. When buying a new car, for example, if you begin the discussion knowing that you are willing to not buy the car that day, the salesman will get the idea quickly. Of course, you don’t start the negotiation with this fact. Let them discover it over time, as you go through several rounds of counter offers. At some point, they will see that you are willing to walk way. In one instance, it came to that point for me when buying a new car. I walked out. I was in my vehicle, about to drive away, and the sales person ran out to me and said, “I just got special approval for you. I can meet the price you are asking.” I was going to drive away. This was not my negotiating strategy to call his bluff. I was certain he simply couldn’t help me.  When it comes to negotiating a higher salary, of course, we can't just walk away from the job if our company doesn't meet our request.   We can, however, show them empirically how well we know the market averages for our job position and the reasons we feel we deserve an increase.  If they simply refuse, maybe it's time to start looking for another job (on the down low.)

Know Your Numbers

As much as possible, you want to get a strong set of data about both sides of the discussion – your side and theirs. The more information you have about what influences them, the better prepared you are to deal with their objections. Even in the parable of Jesus about counting the cost of discipleship, when one king goes to war against another, it is important to sit down and consider the numbers.  

James 1:5  "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and[h]without reproach, and it will be given to him."

There are great stories of negotiating all throughout the Old Testament. They are way too numerous to list. The point is, negotiating is a big part of life whether you are doing it with your kids, your co-workers, your spouse, your company, your customers and yes, we even sometimes try to negotiate with God.  

Be comfortable with knowing its okay to negotiate. Pray to God for wisdom on how best to do so, even if it means getting the courage to try.

Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience.  He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to use their career to glorify God and support local church growth.

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