The stealth approach to stress management

When it comes to stress, there are two kinds of people:

The ‘Velcros’ and the ‘Teflons.’

‘Velcros’ allow stress to stick to them, says Professor David Almeida, who did a 10-year study on the effects of stress. They spend their lives being irritable, grumpy and frustrated.

‘Teflons,’ on the other hand, are able to let stress slide away.

I’ll get to how they do it in a minute. But first, let’s distinguish between stress and stressors:

Stress is your body’s response to a stressor — a physical, mental or emotional challenge.

It’s your interpretation of the stressor that determines how much stress you experience.

In fact, here’s what I’ve observed working with tech founders, military Special Forces and others in high-pressure environments.

It’s not the big, dramatic events that create the most stress. What trips them up is the “small” stuff:

  • An unproductive meeting
  • A key hire going to a competitor
  • A snarky exchange on the leadership team

None of these are life-threatening — they’re micro-stressors.

But they’re coming through sources we don’t realize — I call them “stealth triggers” — as we experience an unprecedented volume, diversity and speed of interactions with people.

Over time, the impact of these stress reactions takes its toll, wearing down our immune system and compromising our ability to think clearly.

That’s why I teach my clients how to be Teflons:

Traditional advice on coping with negative or stressful interactions doesn’t work because micro-stressors are so invisibly embedded in our lives.

Instead, they learn my three-step framework to uncover hidden causes of stress and control their reactions:

  1. identifying the stealth triggers
  2. minimizing the emotional loops
  3. making micro-changes in their response

The result: they bring a whole new level of clarity, focus and strategic thinking to their biggest challenges.


When you’re ready to level up your leadership, here’s how I can help :

✅ I offer a cohort-based course that helps founders turbo-charge their leadership communication skills. Learn about Evolving Faster HERE.

✅ I offer 1:1 coaching engagements. Book a call to learn more HERE.

Let’s work together to make your vision a reality.

With a strategic game plan and some discipline, it’s simpler than you think.