When it comes to choosing a life path, I often tell my daughters to ask themselves this question:

“Where do you want your stress?”

Here’s what I mean:

If I’m a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or CEO, chances are pretty good that I’m probably doing okay financially. So my stress may come in the form of deadlines, or making sure designs or plans are mathematically accurate, or selling my life to the firm at 80 or more hours a week, or hovering over a patient in the operating room wondering if they’re going to make it.

But when I choose teaching as a life path and career, I did not choose those particular stressors.

I still HAVE stressors, just not those.

For instance, you may find me hitting up the Goodwill store down the street for a couple of loud Hawaiian shirts because I cannot afford Tommy Bahama or Banana Republic.

Or you may find me counting out the change from the coffee mug in my office to pay for an end-of-the-month pizza during those few days before the direct deposit drops.

Or you may even find me on the phone with the customer service rep from Verizon every now and then as I’m saying, “Please don’t turn off my phone. I’ll get the check to you as soon as I can.”

Now I know that teachers also have professional stressors.

And I know that doctors, lawyers, and CEOS sometimes have financials stressors.

But in general, things tend to fall on one side or the other.

So make no mistake, you’re going to have stress.

Everyone does.

But when you’re wondering which path to take in life and wondering what road is best. . .

It might help to remember this question:

“Where do you want your stress?” TZT

If you’re looking for more ideas like this, check out The Zen Teacher: Creating Focus, Simplicity, and Tranquility in the Classroom. Read about how gratitude, compassion, acceptance, nonjudgment, being in The Moment, learning to say no without guilt, and similar strategies can reduce your stress, improve your Self-Care, and increase your sense of peace.