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Stressed Out? Here's How Leaders Cope | April 04, 2012 | 09:39 AM EDT

My wife is willing to give me 20 points for stress. "But that's it, buddy," she says.

We're moving next month. According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale , "change in residence" weighs in at 20 points. It's more than a minor violation of the law (11 pts), but less than imprisonment (63 pts).

That makes sense.

Imprisonment involves being locked up—after moving.

Most stress is about change, whether good or bad. Losing your job is stressful (47 pts), but so is an "outstanding personal achievement" (28 pts).

When work changes, leaders illuminate the future. They offer hope.

Thomas Watson, founder of IBM , was once asked when he knew IBM would become a colossus. "The first day," he said.

"I had a very clear picture," Watson said, "of what the company would look like when it was finally done.

"I realized that for IBM to become a great company it would have to act like a great company long before it ever became one" ("The E-Myth Revisited," Michael Gerber).

When my wife and I first started packing, we had no idea where we were going, no view of the future. All we saw were boxes and boxes.

Then, a few weeks ago, we bought a new house. It's close to Boston, and looks out on a small pond. Sometimes, I picture that pond, and instead of worrying about packing, I worry about drought.

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