Do you think your pressure comes from yourself or somewhere else? What about the claim, “I work better under pressure”?
Sure, it is important to be able to perform well in pressure situations. Pressure situations, however, get labeled as such because of the strain we feel in handling them. Where does the tension come from? Experiencing an identical situation, two or more people tend to produce varying degrees of anxiety. Why? This leads to the premise that the individuals involved are more the variables than the circumstances. Since people determine the impact felt, seems external aspects can be removed as a cause, and pressure, in reality, is a self-inflicted response.
Skeptical? When you’re running late, (imagine if you have to) is “lateness” causing your franticness or are the self-condemning thoughts about being late or even what others think about your being late creating your experience?
Maybe you’re apprehensive about an upcoming meeting. Is the meeting really the culprit or would we be more accurate to consider our confidence or ability to effectively communicate at the event or with the parties present as the real issue?
What about workload (personally or professionally)? The workload; usually some form of list of items or tasks; simply sits there unable to interact with us, we choose the message(s) to attach.
Keep in mind pressure is both positive and negative. Positive stretches us to grow in beneficial ways (as uncomfortable as may be); just like the process of diamond or pearl creation; while negative leads to blame and excuses!
Perfectionism for example produces both forms of pressure. A beneficial form of perfectionism is when we strive to perform our best. In this capacity one is committed to on-going self-improvement and a desire to function well. The desire is implemented through application of necessary and appropriate action.
A detrimental form on the other hand is when we berate ourselves for missing our mark. Condemnation is a destructive tool. When have you ever excelled from caustic behavior?
Sports (some of you of course are surprised) provide some perspective. A perfect game in bowling is three hundred. Yes, many professional as well as amateur bowlers have achieved this score. Many people have done so a couple times and even some have several times. However, to my knowledge, no one has continually and consistently bowled perfect games.
What about baseball? An excellent batting average is anything three hundred or greater. Four hundred is practically unheard of, although has been reached for snippets of time. Three hundred equates to successful hits three out of ten times. Using this formula as your criteria, how does your efforts compare?
Let’s look at football. Who knows of a quarterback who has completed every pass in their career? Even one hundred percent completion in a season has yet to be achieved. Some of you may be tempted to reference quarterbacks with ratings over one hundred percent. This is true. Consider though how few, based on the number of quarterbacks that play (have played) the game. Once achieved, is it maintained? In addition, the rating incorporates other factors.
Bring these references to yourself. When aiming for success is your view through a pinhole and on one tiny aspect or are you taking into account how the task fits into the greater scheme . . . of the project at hand and life/business as a whole?
That said, caution must be advised as to the fine line that leads to blame and excuses to performing subpar in regards to both effort and ability. This type of behavior ends up in denial. Often we start out knowing more is needed but convince ourselves either we’re incapable or we’re plain unwilling to act accordingly and resort to deception to avoid.
Consider the damage of the last concept. Remember the thoughts, words and actions of everyday are creating your habits, your character and your tomorrows.
Practice, conscious or unconscious, once again determines your results. Practice negative, berating pressure and you deplete your confidence, generate excuses and create high stress. Utilize pressure positively to stretch yourself and grow then your confidence increases, responsibility is embraced and success (as you define for yourself) in life and business is experienced.
The next time you feel pressured, STOP, take a breath, pause to ask yourself, “What am I doing to myself?” Take another breath and then consciously choose the thought, word and action that align with what you claim you want and are attempting to create. You, like many of us, may have to apply this several times in a variety of situations. Critical point, the emphasis belongs on the willingness and persistence to choose in the moment when necessary as opposed to having faltered causing the need for redirection.