07 Aug 2013

Pressure to Perform

07 Aug 2013

Under pressure performance anxietyWhether you are an entrepreneur or an employee, the pressure to perform can be incessant and unbearable. The never ending To Do list, longer hours required, deadlines getting shorter because some one else is not keeping up, ever growing burdens, more brilliant ideas demanded of you and make sure you’re pleasant while you do it so you don’t offend the client.

Will these demands ever end? How many years will you put up with this before Professional Burnout Syndrome catches up with you and your body decides for you when it’s time to stop?

What is the pressure really, though? It’s not as if we are a slave with some Roman in a red and gold brush helmet cracking a whip across our shoulders (although some bosses do feel like that). There is no physical punishment if we don’t make the deadline. We could lose our job at worst. We aren’t likely to lose our head.

Is there another way around it?

Try this exercise.

  1. Take a look at what is adding the most pressure to your day on a regular basis. Write it down in simple terms. It may be a person, a project, a situation (eg. – your lack of cashflow) or something less tangible like the pressure you put on yourself to be better than you think you actually are.
  2. Now imagine your day where this pressure is completely lifted, completely resolved. How would the day go? How would you feel? How would you work? What would be the small talk running through your head? As you write this down, feel how amazingly different it feels. You feel free and light. Easy. Everything is suddenly easy. Great ideas flow into your head like water from a plentiful stream. Laborious work is done in a jiffy. You have time to spend on the work you really enjoy. You even get to laugh. There’s extra time in the day to catch up on the phone with a friend. Have a quick snooze after lunch. Stop and stare out the window for 10 minutes appreciating the view without any trace of guilt.
  3. Here’s the powerful bit.
    Take that great feeling you’ve produced in Step 2 and live that way anyway. Treat everyone around you as if the pressure has been permanently sucked away in a gale of wind. Watch how your new perception starts to bend the real world.

Why does this work?

The pressure is in your mind. The more you feel it the more you draw it to you in terms of bad luck, worse circumstances and crazy people.

When you let it go, just like magic, the people around you – your boss, colleagues and clients – all seemingly alter their behaviour to match your new pressure-free state of mind. Anyone still in the pressurised state themselves will affect you less. Hold your new strong state of mind and you’ll inspire them to shift their own perspective. Sometimes they’ll even want to start hanging around you more because you make them feel calmer.  This makes you more valuable to have around even if the words never consciously come into their heads.

If you’ve been under pressure – or rather you’ve put yourself in the pressurised state of mind – for a long period of time it may take a while to break the habit.

Don’t give up when this happens though. It always takes a while to unstick a nasty habit. Jack Canfield reckons it takes 30 consecutive days to change. If you spend a day back in your old habit, you have to start your 30 days again.

Simply become aware when you’re feeling the pressure, redo the exercise, turn it around to a more pleasant, pressure-free state again and continue on with your day.

The more open you are in imagining how great life can be and acting as though it’s already here, the quicker it will arrive.

Work with Kitegirl to reduce pressure in your business or career. Enquire here.

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