Thursday, July 12, 2012

Performance Pressure

by Kris Pitcher

We feel the pressure to perform whether we are competing as athletes, in the workplace, or trying to be the best parent we can be. The pressures come from external sources, and they come from within as well.

The external pressures are tough to manage. But it's really the way we internalize those, or the way we assign them to ourselves. We see many role models we'd like to emulate. We're bombarded with images really, of the way we should perform.

We can assign those to ourselves, deciding we have to live up to - perform up to - them. Or not. It's sort of like keeping up with the Jones'.

Do you really have to become the CEO? Would it be perfectly acceptable to excel in your field at the level you're currently at?

Likewise, do we have to compete with our eye on national, then professional level? Or can we just compete at a local level working to do better than we did against ourselves the year before? There is no right or wrong answer.

The pressure to perform is simply about what we want. It's OK to want it all, or just your little piece. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to perform it might be something to have a thoughtful conversation with yourself about.

Being accountable to what you've said you are going to do is a little different. Sure, there's pressure there. That kind of positive stress is good for us. It makes us work harder, train more and do better. Just remember why you've decided to do something. Is it for you, or is it for someone else?

The internal pressures we put on ourselves can put us in a spin too. It's about maintaining perspective and taking things one at a time. It's about managing your time and not overloading your schedule. Does everything have to be absolutely perfect in your home, work and personal life? Maybe, and maybe not.

Maybe there are areas where you can give a little, let the pressure off yourself until your big performance. The point is, you control that. You drive that. The pressure is coming from you. Manage it. It's your choice.

Regardless of where the pressure is coming from, internal or external, you've got to balance and juggle it all. We all feel it, we just manage differently. As you work toward your next big goal, keep in mind you are in control. You are doing it for you...and you've got this!

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