Pressure: It’s all in your head

Pressure is a funny thing. We tend to think that some people thrive under it, and others crumble. But can we actually define what it is?  What constitutes the thing we all know as pressure, and under what circumstance is it created?

Google define’s pressure in two ways:

  1. continuous physical force exerted on or against an object by something in contact with it.
  2. the use of persuasion or intimidation to make someone do something

I’m talking here more about the non physical version we all associate with. More recently in my work life I have come to realise that the only person who can put pressure on you is yourself.  Others can try, but they can only succeed if you let them.

We have all felt pressure in the work place. Pressure to deliver against a deadline. Pressure to work late. Pressure to behave in a certain way.  I used to experience all of these pressures every day. But I don’t any longer.

What’s changed? Well nothing in the way other people behave. They continue to do what they have always done. The change has come within me. I simply no longer allow myself to feel pressured.

Of course I work hard to hit deadlines. But I am upfront if I don’t think they are achievable and if one is missed, I explain I made it clear and say when I can deliver the work by.

And the pressure to work late and conform to a presenteeism within the workplace? I just ignore it. Pack up my back, smile, say my goodbyes and leave. It’s easier than you think.

All of this has made me realise that pressure is quite often a construct of your own mind. Nobody can put it on you but yourself.

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