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How To Overcome The Thing That Will Stop You in 2018

This is the year you change your view on the work you do.

“I feel a lot of pressure mostly because I put it on myself. I also feel pressure to be something in this world, something that matters and if I don’t graduate with honors or start getting better grades on my exams, I’m not sure I will ever be.”

A friend told me that over coffee earlier this year. He was in grad school, one of the top for engineering and since he was young, he’s wanted to work with cars. He loves speed and when he was a kid, he’d asked himself how he can go faster. When he told me how hard school was, how difficult the exams were, he said he felt behind and the need for him to standout became greater.

“What makes you think that you have to standout?” I asked him.

He paused for a minute, looking at his shoelaces as he was thinking about his response.

“I’m not a natural math person so I have to work twice as hard than the others in my class. I work my ass off and I’m still getting C’s. I’m wondering if this is the right move, now?”

“What if you didn’t do grad school, would you still work with cars? Would you enjoy it?”

“ I would still do it but I’m not sure if I would get hired?”

“Do you need to be hired?”

“No.”

I went through something similar like my friend. When I first started writing ten years ago, it was my dream to make it as a writer and the only way to do that was having a crazy amount of views. I started watching videos on growing blogs, organic reach, sales they got from writing viral pieces on certain topics. I mimicked them and none of them work. I doubled my work load and still nothing. I started to feel like my friend, that the dream of being a full time writer was slipping away.

The pressure of not achieving my dream started to mount and everything I wrote contributed to that. I had to have those metrics of success or I was done before I even started. If I didn’t achieve the metrics, then it wasn’t great and then pressure would build onto the next time I wrote.

The art of doing and enjoying the work of writing was filled with pass or fail, good or bad, great or absolute shit. None of it was about the experience of writing.

Today’s world is filled more and more with pressure to stand out, to be something or someone worth listening to. In some instances, pressure can be a good thing. It can be a catalyst to push yourself out of your comfort zone. It can help you create better work. But for some of us, pressure can be the deterrent to anything we do. Too much pressure, not the right pressure, or any pressure at all can cause us to not enjoy anything we do. It can affect our dreams, it can keep us from performing better at our jobs, it can take us away from being in the moment.

Do not buckle underneath the idea you have to be something online or someone of mass importance.
Don’t let pressure dictate the experience of the things you love. We always will have deadlines. We will have a tendency to scroll our feeds and compare ourselves to others who look as though they are living the life.
We can’t help it. We are cause-effect beings but we have a choice of how we view pressure. that starts with asking how can pressure better serve you whether you choose to remove it or let it exist.

Recently, this podcast with Tim Ferriss changed the way I looked at pressure. Tim shares that one question he started to ask himself became the catalyst for his new book, Tribe of Mentors.

“What would this look like if it were easy?”

The question hit me at my core. I started to ask that when it came to my writing, my work and my life that if I removed the pressure of having everything be great with doing something I loved would make writing easier, more enjoyable, and fun. It would increase the quality of my life, my job and my writing.

So I stopped worrying about views, impressions, measurement and focused more on the drafts, the shaping and creating of sentences, the paragraphs and the story. I also came up with a couple of additional questions that I have found useful.

Here they are:

  1. Why am I working so hard?
  2. What is the reason I am putting the hours into this project?
  3. Will the pressure make the end result better? If so, how?

A new year is always filled with promise. It’s the clean slate we all want especially after tumultuous times. With clean slates, we can envision everything we have ever wanted but it is important to remember that pressure only serves you if you accept it will help your experience be a better one.