How to stop putting so much pressure on yourself

how to stop putting pressure on yourself

I'm no stranger to self-imposed pressure.

For years I fell into patterns of over-achieving and seeking validation from external things (like grades or awards). I used pressure as my main form of motivation. It worked well, but it didn't feel good. 

Eventually, I got pretty burnt out and began wondering if I'd ever feel motivated again. Maybe my most driven years were behind me. Maybe I'd pushed myself too hard and now I was out of fuel, permanently.

Turns out, I am not alone in this (and if you can relate, neither are you). It's normal to feel exhausted from so much striving and providing and doing. It's simply not sustainable for the long-run.

Thankfully, there is another, much more pleasant way to move forward. And that's what I want to share with you today 😃



So how do you avoid the pressure, but still get the job done?

You release the expectations and pressure you're putting on yourself, and you lean into your vision.

One of my favorite quotes, by Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, is "pain pushes until the vision pulls."

Both routes can get the job done, but the latter feels so. much. better!

If you've got a deadline and tell yourself it's time to kick into gear and you've simply got to make it happen, time to buckle down, no rest till the job is done and things are will most likely get it done, and well at that. But you'll also put yourself through significant unnecessary stress in the process.

Alternatively, if you can shift your focus to what you want out of the experience and the outcome, the whole shebang becomes more pleasant (and even fun!). Since most of the time will be spent in the process, you might as well enjoy it, right?



I know this can sound like one of those "easier said than done" situations. But I promise you it doesn't have to be.

Here's an example from my own life, this morning: 

I'm getting ready to do a 15-minute presentation for a business networking group tomorrow morning, and noticed myself feeling nervous about it. It can be so tempting to build things up in our minds and turn them into much bigger deals. But if you can avoid that temptation, you'll also avoid unnecessary drama.

Step 1: catch your thoughts before they get too out of control. In this case, I became aware of some thoughts around wanting my presentation to be perfect yet simultaneously knowing that was impossible. These two thoughts were at odds with each other and were creating stress, which resulted in me putting off the task of actually finishing my presentation. 

Fortunately, I caught these thoughts before they could take too much of a toll on me. I went through the process I've outlined below, and completely turned around how I'm feeling about presenting tomorrow. There are still a few nerves, sure, but I honestly feel world's better than I did when I woke up. 

I've shared all of my responses next to each question so you can see how I've worked with the process. 



1) What judgments are you already forming around your performance? (I need to do a good job otherwise I'll look/be unprofessional)

2) What are the facts of the situation? (This is a 15-minute presentation to a small group of people I already know)

3) How would you like to show up? (Confident, in my power, excited to share)

4) What's at least one thought (that feels true to you) that will support you in showing up that way? (I really like this group of people, they are so open and welcoming and will be an amazing audience; this will be great practice for my next workshop; this isn't a big deal at the end of the day, and there is absolutely nothing at stake; I love talking about coaching, and here's a chance to do just that!)

It really can be that quick. The key is coming up with answers for #4 that genuinely feel true to you vs. forcing yourself to feel a certain way. In this case, a thought that would've felt forced for me is "I have absolutely zero nerves about tomorrow's presentation!" It feels much more authentic for me to consider my thought of "there is nothing at stake." That feels true. That feels realistic. I can roll with that.

I hope you find this post helpful! I went through a similar process with an incredible new client of mine this week, and I loved witnessing how quickly she was able to shift out of a place of pressure into one of inspiration. 

Doing so doesn't have to be a long, arduous process. Things can genuinely shift in a matter of minutes.

All it takes is a willingness to explore another way, and an openness to trying it. And trust me when I say: the other way feels much, much better!


To a better way,