This year has undoubtedly been one with so many ups and downs. To some extent, it has rewarded the habits of highly effective people – such as discipline. In the same vein, it has not hesitated to make us all understand that the race is still not to the swift.
Can we talk a little bit about how we started the year 2020? As of November 2019, there was a lot of buzz about the year 2020 – how it was a new year and the start of a new decade. Then the buzz was accompanied by different prophecies and preparations. The vision board sessions, conferences, seminars, and many gatherings of how-tos in 2020.
The year came and swept us all off our feet. The pandemic, and continuous occurrence of social injustice, made apparent some flawed values we have unknowingly embraced and institutionalised over the years. We have also seen our personal and corporate values tested. Phew! It has been a year!
Amidst all these, there is subtle pressure. The pressure to still make the year 2020 count for something. The need to measure and scale-up. The need to pursue our career goals and aspirations, regardless. The need to do things that would affirm that we are not failures, and neither is our year.
While I am an advocate for self-discipline, personal development, and excellence at wherever you are and whatever you do, I have come to realise that there’s a need to free ourselves of this self-imposed and external pressure. We must celebrate our little steps and victories. Little drops of water are what will make an ocean. Accuracy is also valued more than speed. And, by all means, accuracy in the small things. Making the steady but slow moments count will help us do great things. This period is giving us all the time to reflect and rejuvenate, so embrace it.
To effectively deal with this pressure, we must identify where they come from. Are they borne out of the knowledge gap caused by the fast-changing work environment? Or as a result of comparing your journey to another? Follow up by translating the identified source into value, use it to assess your progress, and take actions.
Do you feel pressured? These steps will help you manage it better:
Give yourself permission to accept where you are, even if it’s not where you want to be. Acceptance is saying you want to make the best of what you have without being lackadaisical. It is to choose to forge ahead with grit and grace.
No competition zone
One of the primary sources of pressure is competition. Understand that you are not competing with anyone. Your aim is to be better than you were yesterday. Life is in phases, embrace where you are now, and work on becoming better.
Identify what success is to you
You need to understand what success means to you if you must free yourself from the pressure that competition brings. Whilst you are identifying what success means to you, you must recognise what gives you fulfillment. Is it building a rich network? Supporting your family and friends? Or your contribution to social equity? Or becoming more visible at work?
Being focused is choosing what matters and needs to be done over what might be popular or trending. Stay in your lane and steadily do you.
Remember those things that seemed extraordinary to you years ago but seem ordinary now that you have them? Be grateful for them. Let those events keep you hopeful. Celebrate every win, albeit small.
So, how have you been dealing with pressure in these times?