Desire, Drive, Motivation, Inspiration… these are all 100% necessary in order to reach our goals, to follow our purpose, and to allow our passions to flourish.
Sometimes, these things bring a friend along for the ride…pressure. Pressure can be a good thing, but in excess it can be an enormous anchor. In our attempts to improve our lives, to follow our dreams (or to create them as we go along), we can, and undoubtedly will, experience enormous pressure. Pressure from outside sources either saying what we are doing is a waste of time, or saying it is imperative we do it…but by next Tuesday. We will have pressures from our current jobs, our families, our coaching duties, our friends, our enemies. Pressure is all around us.
However, the largest source of pressure comes from within ourselves. If you conduct an internet search for “Pressure Quotes,” you will get an enormous amount of results. Line after line of how athletes rise above the pressure, how pressure forged their career through the pressure, etc. It is truly admirable to look into these histories. The problem is that when we place this enormous pressure on ourselves to succeed in whatever it is we are doing, and to succeed NOW, we are sabotaging our progress. The true success stories come from those who realize there is always pressure externally, yet find their motivation to do what it takes to achieve victory internally.
We look at the pressure of winning the Super Bowl and how these amazing athletes handle it, but we forget the motivation they had as high schoolers to hit the weights, to train, to practice, to prepare. We discuss the pressure of the final floor routine in the Olympics, but we neglect to remember the motivation the gymnast had to increase their flexibility on a daily basis, to eat right, to exercise. The pressure isn’t at the finish line, that is only the culmination, the true pressure is in the preparation.
I think we put such pressure on “achieving” that we lose track of what it takes to just be in the right place for the finish line to appear. The weight of ultimate victory has crippled an innumerable amount of people along the way. What if we look at it differently? What if we decided the journey was really THE pinnacle of what we are doing. Our why cannot be tied just to the gold medal or creating the best invention ever – If we look at those as our ultimate goals, we realize our TRUE goal is in becoming worthy of attaining these things, and the only way we become worthy is by accepting the pressure, by allowing it to help mold us and not destroy us.
Love the “struggle,” embrace the preparation, one step after another, one day and then another, rather than staring at the imaginary finish line. Because, if we are truly honest, staring at the finish line too hard is another excuse to not work on the little things that we need to improve upon today.