Pressure to Perform

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This happens to me pretty much every morning. Most of my days are usually quite productive though, but I never seem to get through ALL I would like to accomplish on any particular day. Some say that this is because I set ridiculous expectations of myself when it comes to ‘things I need to do’. I like to say that when it comes to what I do each day, I like to make every day a Norman Vincent Peale day! Every morning, with my first big, beautiful cup of coffee, I think about what I’d like to achieve. And although I accept the realities, I still list those many tasks. I shoot for the moon, and then every night I smile contentedly because I know I have at least landed among the stars! (Yes, my house has a roof and no, I don’t live in the sky 😛 )

Admittedly, a lot of these beautiful early morning coffee goals for the day end with me feeling something like this :

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This is partly because of all the running I do. No, not running as in exercise. I don’t run. I don’t even jog. So if you ever see me running, you should run too, because that means something is chasing me.

(I don’t know who originally came up with that quote, but according to the hyperlink it was Kristen Proby. It seems it was used in her book, and the name of the character who said it? Meg! Although that Meg is described as a sexy rocker chick 😛 but having the same name still makes it mighty coincidental 😉 )

By running, I actually mean driving around in my car for what I count as too many hours in my day, playing Mom’s Taxi. There’s the school run, and then there’s the extra curricular activities run. During the extra run, I usually end up hanging around in my car for a couple of hours. I live about 20 minutes away from where her activity takes place, but fuel (like everything else) is very expensive, and I don’t see the sense of driving back and forth in such a small time frame. My daughter is a dancer – she has been chosen three years in a row now to represent our country at World Champs. So I guess I’m a dance mom (just nothing like what you see on that show!) The joke in our studio is that we all ‘live in our cars’.
(We have a non-existent public transport system, and the little of it that exists is far too dangerous to even consider.)
So from the list, I usually select things that I can do from the discomfort of my car.

The reason I am telling you all of this (other than the fact that these were a collection of Facebook pictures I had liked and saved, and discovered and was amused at how they all kind of fit together?)…..

These days there seems to be a lot of pressure to perform. Whether it’s as complex as achieving some greatness and stature in our careers, or as simple as being a ‘better, closer to perfect’ parent, the stresses that come from this overwhelming pressure can be detrimental to our health.
The sad thing is that it is not only society or other individuals that put this pressure on us. We have a tendency to do it all by ourselves, to ourselves.
We push ourselves into overachiever mode, in an attempt to do more and be more. For me personally, this is related to the fact that I am often told I can’t, I won’t, I don’t.
And so there is this itch inside me that often causes an ‘overdrive’ scratch…. the results are usually less than desirable, and I wind up in a place that is nowhere near the achievement goal I had set out for myself.
I don’t go into overdrive as often as I used to, thank goodness.

I have learnt that my brain has limitations and that sleep is necessary. I can never be effective if I am dead on my feet.
I have learnt that it is sometimes necessary to take a step back when I am feeling stressed. To breathe deeply and think carefully. And use the energy that stress can create in a positive way – controlling the stress instead of allowing it to control me.
I have learnt that having a to-do list and planning ahead in certain circumstances does not make me a nerd, or detract from my spontaneity. Instead it prepares me and creates a better environment in which to perform.
I have learnt that sometimes acknowledging the small wins can open doors to greater things.
My biggest obstacle, I know, is to ask for help. When there is pressure to perform, the best thing you can do for yourself, is to ask for help (even if it’s just with menial tasks). For some silly reason (perhaps because I have always been the carer and helper, and it feels weird to ‘have the shoe on the other foot’) I struggle to reach out and ask others for any form of help. I really need to work on that!

I always end my night like this though, no matter how the day behind me unfolded….

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Are there any of these that you struggle with?