One of my biggest worries is quitting. I despise quitters who don’t see things through to the end. And because I despise quitters, I’ll end up despising myself if I were to be so cowardly. Yet, I worry because I see the temptation of quitting as soon as things aren’t going my way.
Pressure is such an amorphous, self-induced concept that just crushes people’s spirits. You start thinking when you’re up 5-4 in the 3rd set to close out the match, what if you double fault? As soon as doubt enters your mind, you tense up and lose. Letting leads slip away is heartbreaking and I’ve done that one too many times before.
Working on projects is equally daunting. I sometimes wonder about the sustainability of the Yakezie Network and which direction I should take it. Am I doing enough, or not enough? Should I spend even more money? Then I realize, with the way things are set up with the auto feeds, interactive forums, and the level of enthusiasm by many of the members, the Network will probably sustain itself for a very long time. I’ve just got to keep on paying the bills at the minimum, and give everything I’ve got at the maximum. Now lets go over three steps that will help you handle pressure.
KEYS TO NOT CRUMBLING UNDER PRESSURE: THE THREE Ps
1) Preparation. Above all else, one needs to be prepared for the challenge ahead. Long before each tennis match, I’ve already put in the cardio and strength training to be in the best physical shape possible (for a working guy who blogs). Come game day, all I have to do is stretch and tape the ankles because I know that I’m physically prepared to go 2.5 hours. My strokes have become second nature, so the only thing that will beat me is my mind, or my player’s skills.
When we’re working on projects, we need to make contingency plans. Backing everything up on a daily or weekly basis is a great idea. Creating alternative channels for customers to contact you if your site goes down is another smart move. Sourcing from multiple suppliers hedges you from becoming a prisoner to one. You are so prepared that you have mapped out every scenario you can think of, and even the one that you don’t think of becomes addressable in a reasonable way.
2) Pace. Give yourself enough time to succeed so you’re happy with the end product. The race is only in your mind. Who says you’ve got only the weekend and not the month to finish? Only you. At the same time, it’s important to set deadlines to make sure you are on track. Identify a couple competitors who are your imaginary arch rivals. They will push you to at the very least keep up, and at the very most want to blow them out of the water.
It’s hard for me to understand blogging burnout because if you can speak forever, you can blog forever. Blogging is just putting thoughts down in a reasonably coherent way and pressing publish. If you feel tired, all you’ve got to do is not write! You’ve got a wealth of posts waiting to get discovered by search engines, and you can always re-highlight some of your favorites. There’s no need to shut the site down.
3) Prioritize. Write a list of things to do, and make sure you get the top 3 things on the list right. Doing too much at once puts an unnecessary burden on yourself. At any given moment, my to-do list is over 10 items long. However, I circle only 3 things that are most important and don’t work on anything else until those 3 things are crossed out.
If you never write down things you need to do, you will get stressed out because your mind can’t relax. Instead of worrying about what you need to do, you start worrying about whether you’ve forgotten to do something! Always write things down, that way, you can see as plain as day what must be done to stay focused.
DON’T CRUMBLE LIKE COFFEE CAKE AND STAY FOCUSED
Use the Three P’s to handle pressure. You don’t have to quit if things get too hard. It’s better to just take a break and reassess the direction you’re taking. It’s such a shame that due to fear of failure some never bother to take on projects or finish. Pressure is evil if you let it be. My biggest fear is less so about failure and more so about not trying my best. I never want to wonder “what if” due to a lack of effort. I’d rather fail miserably than never try at all.
Readers, what are some of the things you do to deal with pressure? How do you make sure you don’t give up completely?