I have been doing a lot of introspective thinking lately and am currently trying to work on Self-Acceptance. This is quite a tall order as I am incredibly hard on myself – so the notion of accepting myself with all my faults and flaws is somewhat mind-boggling. When thinking about these various faults and flaws, I have discovered that one of the things that annoys me most about myself is the fact that I’m petrified of pressure – to this end I have diagnosed myself as having ‘Pressure-Phobia.’
Throughout my 36 years on this planet I have never had a problem setting myself high standards and doing the hard yards required to achieve them – I just seem to struggle with the final piece of the success puzzle: Follow-through.
When I was younger I did Jazz Ballet. I worked my way up the grades, went in competitions and danced for fun. I was actually pretty good too. However, upon finishing my Pre-Elementary Grade and being presented with the award for my year – I quit! Yes, quit! And why? Because I had heard a rumour that in order to pass Elementary you had to do the full splits. Uh oh … pressure! The fact of the matter was, I was only about an inch away from the full splits and it would have been easy with a bit of practice. But, no add a bit of pressure and expectation and I sprint the other way!
Later on, when I was at University completing my Bachelor of Communications degree, we were set an assignment to complete a radio interview. The person with the best interview would then get the opportunity to air it live on a local radio station. Given that I was studying in NZ’s most populated city, Auckland, this was quite a big deal.
So, I set my mind to it and interviewed a young girl competing in triathlons. As part of the interview I got a fantastic quote where she explained that when she needed to relief herself during a race she would either use a bottle type contraption hooked up to a hose, or just pee her pants! It was golden!
To this end, I was picked to air my interview on the radio – but guess what? I didn’t show up! That’s right … I made some lame arse excuse about it being too early and not being able to catch a bus! Another example of a missed opportunity because of pressure and expectation.
So what is this Pressure-Phobia all about? Maybe it’s fear of failure? Maybe I don’t think I deserve the reward? I’m not sure. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with confidence. I have always had oodles of confidence and growing up I am sure there were many occasions I embarrassed my friends with my extroverted behaviour. My friends would say I had ‘no shame’ which was in fact quite true, and started from a young age.
To the left you will see a photo of me dressed up as the “Easter Bunny” just before I ‘hopped’ around the neighbourhood delivering Easter eggs!
I was never worried about getting out there and wearing whatever was required to get the job done … the show must go on, as they say!
I was not only confident, in fact I was quite the diva!
So, the homework I set myself for the remainder of 2013 is to stop freaking out every time a wee bit of pressure comes my way – as it may lead to great things!
How do you handle pressure? Are you a fellow sufferer or do you take it all in your stride?