Have you recently been in a situation where you feel so much pressure?
Sometimes we cannot avoid stressful situations – especially when we have responsibilities or someone’s expectations. When we don’t want to or can’t fail – sometimes we feel like we are not even allowed to fail – we get nervous and start thinking about all the what-ifs.
“What if things didn’t work out as planned and I failed so badly?”
“What if I couldn’t make people happy?”
“What if I couldn’t make anyone satisfied?”
“What if I ended up embarrassing myself?”
Those worries will make you feel nervous, uncomfortable, and stressed – and these feelings can eat you up – even just giving these examples makes me a little stressed right now – and can be the very reason you actually fail.
How do you deal with pressure in such situations? How can we stay calm and get the best possible result?
I recently learned that the way I always tried to avoid panicking under pressure was not just unhelpful but also even accelerating my stress. It turns out that the most effective magic words I can tell myself in such situations were something a little unexpected – which is;
“Everything will be okay, because I’m not alone.”
When I’m feeling pressure, I used to tell me things like this:
“I can do this!” “I’ve been working really hard, so I’m ready!” “I should believe in myself.”
All of these may be true, and I still think believing these things is very important to get through challenges. However, if I tell myself these words too much, that makes me feel even more overwhelmed and intimidated.
That is because, I think, these words can lead me to focus on myself, and the past, or the future. I start to think about how hard I’ve been working on, then I start wondering if it was enough (even if it was), and I also be obsessed with thinking about the possible result and how my future can change depending on the result. This is dangerous, because I become completely blind to now.
Focusing on me, the past, and the future can make me blind to what is going on right at the moment, both inside of me, and around me. But when someone has to perform at the full potential and get the best possible result, it’s crucial to pay attention to what is happening right now.
So in order to calm down and focus on now, I try to think more about other people around me – like, “We can handle this, because we are in this together.”
I cannot do much on my own. What and how much I can do alone is very limited.
I could be an interesting person or be good at something at some level, but I can never compete with how inspiring, exciting, fun, beautiful, and special we – people around me and I – can be as a group, when we are working together.
That’s why we all need other people to get through whatever we are facing. And when we are not alone, everything will be fine.
Even though it’s probably the last thing you want, sometimes things don’t work out the way you expected. You might fail. You might make mistakes. To deal with that fear, it is not bad to think “Even if I screw up, they will have my back.” “Even if I could not do that perfectly, we’re gonna figure things out because our team is great.”
I am not saying that it is nothing to fail, or you can blame others when things do not work out. But knowing that it will be okay because there are people around you who you can rely on when it’s necessary, can be very helpful and effective to release your stress or nervousness, and to focus on what is really important.
If you are a perfectionist, or if you are so responsible that you believe you have to control everything – in other words, if you have a tendency to be control freakish (I used to do, and I still do sometimes) – try to think more about other people you are working with. Remember how cool they are. Remember what you like about them. That will probably help you to relax. Once you choose to trust other people, you are going to be less blind to the present, and start to see things more clearly.
What you think “perfect” or “ideal” may be amazing. But the fact that a group of people – with differences, maybe with various strong and weak points – are working together on one thing, can possibly be an even more beautiful and exciting thing. That might touch someone’s heart even more than your original plan could do. May be even your heart, too.
But sometimes we have something we have to do alone, something nobody cannot be there to help you, right? Even in such situations, you can tell yourself “Everything will be okay, because I’m not alone.”
Because you have someone who wishes your happiness and success. You have someone who is also fighting their own battle just like you are right now. You have someone who loves you and cares about you. You also have someone who helped you when you were facing a hard time, somewhere on your journey until today.
They are there for you. Even if they cannot physically be there to directly help you, what they gave you, taught you, experienced with you, are within what you have right now. Small things they gave you are already some part of you – so you are not completely alone in this.
Thinking about people you love can be a great way to relax, to see things positively – well, at least for me.
You do not need anyone’s permission to feel grateful about someone. You do not need anyone’s confirmation to feel that what other people gave you is now helping you and giving you energy.
When I’m under pressure, I always – without their permission – think about my friends and family. Because I know they are also on their stage right no, trying to do their best performance. Because I know they wish my happiness and success. Then I can feel I am not alone doing this, and I can feel as if they are here and cheering me up.
Sometimes you may find someone who believes as if the world is a competition. Someone believes that the world is all about how much you can get and how less others can, or vise versa. There seems to be people who believe as if happiness, luck, peace, and love are something limited, so people have to fight to get them.
But I think that is not true. We do not have to keep the balance between good things and bad things. There is no such things like the balance between positive things and negative things.
Good things can happen as many as possible, and bad things do not necessarily have to happen to balance. Good things do not need to be compensated by bad things.
Let’s imagine that we are all trying together to make good things happen as much as possible in the world. If that is the case, if good things happen to someone, you will be happy too. If someone succeed, you can be excited about that, too.
If we are working together to maximize the positivity so that we are not going to be caught up with our own weakness, negative feelings, or anything dark – no matter how lonely you may think you are right now, that is not true. You always have people who have your back.
This whole thing may sound very optimistic, but this idea helps me so much to relax, stay calm and positive, when I am really nervous. Even when I feel like I am about to crush under the pressure, as soon as I think about my friends and family, and remember that they are always with me so I am not alone in this, then I can be less blind and focus on what is really going on, what is really important to make the most of the situation.
Of course everyone has different values. For some of you, focusing on yourself might be the most effective way to reach your full potential under stressful situations. But at least for me, “I can do this!” or “Believe in yourself!” can be ironically distractive. I have just learned this very recently, so I wanted to share this with you. If you can relate, try this and let me know if it worked.
Everything will be okay, because I’m not alone, thanks to you. And you are not alone either. Because I’m here, writing this blog post – hoping that it could be a tiny reason of a good thing happens to you.