We’ve likely all faced circumstances within our working lives that have, by default, put us under some degree of pressure. Moments we were pressed for time, presented with a difficult task, or stressed and spread thin. Perhaps alternatively, you can recall a time wherein you rose to the occasion under considerable pressure, and emerged even stronger than before.
Have you ever stopped to consider how you function under pressure? Do you feel it’s something you do well, or does the hypothetical alone make you nervous? Why?
Responses to Pressure
What can generally be agreed on is that the situations you find yourself in when under pressure are typically outside your realm of control. Unforeseen circumstances and hiccups are just part of life and business. How you respond to those situations determines your comfortability and relationship with stress and pressure, but like anything else, these things are malleable.
Here’s the truth: being an entrepreneur, freelancer, or business owner is hard. Naturally, it’s a unique kind of pressure: to deliver consistently, stay fresh and relevant, maintain important relationships, and execute, day in and day out. That’s a tall order. Not to mention, ever-changing.
Changing Our View of Pressure
But we believe in pursuing (and maybe even restoring) a healthy mentality towards pressure. Generally, this boils down to finding what you know works well for you during those difficult — and often teachable — moments. Here’s our take:
- Recognize the quality and uniqueness of what you have to offer. This applies to you as an individual, your team (if you have one), and your business model/approach. If you put your blood, sweat, and tears into your livelihood, you have every right to stand behind it when the going gets tough.
- Exercise an active willingness to learn more about yourself and your working style. Once you make sense of that, you will come to better understand how you handle pressure and ways to make it work in your favor.
- Know in your core that you are equipped to get the job done. This is not blind optimism; it’s knowing your work ethic and being confident in your ability to perform while delivering your desired result.
- Working well under pressure is advantageous for professional relationships and your reputation, and doesn’t always have to be so serious. Proving to a client that you can deliver projects consistently, cleanly, and on time forms the basis of your reputation and rapport with them. Maintaining a high level of professionalism is of paramount importance.
- Realistically, things just won’t be breezy all the time, and curveballs are always a possibility. That’s okay. Learning experiences are often disguised as pressure-filled moments. Embrace them.
- And lastly, food for thought: Sometimes we put the most pressure on ourselves. On the whole, this likely stems from the (very normal) desire to succeed. Just remember to give yourself grace as you navigate the process, and always give 100%.
Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
Working well under pressure doesn’t have a single definition, and applies to many different situations. In entrepreneurship, especially, getting comfortable with the presence of struggle, pressure, and stress is healthy and wise. Knowing how you operate within these moments and ensuring balance, effort, positivity and perspective are always at the forefront of what you do will organically contribute to your growth and strength as a business owner, creative, and human being.