Pressure Propels You Forward Or Crushes You


Pressure to find “the one”, pressure to pay the bills, pressure to keep up with your peers, pressure to do well in school, pressure to find happiness, pressure to be successful, pressure to publish your novel . . . pressure propels you forward or it crushes you.  Without pressure a steam engine won’t move, and yet, given too much pressure, it will explode.  The key to living with pressure is to evaluate it and regulate it.  I remember being young and wondering if I was ever going to find “the one.”   I wondered what was wrong with me, why were my friends finding the people they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with while I couldn’t seem to stay in love with the guys I dated.  Falling in love seemed pretty easy, staying in love was a different matter.  When your whole life is in front of you, there are so many pressures.  There is a pressure to find a career that will combine your passions and talents with the ability to support yourself.  There is the pressure to find what will make you “happy.”

Many years have passed since then, but pressure is still there, propelling me forward in life.  Now I have my novels and my blog, both which I enjoy writing immensely.  They give me a sense of feeling that I’ve found where I belong and I’ve found my way of contributing to the world.   At one time, I thought that I would have to publish my novels in order to do that.  But blogging has changed all of that.  It gets rid of all of the obstacles and hurdles that are between me and you, my readers.  It lets me affect change in the world in my tiny little ways without needing the approval of a publisher.  But there is still the pressure to publish my novels.

Life coaches will try to find out what gets you stuck in one place and then they will try to propel you forward.  But sometimes preparing and making sure that the time is right is just as important as moving forward.  An engine needs regular maintenance to continue working properly.  Sometimes you have to calculate a course correction.  Now that my first novel is finished, I feel the pressure to get it published so that you will be able to read it before you lose interest.  I need to balance my desire to get it to you with the reality of what work it takes for me to accomplish this in a way that will produce the best possible outcome.  Without the pressure to get it to you, it would never be published.  Instead, it would live and die in my head.  So the pressure serves a purpose.

I see many friends at this age, when their children are leaving the house and the focus of their lives are changing; they are feeling the pressure of time.  Life is passing quicker than it once was and they are searching for what will make them happy now.  Some are moving on, finding a second chance at love and happiness, while others are experiencing loss of their life companion through divorce or death.  They are re-evaluating and wondering what is next.  They have been pressured through life to this point, either they have accomplished what they thought was their life goals or they haven’t.  Maybe their children have been raised and they have attained success in their careers, but they are now floundering, trying to find their next goal.  Others have reached this point and have still not found their life partner, still have not found success and security and they are wondering how they will ever be able to find happiness now.  The pressure is on, it continues to propel us all forward.

Wherever you are in life, pressure is a companion in one form or another.  But what we don’t realize is that we are the ones who are maintaining this engine.  We can take care of it along the way, keep it well oiled, replace parts that aren’t working, and adjust the speed.  If you leave it to run on its own, it will run into a wall, explode or be crushed under the weight of it all.  So do the work, make sure you are ready for what comes next, prepare yourself and have realistic expectations while propelling yourself forward.  The worst thing you can do is give up and wallow in your lack of progress and perhaps even blame someone else for your own stagnation.   Author of The Tin Box Trilogy

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