Whether you work for yourself on a full-time basis, or you've got a side hustle going when you're not at your day job, staying productive isn't always easy.
Sure, there are days when inspiration comes down like a lightning bolt. But the muses may not always smile upon you. Sometimes your well of creativity runs dry, or you just don't feel up to getting much of anything done.
But a lot of the time, the reason you're feeling paralyzed is that you're pinned down under way too much self-imposed pressure.
We all have high standards for ourselves. We want to work harder, be more successful, and accomplish things we can be proud of. Nothing good in life comes without hard work and dedication, and sometimes, we have to push ourselves to get there.
But at the same time, you shouldn't put a ton of pressure on yourself in a negative way. That's how you end up getting performance anxiety.
Performance anxiety is something most people associate with “stage fright,” but it's not exclusive to public speaking by any means. Fear of failure is your worst enemy. It's a surefire way to make sure you never reach your full potential.
No matter how terrified you are of falling flat on your face, sometimes it's worth it to push on through and get stuff done anyway.
In a recent article from Entrepreneur, MillennialSuccess.io founder Dan Dowling shares his story of how he broke the chains of self-imposed pressure, freeing the creativity that his fear had stifled.
My pressure epiphany.
I had freelance clients, my own website and different publications to write for every day. I didn’t think about the pressure, but it was there, smothering my creativity and begging me to take a break. The burnout got so bad that I resorted to drastic steps just to function.
I started meditating for 30 minutes before I wrote. When my fingers started crusting over, I’d sprint for a block to shake up my brain. After I sprinted three miles in a day just to write two paragraphs, I knew I couldn’t continue.
And I fixed my problems with one seemingly lazy decision:
I let myself off the hook. And before I knew it, I had caught two huge fish. And you’re reading reading the second one right now.
After I wrote my first article, I was blown away by what a simple adjustment had done for my creativity.
And I had this epiphany: Performance is about pressure.
You need it to perform, because nothing happens in a vacuum. But too much pressure will flatten you out. That’s when I wrote my second unplanned article of the day and shook off the work-blues that had haunted me for so long.
Next time you get bogged down at work, take a step back and ask yourself where the pressure is coming from. Then, give yourself a free pass. If you have to do work, don’t do as much.
Just make sure to relax. Free your mind completely from the big responsibilities that made you feel overwhelmed.
Then, like clockwork, you’ll feel your pressure gauges fall back into a normal range. As the pressure hits a healthy zone, your inspiration will skyrocket, along with your enthusiasm for your work.
Pressure is central to performance, but there's a fine line between pushing yourself in a positive way, and holding yourself back with impossible standards. Sometimes, a simple frame shift in the mindset with which you approach your work can make a huge difference in what you can achieve.
You can read more over at Entrepreneur.
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