Pressure is a part of normal life. We may intentionally or unintentionally put pressure on ourselves to help us get more done, to be more efficient. We may even tell ourselves that we operate BEST when we’re under pressure (insert a David Bowie snap/clap here). But pressure, although effective as a short-term motivator, should not be used as a long-term strategy. Ignoring the pressure you feel creates stress, and stress left unchecked can create very real physical symptoms in your body.

Major sources of pressure can come from work, perform, complete projects, and “get ahead,” but they also come from home, responsibilities you have, or a personal crisis, like an illness, divorce, or death of a loved one. But you are ONE person, so what happens to you personally affects you professionally and vice versa.

What you need to know is pressure is something that we feel. Although it is usually in response to something we perceive as external to us, our internal reaction to the external event creates the feeling of pressure. Long story short, we create it. It is our own reaction that causes us to feel the pressure.

As high-performing, over-achieving, let’s get this done! kind of women, we are exceptional at putting pressure on ourselves. But what do you do when that pressure is harming you more than it’s motivating you? Here is a super simple tip to help you cope with pressure both at work and home!

Listen to your language. Yep, that’s it. Notice I said simple when I described it, but it’s not necessarily easy, and in this case, practice makes it permanent!

Language doesn’t only refer to what you speak, though. In my studies in NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), I came to understand how what we think ties to what we feel and, therefore, to what we do. The language of our mind is our thoughts, and that language creates or destroys our results.

Here’s a technique you can use to do this. Catch it, Challenge it, Change it. 

Catch It. Anytime you catch yourself using language (whether in spoken or in thoughts) and you catch yourself saying, “I NEED to” or “I SHOULD” or even “I HAVE to,” that’s a win because no change can happen unless you’re first aware of what needs to change. This kind of language puts pressure on you by implying that whatever it’s referring to is absolutely necessary.

That’s where the next piece comes in. Challenge it. Challenge this language. Is it really necessary? Must it absolutely be done? Right now? No exceptions? As humans, we can use all or nothing language and generalize what we are speaking about. But is it, in fact, true? Challenge this thinking, dig into it and get the facts and only the facts, Ma’am. (Columbo, anyone?)

Finally, you Change it. Consider changing or reframing your language to something that is more accurate or feels better. Here’s what I mean.

Instead of I have to, consider I get to.

Instead of I need to, consider I want to.

And for the sake of all that’s good, please quit using SHOULD. Nothing puts more pressure on us more than using this word in our everyday language.

Now that you have taken in this information in you will start catching yourself and your language. I’d love to know when this language pops up in your world the most. Is it personally or professionally and around what specifically? Please hit reply or leave a comment below and share with me!

Until next time, here’s wishing you the Clarity you deserve. Be good to yourself!