Unless we have had lady luck shining upon us all our lives, we all experience jobs with high pressure at some point in our work life. When the workload comes crashing on us and when we encounter unrealistic deadlines, we all go through times when fear kicks in and our fight or flight response gets activated.
The main reason for this nerve-wracking pressure cooker situation is that we’re doing jobs that simply don’t align with us. Yes, sometimes we need to do them on the short term in order to ‘survive’, but in the long term, we need to have a goal of thriving, and thriving well. High pressure jobs with misaligned work where our talents are not used and appreciated deteriorate us and bring us down. The lack of meaning and satisfaction in our jobs never stop bothering us as we live our everyday life.
On the other hand, when we do work that aligns us and enriches our life with meaning and fulfillment, high pressure situations don’t eat us up. We experience a ‘sweet pressure’ that takes us forward. We are still working harder albeit without getting into a victim mentality and without any complaints. Hectic situations and reaching deadlines may disrupt our work-life balance occasionally, but we position ourselves better in terms of work-life integration.
When we work harder and climb the ladder leaning against the right wall, metaphorically speaking, we end up working smarter as well. We have meaningful intentions fueling our actions; we feel liberated even when we work harder instead of feeling caged. We are more in command of our work and our life and this causes a ripple effect in other areas of our lives, where our honesty, integrity and our passion spill as well.
Sweet pressure is about experiencing stress in a good way that helps us move forward, while bitter pressure comes with doing work that we’re motivated to do, not inspired to do. Bitter pressure is about letting misdirected stress and distress affect us.
Sweet pressure is fueled by enthusiasm, growth and achievement, while bitter pressure is thrust upon us and the work is done because of obligation, not genuine involvement.
We need to strive to find work where we have the freedom to choose the things that anchor us, as paradoxical as it may sound. Sweet pressure, when coupled with alignment and intention, helps us cultivate personal and professional mastery and makes our life better overall. It’s a win-win situation and not a win-lose one.