First, understand that I’m not a psychologist or therapist. Second, I’m fully aware that your definition of “pressure” or “stress” may differ wildly from mine.
That said, I’ve lived a life filled with what could traditionally be defined as pressure — still living it — and I’m often asked how I deal with it.
The short answer? Don’t run from it, run to it.
I started out growing up in a pretty rough neighborhood. I was incredibly blessed to have had an amazing family, but the environment outside my home was no joke.
It was a daily discipline of avoiding a lot of things in order to merely stay alive. I’ll tell you right now, the pressures of playing professional basketball at the highest levels were no comparison to walking those streets to school every day.
And on the good side of things, there were always hard lessons to learn from the people I looked up to. For instance, I learned how to swim by being thrown in the water by my uncle. That’s how he learned to swim, and it worked!
I’ve been throwing myself in the water ever since.
I don’t know, maybe I have a natural leg up in this department, I’ve always performed better in pressurized moments, even in childhood. Maybe it’s just in my DNA, but I absolutely believe that anyone can learn to adapt to and overcome nearly any situation.
As I grew older, my basketball career came into view. There was college ball, the Final Four, the NBA, big games in the NBA, and the Olympic games, just to name a few stressful times!
During this period, I always wanted to get the very best out of myself, I wanted to push myself toward places that would force me to look back and say, “I didn’t know I could do that!”
And I have to say, my best decision-making on the court — and my best plays — have always come out of very high stakes situations.
I learned to lean into pressure, instead of being intimidated by it.
And with business and investing? It’s all the same, the pressures of growing up in a rough neighborhood, of getting to and staying in the NBA, I feel no different now than I did then. I’m almost numb to how enormous a problem might be, I only want to attack it until it’s resolved.
Though I’ve had many trials in life, I’ve never not known what it is to conquer, if I put my mind to something, I’m going to do it.
We’re seeing this same grit, tenacity, and resiliency in entrepreneurs during COVID. I talk to these men and women all the time, people who’ve lost everything, or nearly everything, and they’re getting back on their feet and diving in again … from pressure cooker to pressure cooker!
So many of these great people have a “bring it on, no retreat” attitude, and that’s what we need more of today.
So, how do you deal with serious pressure?
Obviously, I can’t give you a definitive answer, we’re all different people who deal with things in vastly different ways.
But allow me to offer you a few meditations that have, in one way or another, been part of my DNA since day one …
- Don’t run from pressure, run to it.
- Lean into the pressure, instead of being intimidated by it.
- The appearance of pressure or stress usually signifies that there’s something bigger on the horizon waiting for you.
- You’re not being destroyed, you’re being stretched, again and again.
- Bring it on, no retreat.
- We should seek out pressure in our lives.
- Getting too comfortable ultimately robs you of becoming who you want to be.
Now, that list may seem a bit counterintuitive to you, or maybe you’ve been taught the exact opposite in your life.
Either way, YOU have to decide how you’ll live from here on out.
Will you run away from the pressures of life? Or will you run toward them and — in facing them head on — change your life forever?
P.S. Have you subscribed to my podcast, Betting on Yourself? Every week, I talk to some of the most interesting people in the world about life, entrepreneurship, and making the best (and safest) bet in the world … on you! Click that link above and jump on my email list right now so you never miss an episode.