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Long Haul Pressure: Can Pressure Be a Good Thing?

Feb 24, 2022

Often, we think about pressure as existing in moments of high intensity—the pressure to save a life in the ER, to pass the bar exam, or to score the decisive point in the last seconds of a game.

Pressure, however, can exist over an extended period time as months of grueling athletic training or the protracted effort required to build a business.

How can we handle sustained pressure without losing focus, nearing exhaustion or succumbing to a sense of futility about one’s goals?

While I’ve encountered various prescriptions for avoiding burn-out, or making stress work for you, I found Dane Jensen’s perspective on the “problem” of pressure intriguing.

Jensen proposes idea that pressure is potentially a “solution;” actually, a form of energy or fuel, and that one’s mind-set is what matters most.

Under “long haul” pressure, we need to get in touch with the “why,” the “purpose-driven stuff.” We need to ask, what’s truly at stake?

In an article that contains an excerpt from Jensen’s book “The Power of Pressure,” he states that it is “…possible to not just endure these periods but actually become committed to navigating them as meaningful challenges we can rise to….[and] deep down we can feel a sense of pride in our resilience, confident that we can handle whatever life throws at us….”

The long haul, with its multiple professional and personal pressures, may not be as comfortable as we would like, but it can be a meaningful experience, a source of self-respect and confidence.

We need to be in touch with our passion, our over-arching intention, as well as the will to persevere and the capacity to know when we are low on fuel and need a moment to breathe.

Read the full excerpt of Dane Jensen’s book here: