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Pressuring Yourself Doesn’t Give You Better Results

Do you have things that come up that you dread and send you into a shame spiral of anticipatory stress?

Like a coding challenge, an interview, talking to a new recruiter?

Situations where you can easily make it about your worth, how smart you are, whether you know enough, and wonder what other people will think about you?

And then something else comes up to throw a wrench in your plans and then you’re even more exhausted because you spend all your time waiting for this meeting and worrying about how to white-knuckle through it before it even happens?

What if I told you that you could show up how you want to in any situation? 


It’s true.

A coding challenge interview used to send me into a spiral of procrastination and shaming myself until the last minute and then panic work, not really getting anything done because I am furiously Google searching through tears while eating cookie dough the night before it’s due, stay up until 2am even though it said three hours max and then be tired the next day.

AND THEN would beat myself up about it to top it all off after I got it done.

I am here to tell you that you don’t have to do any of that. Well you can do all that if you want, but I don’t think it will be helpful. I want to share with you the secret to managing any thoughts that come up in situations where you have to show up and perform. 

And how to take care of yourself so you feel confident, even if you don’t know all the details. 

And how to manage your stress and anxiety so you have the full capacity to show up how you want to. 

Practicing the thoughts you WANT to think ahead of time before you have to do the thing will help you show up in a space where you are able to take information in to produce a result you want or like.


When we are in panic mode, we are no longer thinking with our prefrontal cortex, we are thinking in fight or flight. Being in the space where our sympathetic nervous system is activated doesn’t allow us to access our memory in the same way as when our parasympathetic nervous does (rest & digest). Soothing your nervous system by reminding yourself with a grounding thought like “You’re going to be okay no matter what” or “I can do this to the best of my abilities” will help keep you in that calm space to perform closer to the way you actually want to. 

Practicing what you want to think about your abilities to complete your event also helps prove to yourself that you can do things even if nervousness or anxiety shows up. You are your own personal coach. Would you want to continue to play for a coach who is checking in on you every minute of every hour, stressing about the thing, and threatening you that you better do well or else? No! So why do it to yourself? 

And keeping yourself calm during these times and NOT shaming yourself before or after will make an experience that feels good to have and one you can learn from because you are accessing the part of your brain that controls your memory. It maybe even would make you want to try the thing again because you show yourself compassion and have your own back no matter how you do.

Bottom line here is that if you are going to do a thing either way, wouldn’t you want to intentionally choose to be nice to yourself and have a great experience? Yes, of course!


Question prompts for the day. Does this sound like you? Let me know what you think! 

  • How often do you pressure yourself to do well? 
  • How many of those things do you remember where you pressured yourself? 
  • How many of the things where you had fun doing something do you remember? 
  • What kind of emotion did it create when pressuring yourself? 
  • Which one had better outcomes? 
  • Which one do you want more of? 
  • How could you get more of that?

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