Handling pressure

The theme of the day conference was ‘Surviving Job Pressure’.

Assembled were IT consultants, doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, HR managers and many others.

They had an ‘Inspirational Speaker’ giving them tips… and one of the tips was this:

‘Act as if…’

When at work, act as if it’s going well…act as if you’re confident…act as if that person didn’t just say something that upset you.

And people found this helpful.

There are dangers with this advice; the same dangers that cluster around all ‘positive thinking’ messages. If our working life is simply pretending things are great when they’re not, then something will have to give.

A plaster does not stop the flood; nor a happy face make good an unhappy soul. 

We need to deal honestly with things when they are not well; and a cheery mask of pretence really isn’t dealing with them.

Our smile will not reach our eyes.

But where this advice is strong is in encouraging us away from negativity or collapse under pressure; in the invitation to reach for a bigger/calmer/truer/more magnificent place inside us.

Pressure affects us in different ways.

It might make us turn in on ourselves in blame or maybe on another; perhaps the pressure is making us anxious as to what others think or about how things will work out.

Perhaps it’s making control freaks of us.

In our different ways, we can be overwhelmed.

But if we take ten deep breaths and live the moment as if things are OK, as if this too shall pass, as if there is nothing here to fear, as if you really do have worth, as if no flames of circumstance can harm you, as if you really are strong…

…then our speaker has a very good point.

For all these things are true.

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