Is the Pressure Making You Think About Quitting? Try These 3 Easy Steps First – Via Abolencia

As people of color, immigrants, and children of immigrants, the fear of not being successful is always there.

There’s knowing we have to work twice as hard to get half as far.

There’s the pressure to prove ourselves in spaces where we might be the only one who looks like us.

There’s an internal commitment to give back to our families and communities through our success.

It feels like we can’t take breaks, and it’s almost as if we don’t know how to be ourselves without high standards.

But what do you do when all of that pressure becomes too much?

It’s normal for us to put pressure on ourselves to do well, but there is a tipping point where that pressure can lead to unhealthy self-criticism. In those moments, here are 3 simple tips to get you grounded:


Tip 1: Externalize the pressure

A few years ago, a friend of mine was looking for a job. After months of searching, he finally got an interview as a concierge at a high-end salt therapy spa in Manhattan (salt therapy – look it up, it’s a thing).

He made it to the final round of interviews, got great feedback from the hiring manager, and felt confident it was a done deal.

Next day – no word from the hiring manager. One week later – crickets.

When I asked him how he felt while waiting, he responded with something that let me know no matter what, he had the type of mindset that would make him successful in dealing with the pressures of his job search.  

He said, “I don’t understand why they’re making me wait so long. Did their store burn down?”

Let’s dissect why this response is so significant.

Most people would have responded by freaking out about not getting a call-back. “Did I answer everything correctly?” “Did they like me?” “Should I have worn something different?”

But instead of internalizing the situation, he externalized it: I don’t understand why they’re making me wait (because I interviewed great). Did they (because of course, something has to be terribly wrong) burn down?

This is a powerful mental shift.

When you know you’ve brought your A-game, when you know you’ve prepared and done the best you possibly can, hold on to that. Just because there’s a little uncertainty doesn’t mean you get to discredit how hard you’ve worked.


Tip 2: Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect

One of the best pieces of advice I received from a mentor while working on a high-pressure project was, “It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

It’s one of those things I need to hear from someone else every once in a while. If you are waiting for someone to give you permission to also not be perfect, then I’m telling you right now. Go forth, and be imperfect! Just get it done!

Nothing is ever perfect, but there are many things that sometimes just need to get done. You can beat your perfectionist tendencies by being OK with “good enough.”

How can you tell if something is “good enough”? Simple – write down what’s good enough for you. You can do this on the back of a napkin, or if you’re like me, in a chart.

Project 3 things I need for my project to be “good enough” Do I have my 3 things?
Client quarterly report 1. Include individual team member quarterly summaries

2. Data points to explain any missed targets

3. Reviewed by senior management


Awesome – this project is “good enough”!

Plan mom’s birthday party 1. Invite guests

2. Order food

3. Pick up present

No, missing a present

Oh no, go and get that. But you’re one step away!

Daily self-care routine 1. Showered

2. Drank 2L of water

3. Ate a vegetable today


Woohoo! Consider this complete.

When you start something, it’s likely that it won’t come out perfect the first time. Once you put your “good enough” effort out there, you can always go back and make tweaks, or learn something about how to improve the next time.

Everything is an iterative process. Focus less on the pressure to make everything perfect, and more on continuous improvement.


Tip 3: Organize YOUR priorities

I once heard someone say, “I have a big fear of disappointing others, but not myself.”

I know that this feeling is true for many people. But if you are always living in fear of disappointing others but have no standards for yourself, it means you are constantly in a reactive state while trying to meet the expectations of other people.

If this is how your priorities are structured, you will never find relief and you’ll always be zigzagging around in different directions instead of making a beeline for your goals.

The only way to feel less pressure from this is to be clear on your own priorities. This way, if anything else comes up, you will be clearer on what to say yes to or what to say no to.

Via Abolencia is a writer at Dealing with pressure is stressful, and if you’re not careful it can quickly lead to burnout and jeopardize your goals. If you want to accomplish your goals faster with your head held high, get the “How to Avoid Burnout” exercise that will help you de-stress immediately and focus on what matters most:


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