Putting Pressure on Myself

Published in Personal / Wellbeing / Diet and Fitness - 3 mins to read

I have always put a huge amount of pressure on myself, in pretty much everything I spend my time doing. At work I not only strive to have the deepest technical knowledge, but also to have the most comprehensive understanding of our product & roadmap, and to be the most effective communicator. I want to achieve as much as possible in my team, whilst also having an impact across other teams, mentoring and being part of the wider company community.

It’s bad, I know it’s bad, therapists and friends alike have been telling me it’s bad for years. But recently, as we’ve been coming out of lockdown, it hit home for me a little bit quite how big an impact it was having, and the necessity of working to change it (but not putting pressure on myself to work to change it 🙃). When I go climbing, something I’ve not had much of a chance to do recently, I expect myself to perform well every single time; I want to send difficult routes quickly if not first go, I want to see myself making progress, I want to be better than my friends. Ultimately, this means I spend a lot of time not necessarily enjoying climbing, even though when I can manage to let all that stuff go (or when I’m actually managing to achieve it), it’s something I love doing. During lockdown I started running a lot more, and there the pressure is very different - I know that ~90% of my weekly mileage has to be easy, slow running. I never put any pressure on myself to achieve a certain pace or a certain time, if anything I try to encourage myself to be slower and then am inwardly pleased that I can’t manage that. There is some expectation that I meet my distance goal for the day or for the week, but that’s well within me, I know I can always grind out some slow ks, or walk if needs be.

I’m an obsessive person, often to the point of obnoxiousness, and running is what I’m obsessed with right now. I also know that nobody wants to read me talking about running, which is why I’m trying to do this whole tie-it-in-with-mental-health schtick. I would love to be able to transfer my mindset about running, that of slow and steady wins the race, to other things; climbing, weight loss, career, mental health. Once again, it’s going to be a tough habit to break, but at least now I have a glimpse of what it feels like to not be quite so hard on myself.