Feeling Pressure? Consider It a Privilege.

Pressure: The continuous physical force exerted on or against an object by something in contact with it.

My journey to this lesson began under the Arch at 6AM on a Friday morning. I was two days into an amazing conference packed with powerful speakers. It just so happened that one of them was a fellow endurance athlete who invited conference attendees to work out with him. It was among the toughest workouts I’d ever done. I began the day with the physical and mental pressure this man had bestowed upon us. And I was pumped.

This man is Jesse Itzler, founder of Marquis Jet, which he sold to Warren Buffet, and Zico Coconut Water, which he sold to Coca-Cola. He’s also married to Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. Jesse had pushed me to my physical limits. I already admired the heck out of him. When it was time for him to speak later that day, he caught me with a statement that led me to rethink my entire mindset about being an entrepreneur:

Pressure is a privilege.

I simmered on those words for the rest of the day, not accepting their truth when I first heard them. What did he know about the pressures I was facing, or that I know my clients experience on a daily basis? By that evening I realized he was dead on. The key is to embrace that privilege, avoid being crippled by it, tackle challenges head-on, and get out of your own way to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. I believe that pressure is a privilege because:

  • It’s a gift. Once you’ve taken an idea and turned it into an initiative or a company, you have the opportunity to push something forward that you believe in.
  • It’s life changing. Exciting things can happen. What you’re working towards impacts you, your team, your customers, and potentially, the world around you.
  • It’s exciting. You’re creating something. You’re inspiring people. You’re building something out of an idea and hard work.
  • Not everyone has this opportunity.

I also accept the fact that as an entrepreneur, some days are really hard. Pressure can feel overwhelming. There are days where mistakes are made, or something didn’t quite go as planned. Don’t cave. Stop, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you have this great opportunity to push through the pressure. Embrace that privilege.