FEELING THE PRESSURE!
“You’re going to have to eventually fight real people…you know that, right?” That’s what the voice standing behind me said. I was 19 at the time and I was really going at it on the heavy bag at the karate school I had been training at. I was fairly new at the time and thought I was pretty good at giving that heavy bag a beating. Not sure if you’ve ever hit a heavy bag or not, but it’s still one of my favorite things to do to this day. I have one in my personal gym, and I do five one-minute rounds as a warmup before every workout. It puts my mind in just the right headspace for training, it’s a great warmup, I get to work on timing, distance, and combinations, and it helps me deal with the daily stress of just existing.
This episode is not about working out, nor is it about beating up a heavy bag. This episode is about what that man said to me that day and how his words have been bouncing around my being ever since that day. ‘You’re going to have to eventually fight real people…’ Up to that point in my training, I had only been attending the classes, doing the forms they taught us, and trying out techniques on compliant and helpful training partners. Nobody was trying to kill you, or even do you any harm. Everyone in class was trying to help each other out and grow in the martial art.
Two times per week they offered what was called a ‘sparring’ class. This was the time when you got to, more or less, go all out with a partner who was trying to also go all out. We weren’t working together any longer, now we had the chance to pressure test our skills on non-compliant partners who would resist and try to apply their own technique. Up to that point in my training, I had been avoiding those sparring classes because I didn’t want to get my ass kicked. I’m quite sure I was insecure about my abilities at that point, I was scared I’d be embarrassed, and I was probably a little intimidated by some of the people I saw attending those sparring classes. There were some students who lived only for the sparring classes and were just begging for fresh meat like me to step onto the floor.
Nevertheless, I knew the guy was right. If I was going to get better, I’d have to be willing to step up my game and fight real people. Of course, we weren’t really fighting. Everybody wore padded gloves and foot pads, and nobody was intentionally trying to kill you. Although, every now and then somebody bobbed when they should’ve weaved, and they’d walk into a straight punch or a kick and end up with a broken nose or missing tooth. That was just the risk and the cost of getting better at that particular sport.
Everything we do in life, in business, in relationships comes at a cost and with some risk. Playing it safe in any of those areas might mean you remain unscathed for some period of time, but make no mistake, life will come knocking. If you haven’t developed your anti-fragility muscles through pressure testing your beliefs, your views, your systems and processes, it all eventually goes away. Just like a real muscle, over time and without real use, they tend to decline and decay. Lifting weights, for example, is a method for pressure testing your strength, range of motion, your body movements, and your discipline to get to the gym. Lifting weights is not only good for your body, but your brain is also making new connections every time you do something difficult. Do fewer things that are difficult each month or year and eventually you find yourself unconsciously seeking more and more comfortable positions in life.
When you get comfortable, you get weak. Comfort equals weakness. The more comfortable you make yourself, the less risk you seek in order to not threaten your comfort. When you get into the habit of pressure testing everything, it’s not comfort you seek, but more opportunities to pressure test. It is, in essence, the scientific method and approach to everything. Prove me wrong, not prove me right. The scientific method is rooted in the constant testing and measuring, never really satisfied with a result being the final conclusion but just the next hypothesis to test and try to prove wrong. This is how a theory gets stronger and stronger every day; it always has somebody out there trying to prove it wrong and replace it. Either the theory wins and remains a working theory for another day, or it’s found to be incorrect and replaced. Pressure testing.
Here's the point: pressure exists whether we like it or not. Most people organize their lives around the pursuit of more comfort, not less. It’s as if we believe we can insulate ourselves from the forces of nature by having thicker walls, gates to our communities, or softer beds. While I’m not opposed to those things, I am suggesting we stay ever vigilant and on the lookout for more opportunities for discomfort, and opportunities to pressure test our ideas, our theories, our processes and procedures, our relationships, our bodies, our minds, our thoughts, and our habits. Without the pressure testing, all of those things are getting weaker day by day.
Here are 6 ways pressure helps us be better, stronger, and more ready to take on the next adventure.
- Pressure creates clarity
Without some kind of pressure, we tend to exist in a world where we’re never tested. Pressure testing cleanses because it forces us to clarify our positions or choose to ignore evidence to the contrary. Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away or cease to exist. When you apply pressure to things, only the purest form of it can remain. Offer up your thoughts, your ideas, your body and mind so that they can all be exposed to some kind of pressure and watch how clarity reveals itself as one of the primary benefits.
- Pressure reveals potential
I confess, I am one of those people that enjoys, nay, needs some kind of pressure to keep me moving. If I don’t feel the pressure, I find ways to make it for myself. Some people will never be able to rise to their greatest potential except through pressure. We all know people who crack and crumble under pressure. We also all know someone who has the uncanny ability to thrive in the pressure. Pressure uncovers, strips aways, and reveals whether or not someone has spent any time whatsoever pressure testing themselves. Potential is released under pressure.
- Pressure purifies
This is one of my favorite benefits of pressure testing. When you put something under pressure, all of the impurities tend to get squeezed out. What is left is the diamond, or the most valuable essence of whatever has been tested. When you are under pressure, whether self-imposed or externally motivated, all of the extraneous and unimportant stuff tends to fall away. All that is left is the most important and vital aspects of that thing.
- Pressure clarifies vision
When you get into the habit of pressure testing yourself, your thoughts, your beliefs, and your ideas, you get much better at discerning what should stay and what should go. Half of the battle of developing clarity around what you want is wading through all of the things you don’t want. This, by the way, is the big problem with most people. Most people are playing the game trying not to lose, instead of playing it to win. What we focus on matters. Most people spend the majority of their time and effort focusing on what they don’t want, which leaves very little time focusing on what they do want. Knowing that what we focus on we tend to get more of; if you’re giving focus to what you don’t want, you’re in avoidance mode.
If you never push yourself with pressure, your ideas, your ideas, your beliefs, and your vision becomes weak. Pressure testing all of those things shows intellectual and emotional maturity and integrity. When you’re willing to be disappointed by one of your ideas not surviving the pressure test, your vision gets that much clearer over time.
- Pressure helps to reveal purpose
Much like developing clarity around vision, pressure helps to reveal purpose. Quite often, our purpose in some area is revealed only through dealing with pressure. This is one of the reasons I love the pressure testing concept and practice. You can wait for the pressures of life, of business, of relationship, or of something else to come naturally, or you can apply pressure to those things yourself in order to make them better. One of those methods could take a lifetime, the other cuts the time 10X.
When under pressure, we get to see what we can and will tolerate on the path toward what we believe to be some kind of purpose. We may say we are designed for something in life, but only if it’s never tested in the real world and under pressure. This is the main reason Navy Seals have to go through Hell Week. If they can’t make it through a week of pressure testing their mental and physical fortitude, being a Navy Seal is probably not their purpose in life. You wouldn’t want the guy who rings the bell and lays down his helmet on day 2 of the process to also be the guy you’re counting on to support you in a firefight or carry you out of a situation if you’re wounded. That’s what pressure testing weeds out and hit helps to solidify purpose.
- Pressure simply makes you stronger
No list of the benefits of pressure testing would be complete without stating the obvious: dealing with pressure makes us stronger. When you lift weights, your body and muscles are under pressure and they’re getting stronger. When you push yourself outside of your comfort zone, you’re pressure testing yourself and getting better. When you stand up in front of a crowd to give a talk under pressure, you’re getting better for the next time. Quite simply, you have to be placing yourself in situations that put pressure on you in order to get stronger. Pressure helps to reveal our weaknesses and either eliminate them, or work on them to diminish them.
The last thing I’ll say in this episode about pressure is that all pressure is not created equal. The determining factor of whether or not pressure is perceived as negative or positive is just that, it’s in our perception of it. When something happens and we feel stress or pressure, we tend to label it as good or bad. If you develop the habit of simply saying, ‘good, this is exactly what I was built for!’ whenever you recognize stress or pressure, your brain automatically starts to extract any positive aspects of the situation. Your brain also goes into a mode of figuring out what best to do with the pressure and stress to transform it into something we can use.
If you’re an appraiser and you’re feeling the pressure of a changing market, changes in the lending world, changes in the appraisal industry, you’re not alone. Many of you have been placing all of your eggs in one basket and can’t understand why the lending world isn’t catering to your need for more orders. If you haven’t been diversifying your portfolio of clients and products over the last few years, you’re probably feeling a bit behind.
I recorded a special hour-long training just for you and it’s all yours for free. You can find it at www.coachblaine.com/diversify . There’s no catch, nothing to sell you, just an hour and twenty minutes of information on the why, the how, and the who of building a robust non-lender focused appraisal business within the next six months. Will it be easy? No. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Is it simple? Yep! Just follow the steps, do the work, pressure test your messaging and systems, and watch it grow.
If you’re ready to take your appraisal business and income to the next level, we’ve built the most uplifting, inspiring, supportive, and profitable private community of appraisers doing great things and making more money, while also working less. I’ve paid for your first month in our community so you can check it out risk free. Go to www.coachblaine.com/freemonth and see if it’s for you.
Until next week, I’m out…
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