If you have any role in running a business, or even if you just have an aspiration to do so, then you've got some concept of what pressure--to achieve, build, surpass and even surprise--feels like. Now imagine if you were running a company, maintaining a base of 422,000+ Instagram fans and performing in hits like Chicago and Dancing With the Stars. And oh, yeah, you're doing all that as a young 20-something.
For Australian Lily Jay, that's life. The Brisbane-born music artist and founder of The Hair Collective deals with pressure from all kinds of angles. She shared her thoughts on how she copes--and how you can, too.
Creating the pressure monster
Jay says that much of the pressure she feels comes from simultaneously being a perfectionist and holding self-doubt, a combination many entrepreneurs struggle with.
"I get very nervous before a show," Jay admits, "because I start second-guessing myself. Have I done enough? Will they like it? As soon as I get into this train of thought, I have to snap out of it. This is the biggest problem and will ruin your confidence!"
And while pressure admittedly comes from both internal and external sources, Jay says the pressure you create for yourself is the worst.
"For me, sometimes I have to take a step back and release how far I've come and understand that nobody expects [me] to be perfect. We are human and we all make mistakes. I have to constantly remind myself to stop worrying what others think and to stop putting extra pressure on myself to succeed."
The one element that smooths your path
Jay claims that, no matter what industry you aim to thrive in, it's imperative that you love what you do. The passion you feel for your projects or field is like a pair of boxer's gloves--you still have to fight to win, but passion takes the sting out of every jab and hook you throw and gets you to the end of the round.
"I believe that any business you pursue should be something you enjoy doing," Jay says. "[...You need a passion for what you are creating, otherwise you will never have the motivation to continue."
3 tips to move forward when pressure weighs you down
So what does someone who can crush it in multiple arenas recommend for rising up against pressure? These are Jay's go-tos:
Remember, the worst pressure probably comes from you. Instead of focusing on how others might judge you, think of when others have had their "goof" moments, too. Once you see the human nature around you, others don't seem so intimidating, and the need to meet the status quo doesn't feel so intense. Be mindful and stay present in the moment. Focus on what you're going through right now, the job or goal you have, rather than what you're afraid will happen in the future.
2. Believe in yourself.
If you don't, Jay says, no one will. When doubt hits, look back at all the successes--even small ones--you've had. Use them to tell yourself you're capable of accomplishment. It can help to keep a video, journal or even a Facebook record of what you nailed from day to day. Don't be quick to dismiss praise when it's offered to you, too. You can be humble and still accept something positive as truth. And take time alone to know who you are. You can't defend someone you don't even know.
3. Don't let others distract you.
"People always want to see you fail," Jay says. The higher they are on the hill compared to you, the happier and more secure they feel. "Don't let people's jealousy and ego get in the way of achieving your goals."
Lily Jay is hardly the only celebrity going after more than one goal--Rihanna, Oprah, George Clooney and Jay-Z are just some of the stars who are juggling business, performance and other endeavors. They prove that pressure doesn't have to keep you closed, and that you have the power to be multifaceted and even more than extraordinary. It's OK if you have to start small, but start.