Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Are you an innie or an outie?

I'm talking pressure, not belly-buttons. All this Olympic fervor has got me thinking - dangerous, I know - about pressure. Many of those athletes are very young. How would I have handled that kind of pressure at their ages? Probably with a big fat meltdown. See, I'm an internal pressure kind of girl, not an external one.

What's the diff? Lemme explain. First of all, I don't think you can have external pressure without internal pressure, but I do think you can have internal without the external.


External: My agent expects me to turn in the best book possible.
Internal: I then expect myself to produce the best work possible.

See how the first creates the second? However, if I set a goal for myself, such as finishing a book by a certain date and that goal is strictly self-created, then that's internal pressure alone. Makes sense, right? I'm sure you could come up with all kinds of internal pressure that you've created for yourself.

Now when it comes to certain types of external pressure, I'm no good. Ask me to perform in some capacity before a large crowd and I get shaky and faint. I've been a Golden Heart nominee twice and both times the thought of actually winning made me nauseous. True as the day is long.

I can rock internal pressure, though. Let me make a list of To Do's and although I will make it inhumanly long, I will accomplish all the biggies. What's the difference between the two? I don't know, I just know how I respond.

So what's it like for you? What kind of pressure do you thrive under? Do you have coping mechanisms that help you through? Are you an innie or an outie?


  1. Ooooh good question. I generally work better with external pressure (which is why I give myself deadlines on stuff)...but like you said, that definitely ties into internal pressure, as well.

  2. I thrive on external pressure. It's the internal pressure that kills me.

    I'm way harder on myself than others can possibly be to me.

  3. I think I imagine there to be more external pressure than there really is. So really it becomes internal pressure in the guise of external pressure.

  4. I feel you. And I share your list-quirk. I love lists. They make me feel both organized and relieved when I cross them off.

  5. I think I work okay under both kinds of pressure. Depends on what's at stake, I guess. When I had a job outside the house, I had deadlines and meetings to coordinate and things that had to be done at a certain time. I handled it without falling apart (at least until after it was over and I was home - then I collapsed). Now it's just me, and I don't pressure myself too much. Thinking about what'll happen after I finally get published... I'll just have to wait and see.