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Stefan Kazakis on 9 September 2017

We all know what it’s like to be under the pump, to feel like we’re being pushed and pulled in a million directions and we can’t see the way ahead. The only way to break through and achieve high productivity when things get like this is to apply pressure.

There are two types of pressure you can apply: negative and positive.

Negative pressure is where you get pushed to breaking point because you feel as if you are stuck. You don’t know what you don’t know. You can’t see the next step. If you feel like this, you have two choices: you either run away, or hang around and get through this emotion to the point of breakthrough.

Consider this situation like a pot of boiling water. When pressure is applied – in the form of heat – you keep on going until you are pushed to your limit. At this point you are simmering. At this point you are perturbed, and you have two choices. You can stay under pressure on the stove, or get out and relax again off the stove. Most people will run from this pressure and therefore they never grow. If you keep the pressure on, you will become more and more perturbed until you break through – and when you do you will pop through and release energy and emotion. This could be tears, laughter, anger – whatever it takes to push you forward. To achieve this breakthrough, you have to break up what’s not working for you, you have to break with old habits that aren’t moving you forward. You have to break away from people and environments that are no good for you. You have to break down exactly where you are right now. To get to the point where this happens you have to be able to handle the heat on the stove until it gets to simmering. It’s not always easy. Everybody goes through pain.

Negative pressure holds us back because we are not skilled enough or strong enough to deal with it, so we live an unfulfilling life. Instead of hanging around and facing the issues, people run, and so their problems never go away. Until you break up, break with, break away and break down, you won’t go anywhere.

Positive pressure is deciding that you are going for it. You create goals and decide that you are all in. Setting targets and having planned activities to reach them creates positive pressure that will pull you forward. It’s forging ahead with a clear destination and a plan to get you there. It’s doing the chosen and planned activities to reach your targets. It’s about knowing your numbers. This is growth-mode pressure that helps you shape your Productivity Diamond. Stretching your identity provides positive pressure. Otherwise life’s good, so why would you forge ahead? There’s no positive pressure.

You can’t get to positive pressure without getting rid of negative pressure first, so your initial task is to deal with whatever issues you are facing now before you try to move on. Once you have cleared away the negative you can start thinking long term and stay aligned to your strategic plan. You can focus on the actions you need to be committed to. You won’t be forced to make hasty decisions to avert the latest calamity.

Power to you this week.


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