What does “pressure is a privilege” mean? Yes, it is a post-game quote from Novak Djokovic and the title of Billy Jean King’s memoir but what are they saying? Many view pressure as negative and for sure in excess and for sustained periods, it is certainly stressful and counterproductive. Yet just as the same fire that can give life threatening burns can also give lifesaving warm, pressure likewise has a duality to it.

Pressure can be a challenge, can make us better, spur us onto higher levels of performance, and help us find the best in ourselves. Just as the occasional failure is the legitimate fee we pay for trying anything new, for going beyond our comfort zone, for learning and growing, so also is the possibility of pressure the price we must pay for taking on new opportunities, pushing our frontiers. I’ve been self-employed, the owner of a business, for well over 40 years now and it seems that every decade or so I’m called to “walk the valley”; times of major stress, sleepless nights, one even all too close to the edge of bankruptcy.

Yet each time I emerged the better for it, stronger, wiser. No regrets; the education was well worth the tuition.

Closing Quotes:

Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.” – Kobe Bryant

“I’ve always seemed to have my best performances when I’m under the most pressure.” – Aaron Rodgers

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” – Peter Marshall

“No matter how good you are at planning, the pressure never goes away. So I don’t fight it. I feed off it. I turn pressure into motivation to do my best.” – Ben Carson

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier