Performance Under Pressure


Let’s start with a confession: I’ve been paying $6 every morning for a protein shake at the gym since last January. Stupid right? I know.

The problem? Laziness. I broke the last blender I had years ago and never bought a new one. The convenience of simply getting a shake at the gym just seemed easy. The fact that I could just bill it to my account and not even think about the $6 until the end of the month didn’t help either.

Now, to my defense, for over a year I’ve been saying that I need to go buy a blender and start making shakes at home. Not only will it save me money, but if I can make shakes when I’m in a jam and can’t get to lunch or just need a snack, it’d be great. The problem is – I was never in a situation where I really needed one, so I didn’t feel like randomly going to the store and buying a blender, a tub of protein, etc. etc. (see picture above).

That changed Saturday night. After a long Saturday in the office, I went to the gym for a (very) rare evening workout. By the time I got out of the gym it was 8pm. The café inside the gym had already closed. Another confession: sometimes I sneak to other gyms and get protein shakes too. Tonight? They were all closed. I now needed a protein shake and didn’t want anything else but that, and couldn’t get it anywhere.

It was finally time. I was now under the pressure of needing something I didn’t have, that I wanted, that I could control. Next move? Bed, Bath & Beyond for a blender and smoothie bottle, GNC for protein, and Wegmans for bananas, peanut butter, almond milk, and straws.

Now, the application.

I’ve noticed in my life, especially the last 6 years, that when I’m put under any kind of pressure, I perform the best. When you are put under pressure – whether it’s as stupid and simple as wanting a protein shake and making a smart move that you’ve been delaying making or having a financial burden/deadline that is not going anywhere and you need to produce $$ and you need to produce it fast – that is when your core values and principles will should come out. How do you handle it? Which direction do you go when the pressure is put on?

I’ve been put in situations that would lead many to binge drinking and drug use, suicide, endless crying – you name it. By the grace of God, none of that was the case for me. For me? I tend to look myself in the mirror, look in my own eyes and ask myself how bad I want it – how bad I never want to feel this situation/circumstance again.

If you’ve read my other blog posts, you probably know that when I was 18, I was homeless and living out of my car. I was running from the real life repo man, I was writing bad checks just to get a couple of dollars, ruining relationships everywhere, you name it – I was out of control. I was at the lowest point of my life and I had to make a decision. That decision was which direction was I going to go from there?

Did I want to feel sorry for myself and keep being a loser? End up a deadbeat? (Which everyone around me thought was the direction I was going to take probably.) Or… did I want to fight back. Did I want to make something out of myself. Did I want to go from having absolutely nothing and working my way to the top. Yes. I knew it was going to be hard. I had nothing to go off of, but I was determined. I was under pressure and it was time to perform – one way or another. Good performance or bad performance – it was up to me to decide.

Keyword there was it was up to me. A lot of people get under pressure and they turn everywhere they can possibly turn but to themselves. Now, you 100% need to turn to God and rely on God for strength. What I am referring to is those who turn to others as scapegoats and cry and whine and look for the easiest way out. That was the last thing I wanted. Even if I wanted it, i wasn’t going to get it. But, I didn’t want entitlements, I was owed nothing from nobody, this was on me. I got myself in this mess, and nobody was going to hand me the success I wanted.

By the grace of God, I now run a very successful website development company and play a major role in over 8 online brands.  Looks like that determination paid off.  Looks like when the pressure was applied, I came out on top.

I’ve noticed that the biggest leaps and bounds I’ve made in my life, came from being under pressure. I have a track record of succeeding when I’m under pressure. If you haven’t had this sense of accomplishment, I strongly urge you to watch how you handle the next time pressure comes your way.

When the pressure is applied, you have a decision to make. You can feel sorry for yourself, you can drink and numb the pain (until the morning), you can get high off drugs, you can keep spiraling out of control, or you can fight it. You can look yourself in the eyes and ask yourself how bad you want it.

When you are under pressure, when you are forced to perform, everything you have will be put on trial. You will be tested like there is no tomorrow, but regardless – don’t let it hinder what could be possibly happen next. Turn straight to God and ask Him that His will would be done in your life, and embrace the grind to follow. Philippians 4:13 says that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Guess what? It’s true.

– JB