In today’s blog I want to talk about “pressure”. You may have seen or read about what an amazing time it is right now to create, learn or produce. And in many ways that’s true. But we need to be in the right state of mind to do those things - and feeling “pressured” isn’t it for most people. So, if you are one of those people who isn’t always feeling like this is an amazing time to be productive, I want you to know that it’s ok and more importantly, that you are not alone.
It feels like a million years ago that I sat down and created the challenges for the previous blog post. Since then, I’ve definitely been having some ups and down - as I wrote on my personal social media that “I have been oscillating between hyper-productive and debilitatingly stuck.” While I have had moments of feeling more creative than I have in awhile, I have also felt guilt when I don’t feel creative and heavy guilt when I’m not “productive” enough. Then the pressure kicks in. The pressure to be creative, the pressure share, the pressure to connect, the pressure to _________ (fill in the blank).
This “pressure” is often something we put on ourselves under normal circumstances, but which seems to have increased recently with the loss of gigs, addition of time, and social media interaction. But being creative and productive is not just a switch we can turn on and off (although, I wish it was sometimes). We have to deal with ourselves and our current thoughts. Maybe that involves asking questions. Perhaps it is re-evaluating what’s important or interesting. It could be there’s a reason that you’re feeling resistance and that needs to be explored. Maybe you need a walk, food, and a nap.
But navigating a situation like this is challenging. Whether you’re a professional musician dealing with the loss of gigs (and all that comes with that) or you’re a student who can no longer attend music classes, or a teacher who is suddenly trying to teach music online or someone who plays music for fun but feels a loss of structure, the important thing to remember is that ignoring feelings probably won’t make them go away.
What can you do? Here’s some ideas:
- Explore the reason you are feeling the pressure. Journaling can be a great way to figure out what’s going on.
- Focus on the process and not the outcome. Start with “I wonder what would happen if I _____________?” and try something without any judgement or expectation.
- Be kind and allow yourself to move slowly through this experience.
- Talk about it with someone. You can always share with the Brave Musician community in the Brave Musician Forum and use it to connect to others.