Pressure to Perform

The Logical Heart Knows Best

There is so much pressure to perform in our society. We’re obsessed with goals and productivity, which leads to perfectionistic tendencies. On the surface, this seems like a good thing? How else are we going to make progress in our lives if we don’t have goals and take action? But, how much is too much? When does putting too much pressure on yourself begin to sabotage instead of help?

Most of us already work forty hours a week at soul-sucking jobs. We may have a second shift when we come home, caring for family, especially if we are women. Or we may be students which is a full-time job in itself, plus working to make ends meet. We are also wanting to create lives that are more satisfying to us and have dreams we’re working towards. We may be trying to make changes so that we can shift careers to something that is more aligned and rewarding. It becomes a balancing act where we are juggling so many things, trying to achieve the life of our dreams.

We have so many expectations we’re attempting to fulfill all at once with limited time, energy, and resources. How do we decide how to allocate ourselves. What takes priority?

I’ve learned the hard way, that my wellbeing must be the main priority. If I’m unhealthy and overworked, I will not be able to function well or enjoy my life. I may even become ill trying to do it all. So I’ve learned to experiment and redefine boundaries to see what works for me.

Counterintuitively, doing less leads to more productivity, progress, clarity, and joy. Most of us are all doing too much.

We are doing too much. We have too much pressure to perform. Overwork is counterproductive.

We don’t need to read the latest book on productivity or implement another system to help us squeeze out every second of our day. What we need is more space, simplicity, ease, freedom, and restoration. When we excavate more space in our lives, we stay centered, peaceful, aligned, energetic, and healthy. We gain clarity. Our time spent working will effortlessly be more productive because we are not spinning our wheels, we are not overburdened with all of these tactics to make us more productive, which only weigh us down and diffuse our focus. We get distracted and spread thin by investing in personal development that takes up the space we could be using to be more productive on our own terms.

We are trying too hard and doing too many of the wrong things. Like trying to squeeze every second out of the day, filling it with regimens that take up more and more of our time and energy. We are too focused on reaching goals, needing external validation based on accomplishments. Engaging in groups to add peer pressure to hold us accountable.

We measure our success based on our physical appearance, how much money we make, how many things we have, and if we’ve met our quarterly goals or not. We have the urge to fill every moment with actions that will help us reach our goals. We worship busyness, working, habits/routines, making money, achievements, constantly pursuing more. We push ourselves hard, just push through, keep working, don’t stop, keep going. Reach one goal, then set another, keep moving those goalposts. We can never do enough, there’s always the next thing.

What is the point of our lives if we’re not fully present and enjoying our days? What will we wish we experienced more of when all is said and done? Will we look back and think, wow I’m so glad I reached my quarterly goals and maintained my goal physique. I’m so happy I worked overtime at a job I dreaded, but I have a little bit of retirement income from it. I’m so glad I filled my extra moments with working more, making a few more dollars, buying lots of stuff, so glad I got the next new iphone. Oh I cherish working out for hours, keeping track of every morsel I ate, so I’d stay thin and buff. I’m so glad I spent so much time worrying about if I’m doing enough if I’m accomplishing what I’m supposed to in my life.

Pressure to perform, is it really working?

For me, no, it sabotages me. I tend to default to doing too much until my body protests. I’m still learning how to balance it all. For me less leads to more.


I’ve learned to listen to my body and to keep my life simple and spacious so I stay present, appreciate and enjoy more. I’ve learned that focusing on a few things at a time works better than piling it all on in a rush to get to the finish line faster. Now I make sure to have blocks of quiet, unfilled time so I can stay centered and balanced. My measure of success is, did I take moments to savor and enjoy this day? If so, I’m winning. I’m learning to be happy to be.

When I look back on my life, it wasn’t the accomplishments that filled me up, it was the love and connection I shared with others that mattered the most. And the most important connection that allowed love to flow was my connection with myself. Being overworked and busy all the time blocked that connection so that when I did have moments with loved ones, I was so tired and not able to fully enjoy it all. But life gets out of balance sometimes due to circumstances beyond our control, it happens. I forgive it all and aim to be more mindful of how I’m living and being. I’ve been fortunate to have opportunities to choose more unscheduled time so I could be more present in my life and maintain a sturdy connection with myself. When I maintain a good relationship with myself, everything works out better in my life.

I’m learning to let go of the pressure to perform. It’s just not worth it.

Here’s a short video about Pressure to Perform.

If you’d like to work with me, book a free call ♡

Michelle Miyagi
Hi! I was an RN, BSN in mental/behavioral health for 27 years. Now I'm helping empower caring people like me to prioritize themselves by maintaining healthier boundaries for more freedom, peace, and joy. I am also active in Long Covid advocacy.

Leave a Reply