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How much of what you’re carrying is not yours to carry? (and 5 things you can do about it)

There are times when you feel the burden of expectation weigh you down. Squeeze some joy out. This is particularly true when you find yourself in a new position or situation. What are things you can do about it?

You may have come from a place where you’ve gone from knowing everything about your world, to finding yourself in a whole new world of foreign language and behaviours. It can be unsettling and stressful, and negatively affect how you behave and perform. There is the self-doubt, fears and constant self-questioning that comes out.

What can you do to firstly reduce the pressure on yourself, and secondly start to perform?

There are 5 things you can do, that will really help you make a leap forward

  1. Seek first to understand

Accept that you’re in new territory and it will take time to understand it. Accept this and explain this to others.

When you’re seeking to understand, you’re looking to understand the context of the environment. Every place and situation is different. For me when I go in to a place, it looks very clear. Then I get immersed in understanding, and it becomes very blurry, because I’m asking questions and everyone has a different view. Then after a while all the noise goes away and it becomes clear. There are only a few key things to understand about what is immediately important, whether it is where the value is coming from, what drives the costs, what do our customers really value, what do staff need to focus on etc.

Seek first to understand

There will be a couple of things at any one time that if you understand and get right will create the most value. If you’re in a truly new environment it may take you 3 months, 6 months, a year to fully understand these, but keep working at it.

2. Use your positive support network

It may feel like it, but you’re not alone. If you feel like you are then get someone(s) who can provide positive support. Someone that will listen, help you get clarity, be non-judgemental, understand what is your load to carry and what isn’t, and what to do about it.

You are not alone

I’ve been in situations where I’ve felt alone. Where I’ve felt this weight on my shoulders. Having people to talk to that understand. Who’ve been there before. Are positive for you. Will talk, and more importantly listen. Such a positive support network is so very important. When someone says “I understand”, “Mike, that is not your issue to deal with”, the weight just falls away.

Performax provide forums for people to feel supported in these situations. That’s what they’re for.

3. Know who’s who and build relationships as people

People really are where value is added or lost in business. Understanding what they do and who they are is critical. I’ve achieved some incredible things with people working with inferior equipment, uncomfortable working environments and long hours. Those are memorable times.

People galvanise around a common cause.

We make a living by what we give

I’ve witnessed others where staff did the bare minimum, when a small increase in performance or innovative thinking was all that was required. Harnessing the talents and motivation of your people is critical, so get in early to work with, understand and grow them. Knowing what they’re truly capable of, and knowing you’re part of a team is a great comforter. We’re social animals. The comfort of the pack is important, for you and also them. You’ll feel better when you know they’re on your side.

4. Be very clear on what is expected of you

Being clear on what is expected of you is so very important. Find out what you are expected to produce, what you are measured on.

We create our own heartbreak through expectation

You can remove a whole load of angst if you stop trying to guess what will satisfy others you are reporting to, and doing the wrong things. It is not a failing to ask “so what is it exactly that I will measured on?” “How will I know if I’m performing well or poorly?” Sometimes there is nothing written down for you, or often a whole load of things that are too general without real clarity on what is expected.

A lot of the weight that you feel you are carrying is not even yours to carry, because you’re not expected to carry it all.

5. Be vulnerable

This takes a serious amount of courage and trust. You don’t know everything – and you’re going to admit it! Wow, are they going to crucify you! Not at all. You will unload a whole mountain of stress by saying “sorry, I don’t know”, and asking questions on how things work.

Vulnerability is key

I’ve been in many situations in my career where I’ve been talking with people and they’re discussing all sorts of acronyms and jargon – and I’ve just kept my mouth shut, even though I wasn’t sure exactly what they meant. I’ve felt the burden of carrying a whole load of stuff with my self-doubt stopping me from being open. It is painful.

I’ve met people who can talk and talk as though they know everything, however when they come to deliver, you realise they don’t know the key things.

Being open and admitting to other that you don’t know or are struggling is ok. The world is a very complex and stressful place these days. The people around you are all in the same boat. Making yourself vulnerable is a powerful thing that will unload a whole lot of pressure, although it will feel challenging before you do it. And it will give others to do the same, creating a more open and even compassionate culture.

Try some or all of the above and see how it goes.

Let us know how you get on. If you want to discuss anything please comment or get in touch.

  • Mike Overwater

Mike's an ordinary bloke who had a dream, and wouldn't give up. As the founder of EKO Group, and co-creator of, he thought it was time to share his truths and personal life lessons. Mike hopes to inspire you to always keep it real, to go for your dreams, and to let nothing stop you! Above all BE YOURSELF.

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