This week I’m desperately trying to claw my way out of a pit of deadlines. I know it will be worth it once the work is done and my byline is published, but at this exact moment all I can hear is the clock tick-tocking way faster than I’d like.
Under stressful circumstances like this, I’m sad to say I’m the total opposite of cool as a cucumber (hot as a jalapeño, perhaps?).
In fact, every nerve-racking situation I’m in generally includes at least one overwhelming moment of panic and hysteria. In this instance, I started listing every upcoming deadline I need to meet, followed by the alarmingly low number of hours I have to meet them—and immediately began to freak out.
My husband, whose middle name is “Composure,” calmly reminded me that panicking is entirely unnecessary, considering that I have been overwhelmed by deadlines many times in my life and somehow it always—always—works out just fine.
The last part of that is certainly true, but I take issue with the rest of it.
You see, there’s a part of me that thinks freaking out is actually totally necessary. As ugly as it looks and as nauseating as it feels, it’s an essential part of the process for me.
Because it is those moments of panic that jumpstart me. The racing heart and sweaty palms push me into high gear, and I start moving at a rate that’s furiously fast yet still highly efficient.
What’s more, freaking out forces me to do the exact things we Type-A gals tend to avoid doing—like asking for help, lowering my sky-high standards, and prioritizing only what’s most important while cutting out the rest.
For some people, the very act of freaking out is paralyzing. The feeling of panic causes them to curl up into a ball and do nothing.
But for me, freaking out is just a part of the process, and often a very valuable part. I’ll probably never be mistaken for a calm and cool cucumber, so instead I’ll just embrace my inner jalapeño—and probably meet every single one of my deadlines.
How do you react under stressful circumstances? Are you cool, calm, and collected? Or do you freak out like I do?
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