It always amazes me – after the fact that is, after the flames have quieted and a sense of calm has taken over, how powerful pressure is. We often times think we would absolutely die if certain things happen to us, and when some of them do, we switch into high gear, blow our own minds and keep on walking. Why? Because life experiences happen so that we can learn about layers within ourselves we either didn’t know or areas where we doubted our strength. Our first thought reaction when walking our minds through hypotheticals is to grab on to safety – whether it is safety in taking cover, safety in being silent in hopes that the storm passes and the wind doesn’t expose our truth beneath the pretty layers, or the safety in isolation: distancing ourselves from others – what I like to call, taking ourselves out of the game.
As I am typing this, the movie 8 mile comes to mind and the scene where Eminem is up to battle. He knows the rocks that the opposition will hurl his way when they’re up next and how painfully true and embarrassing they are. He looks at the crowd, looks ‘his enemies’ in the face and ‘spits’ his own rhymes about himself, his girl, his friends and his mom. He leaves them speechless because he pulled the rug from under their plan to define him and shame him by revealing his story. In that moment of pressure he simply let go of ego and guilt and released the hold that shame tried to have on him. He said to the opponents and the crowd – I know who I am and I know where I’ve been, I am not afraid to tell you because that isn’t the last verse to my life’s rhyme.
In that pressure test he took away the power from others, by owning up to his-story and rather than seeing it all as disqualifiers, he used it to move him forward.
This wasn’t about the rap game, Eminem’s skills or 8 mile. It’s about you being at the mic, you’re staring at your opponents, looking at the crowd and the pressure test is saying “I gotcha” – your past and your present does not define you. All that has been, the great and what we view as the not so wonderful will be the stones to move us forward…but only when they are seen that way. See them as a hindrance and you have just locked yourself into that position. Take that step towards the mic even if you don’t think you can, and be determined to live forward and watch your life follow suit.
Life is always waiting for us to recognize the power of who we really are. Pressure tests are really just sent as our assistants to help us see who we already are.