A Little Known Key to Success: Stop Giving Your Success Performance Anxiety

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Nearly every morning over this past summer I’d take the short walk up to our roof top garden. As an urban dweller this is the equivalent of gardening nirvana. Precariously balancing my Americano, a container of organic fertilizer and a watering can I rounded the corner and would smile at the site of my 5 babies. They were my special project for the summer; heirloom tomatoes that I dreamed about all winter and went all the way to Connecticut to procure. The process began innocently enough. I’d water them while sipping coffee. Smile and marvel at their progress reporting it back to my social media community, along with photos, and discussing it on my radio show segments often.

At dinner I’d share even more about “the children” as they became known. “Um Maria, don’t you think you’re getting a little too attached to those plants” said my boyfriend. I waved my hands and laughed “Nope!”

Then the obsession began. Where are the buds? What happened to the lush crops of gorgeous yellow cherry tomatoes I was promised? It was July and not much had shown up. And what about these other 4 plants? Will they ever bloom? My taste buds felt so deprived.

While my boyfriend slept I crept up to the roof earlier than usual on more than one occasion and began talking to them. “Come on grow”. And even at one point I found myself a few inches from the plants and channeling some crazy screen star siren “Grow damn it, grow! What’s wrong with you?!” No sooner had I heard the words that I gasped and covered my mouth. “What the heck am I doing?”

Have you ever felt this way about any of your special projects? Business ventures? Networking attempts? Perhaps in an area of your life where you had expectations of a specific result? How about your own ability to succeed?

Just about every professional I know, male or female, has had this experience at one point or another. When you do everything “right”, you’re consistent in your actions and persistent in your pursuit but the result is, well, less than stellar. What do you do? Are you standing over your seedlings, all that hard work, and screaming like a crazy person “grow, damn it grow”?

Come on. Be honest! I will raise my hand and say I have. There are 2 key principles in actions;

#1 Too much focus, expectation and strangle-holding the process can and most likely will cause performance anxiety of your desired result. After all, no one, no thing can fully blossom when you micro-manage it and watch it like hawk.

#2 The Law of Gestation. Gestation is a natural principle in which the natural order of things is that it takes time for whatever your seedlings are, to root, grow and blossom. Sometimes this takes longer than we think. Your job is to nurture those seeds but not to become obsessive. Just let go and let it happen naturally.

When you find yourself become overly anxious about the success that you’d really like to experience take a breath, step back and allow your seeds to mature.

Stop digging up those seeds before they’re ready. If you don’t, your success is going to have the same performance anxiety as my plants. It happens every time!

A final note about the tomatoes: After the hurricane we had at the end of the summer the reward came: the most delicious Purple Cherokee, Stupice and Cherry Tomatoes I’ve ever had. Unfortunately the San Marzano and Brandywine didn’t make it. I will accept the responsibility for their inability to blossom under my constant pressure. I didn’t ease up on those babies early enough.

Written By: Maria Gamb The Change Agent


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