I wrote my first post, Are You Putting Too Much Pressure On Yourself To Be Successful, in November of 2010. It’s a warm anecdote about how my husband and I ended up falling in love with two alley cats from Brooklyn. Animal companions are a wonderful outlet and can bring tremendous joy to a home if you have the time and money to care for them. It’s not a bad post, not my best, but “adopt a pet,” I’m sure, isn’t the guidance angst readers of the blogosphere are looking for when they search for “how to tell if you put too much pressure on yourself,” “too much pressure,” “pressure to be successful,” and all of the other similar search terms that readers have employed that led them to this post.

Readers would probably prefer a ten-question quiz or a list of psychosomatic symptoms resulting from an unhealthy level of anxiety as concrete indicators they were putting too much pressure on themselves.  While this second post on the subject is meant to supplement the first with some much-needed depth, I offer no quiz or list of symptoms. The answer to the question, “Are you putting too much pressure on yourself?” – and I will assume the question is being asked from the framework of finding career fulfillment – is: it depends.

To determine if you are putting too much pressure on yourself, you have to answer the questions: 1) What is it you want? 2) What does it typically take to get there? 3) Do you want what you think you want badly enough to endure getting there? Many people never get past the first question, which can cause anxiety. And if they do answer what they want, they don’t investigate what it takes to get there, which can cause anxiety. And if they do figure out what they want and how to get there, they may decide that the amount of work required is too much, look for an out, and Google, “am I putting too much pressure on myself.” If they can find evidence they are, then they may decide it’s best to just settle with the status quo and carry on with life’s natural irritations without inviting more. This is an acceptable approach. Not everyone is cut out for recreating themselves. For those who decide they can’t live without the risk of trying, you will likely find you often feel you are putting too much pressure on yourself. And when the tasks required to propel you where you want to be demand you take on even more, you will look back and ask yourself what made you think you were previously experiencing too much pressure. Pressure is relative to your desired outcome. Are you putting too much pressure on yourself is dependent on who you want to be.