I’ve always done my best work under pressure. Got a paper due? Write it the night before. A test to study for? Reread notes the morning of.
What I didn’t know was that this state of existence applied to other parts of my life. Okay, I knew it, but it was a nice segue.
I’m in the process of putting together a business that includes buying some property. At the last second, I needed to get an application and past tax returns to the banker–before he left his office for men’s league. I was under a serious time crunch.
Even though rushed, I’m fairly organized. I found the tax returns in minutes and sat down to finish the last of the application. Driver’s license number? Grabbed my purse, penned in the number. Issue date? August 2005. Expiration date? Sh*t. August 2009.
Today’s date: June 2010.
I rushed to the court house and dropped my expired license to the counter. “I think I’m in trouble.”
Turns out I had a whole two months before my license would have truly expired and I would have had to retake my test. Turns out the clerk whisked me to the photo footprints and told me to watch the light for my new mug shot.
Something you all should know about me if you’ve followed me for any length of time: I’m laid back and messed up. My hair, which had just been cut–too short and not what I wanted–the previous week, was simply tucked behind my ears so I could sort through the basement to find the tax returns.
As I rushed out the door, I had thrown on a 12 year old cardigan to protect my tank top from the pouring rain. I was totally unprepared to let the DMV snap a four-year photo.
DMV Clerk tried twice. The first time, the camera misfired and took a picture of my non-existent cleavage. No kidding. We both laughed out loud. The second picture was blurry. I looked like I was standing across the parking lot in a downpour at midnight. Great stuff.
The third time was a charm. By then we were both caught up in a fit of giggles. I’m sure it’s the only DMV photo in Minnesota history where the suspect is grinning from ear to ear. It’s also the best impromptu picture I’ve ever taken.
Seriously, I want to scan it and use it for my profile pic.
I have a theory about why this turned out so well. Really, why everything turns out better for me when I’m on the cusp of a deadline. It’s because I let go of my inhibitions and actually relax.
I quit worrying about the outcome and enjoy the process. It needs to get done, so I do it. Freed from my Internal Editor, my Internal Critic, my missing muse and my fears of failure, I simply let go and write, find errant tax returns and smile for the camera.
What about you? Do you thrive under pressure, or does it send you into fits of unease? Do you second guess yourself when you have unlimited time and end up paralyzed because of it? Or do you need structure and schedules to stay on task?