Author Susan Schoenberger posted this quote to her Twitter feed:
“Pressure is a privilege.” – Billie Jean King as heard on Fresh Air.
I love this idea. It’s so true.
Many of the things that I choose to do involve pressure.
I stand before 21 students every day, knowing full well that I am responsible for their academic success, and that a portion of their future professional success is in my hands.
I do not take this responsibility lightly. I worry about my students a lot.
I write novels. I choose every word. I create every character, every setting and every scenario. Then I send my story into the world for public consumption and comment.
The success of the book is based almost entirely on my ability to create a story that readers love. The viability of my writing career hinges on the success of each book.
I am a storyteller. I stand before as many of 1,500 people at a time and share a true story from my life in hopes that they will be entertained and moved.
If I am competing in a StorySLAM, my story will immediately be followed with a numerical assignation of my performance by teams of complete strangers.
I am a wedding DJ. I am the person most responsible for the most important day in the lives of the couple who have hired me. Along with my partner, we coordinate every minute of the wedding. I feel more pressure on a person’s wedding day than any other day of the year. I understand how important this day is to them.
There are days when I yearn for a less pressure-filled life. I recently saw a parking garage attendant sitting in a booth, reading a book, listening to music. While I understand that the person in that booth doesn’t earn as much as someone in my position, I found myself envious of him just the same. He was getting paid to perform a simple, stress-free job that allowed him to read a book and relax while on the job.
There are days when that sounds damn fine.
But Billie Jean King was right. Pressure is a privilege. It leads to a full, rewarding, memorable and meaningful life.
I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Most of the time.