Weekender: Jeff Tweedy on Self-Inflicted Pressure

Jeff TweedyWelcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a beat of thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why just a beat (versus the whole song)? Because it’s the weekend!

When leaders find success, they commonly (and unconsciously) put pressure on themself to replicate their triumphant victory. After all, no one wants to be a one-hit wonder, especially an ambitious, goal-oriented trailblazer such as yourself. To relieve some of this anxiety while simultaneously retaining your drive, Jeff Tweedy recently gave some helpful insight in a Rolling Stone magazine interview.

For those of you who are either 1) unaware or 2) lack musical taste, Jeff Tweedy is the lead singer of Wilco who, in my completely objective view, is one of the best bands ever. One thing I like is they do not try to duplicate a sound, even when it results in a Top 40 song. Every album is distinct. Now you might think that constantly re-creating a musical persona puts a lot of pressure on a band; but as Jeff said in the interview:

I’ve had enough real pressure and issues in my life to look at artistic pressure as child’s play, you know? Part of enjoying it for me is discovering something I can do that I didn’t know I could do or getting better at playing a show in front of 20,000 people. You know, it’s just full of challenges, but I wouldn’t really call those pressures.

What a way to reframe and refocus pressure. First, Jeff puts it all in perspective. He takes a holistic worldview so he can relieve himself of the unproductive stress associated with misaligned priorities. Easier said than done? Only if you are already so frazzled that you can’t get out of the weeds.

The second thing Jeff does to minimize/avoid pressure is view each challenge as an opportunity to learn new things. He’s not trying to repeat the steps that led to past success because he’s not trying to repeat what he’s already accomplished. The new endeavor stands on it’s own. It benefits from what Jeff has already learned and will be successful because he continues to develop his skills.

wilco star warsLife’s hard enough without adding undue pressure. Maintain a healthy perspective. Don’t get locked into how you’ve done it in the past. Keep growing and stretching. And, if you haven’t, buy a Wilco album. You can thank me later.

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