What Billy Joel didn’t know when he wrote “Pressure.”

If you know the Billy Joel tune “Pressure,” then those familiar keyboard strains are probably ricocheting through your brain right now.  (Da-dee-da, da-dee-da, da-da-da-da-da-dee-da . . . )

It’s a great song.

But the lyrics suck.

Ok, ok, they don’t suck.  I just, well, don’t think they aptly describe what pressure is and what it does.

Everyone, including Mr. Piano Man, thinks pressure is a bad thing.  It’s something “pressing” on you, squeezing you . . . maybe until you pop.

But that’s not how I think of it at all.

I’m a big believer that without pressure, you can’t perform at your peak.

You need that deadline.  You need to know that 2,000 people are going to be watching your show.  You need to know that critics are going to chime in.  That kind of pressure kicks achievers in the ass and turns them into super-achievers.

So don’t be afraid of a little pressure.  Embrace it.  Enjoy it.  Let it push you to the next level of whatever it is you are doing . . . writing plays, producing musicals, raising kids.

We all face pressure every day.  It’s what we do with it that defines our future.

So you have a choice . . . you can think of pressure as something overwhelming that prevents you from moving forward.

Or you can remember that pressure is what turns carbon into a diamond.

(And if you don’t know Billy’s “Pressure,” click here to listen to it.  If you do know it, click here to listen anyway so you can get the da-dee-das out of your head.)


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.