FACING PRESSURE

So my company, Perform for Success, perform is the action, success is the outcome, right? We want success, but most people hire me because of something that’s not talked about very much, pressure. What is pressure for you is different than pressure for someone else, and pressure is not always bad. I think sometimes it’s like, “I have so much pressure. I can’t perform. I can’t do this.” No. Pressure can actually ignite performance.

So let’s talk about what is pressure for you? Pressure is actually a perspective because it’s how you’re defining a situation. What’s the meaning you’re putting to it? It could be, “I feel pressure because I’m overwhelmed with a number of things I have to do, so I feel pressure.” Other times, it’s: “I’ve never spoken in front of 100 people before.” That’s the pressure of now a new environment. Or, “I am now actually winning a golf tournament,” and the pressure of finishing it out. Those would be different events that could create pressure for somebody.

But have you ever had that new experience that you felt pressured but you actually performed really well at? Because guess what? It got you more focused. It got you more engaged because you knew it was important. I think the trick here is if we make it too important, then we get overwhelmed. We get anxious. We get fearful of what could happen, but if we get excited about the pressure and go, “This is what I’ve trained for, this is what I want. Oh, cool. Let’s have a good time with this.”

Then it’ll actually help your performance because part of performing is utilizing skills that you’ve already developed, and many of you already have a high skill set, but now if I put you in different environments, can that skillset shine through? And that’s where the pressure comes into play.

So first off is you need to shift your meaning of what pressure means to you. This situation has a lot of pressure. Great. Good. That means it’s important. That means I’m going to focus. That means I’m going to use all my skills today because part of flow, and I talked about this in another video, is flow in the zone and is actually when you’re challenged just beyond that comfort zone. You’re pressured just beyond that because now you can use all of those skills and you’re going to be fully engaged.

So pressure can be good. Now, what happens, though, when pressure now overwhelms you? This is something I repeat a lot, are some basic skills to go from highly pressured, highly anxious, back to at least neutral, would be breathing, would be self-talk, would be micro-goals. So the breathing part is to call a timeout on yourself like, “Oh, this is too much. Okay, let’s breathe. Okay.” Talked about deep, rhythmic, smooth breaths. Regain control of the situation, so now you can think straight.

Next is the self-talk. How am I creating meaning right now? “Oh, this is too much.” No. “This is just enough. This is what I’ve trained for. I can’t wait to do that.” Change what it means to you. We call that reframing your self-talk.

Next is the micro-goal. What’s in my control for the next 30 seconds, the next minute? That way, you can put all of your focus on that instead of what it’s worth and all these other people watching. So now pressure is not going to be a negative effect on you.

So when we perform for success, we embrace pressure. We allow that to now help us focus better and bring all of our skillsets to the table. So embrace pressure and you’re going to perform for success.

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