Choose Pressure

Do you see high-pressure situations as threatening or challenging? Do you embrace such moments, or do you dread them? Threat perceptions are the root cause for choking. This pressure solution is your insurance against a primal pressure reaction, but you must use it frequently before your pressure moments.

Our data indicates than an overwhelming majority of individuals in the working world see pressure situations as threatening, as do-or-die. Seeing pressure as a threat undermines your self-confidence; elicits fear of failure; impairs your short-term memory, attention, and judgment; and spurs impulsive behavior. It also saps your energy.

On the other side of the coin, individuals who perceive a task or sit­uation not as a threat but instead as a challenge, an opportunity, or fun are far more likely to perform up to the level of their ability, increasing their chances for success.

Before you go into a high-pressure situation, convince yourself it is a challenge or an opportunity.

Such a positive mind-set will help your performance. To build challenge-thinking in this pressure solution, try the following exercise: Think of your tasks and responsibilities as daily challenges to test yourself.

If you are a project manager, tell your team, “let’s see this as a challenge to do our best work ever”.

A sales manager might tell his sales force, “Here’s the challenge. Let’s see if we are up to it.” Or “Hey, it’s great that we get opportunities like this to show how good we are!

Focus on the fun aspects of your life.

Celebrate the positive as­pects of your work, the part that you find enjoyable. Remember these thoughts the next time you feel under pressure, with too much to do.

This is an excerpt from Performing Under Pressure.

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About the Book

Co-authored by our own J.P. Pawliw-Fry, Performing Under Pressure will introduce you to the concept of pressure management, offering the latest science on how your brain responds under pressure, and many empirically tested strategies to help you overcome the sabotaging effects of pressure. For this book, we undertook a multiyear study of over twelve thousand people to answer the question: what is it about the top 10 percent of these individuals that helps them handle pressure more effectively and be successful? The book has been featured in featured in Forbes, INC., The Financial Times, Training Magazine and many more, and is a NYT and Amazon bestseller. Order your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Audible or Apple ibooks.

About the Author

Dr. JP Pawliw-Fry is one of the founders of IHHP. He co-wrote the NY Times bestseller, Performing Under Pressure, and is sought out by Fortune 500 companies as a keynote speaker. If you want to hear more about how to manage stress and pressure subscribe to his podcast Last 8% Morning on Apple, Spotify, and Stitcher.