Write out your concerns about the high pressure situation you are facing.
Worrying about what can go wrong diminishes processing power in our brains, known as working memory capacity, or WMC. WMC is housed in the prefrontal cortex; it allows you to keep in mind the information that is critical to the task you are performing. When we are concerned or worried about something, our working memory capacity is overtaxed
Psychologist Sian Beilock has found that writing out your concerns can help you avoid choking and permit you to do your best.
Writing out your specific concerns before a high-pressure situation helps you to minimize distractive thinking, which eats up your working memory capacity. Expressing your concerns in writing increases your insight into the sources of the pressure. These insights allow you to reexamine and reappraise the situation in a way that decreases your tendency to worry when you need your “A” game.
If you see your daughter feeling the heat over an upcoming test, encourage her to write down her thoughts and feelings about the test. The same is true for an anxious coworker the day before his presentation, or a friend before an upcoming interview or sales call.
Invest in an old-fashioned pad and spend a few minutes writing down your feelings about upcoming pressure moments. The short time investment can give you strong performance returns.
This is an excerpt from Performing Under Pressure.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JP Pawliw-Fry is co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, Performing Under Pressure. He is keynote speaker, and the founder of IHHP, a global research and learning company that specializes in helping organizations and leaders leverage the science of emotional intelligence and performing under pressure. The research and strategies presented in the book, keynotes and in HHP’s training programs have been leveraged by numerous Fortune 100 companies, including long-term relationships with Johnson and Johnson, PWC, Goldman Sachs, HSBC as well as Olympic medal winning athletes. (Co-author: Hendrie Weisinger.)
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.