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13 Secrets to Performing Well Under Pressure

Focus on the task

Instead of worrying about the outcome, worry about the task at hand.

That means developing tunnel vision. When you keep your eye on the task at hand (and only the task at hand), all you can see is the concrete steps necessary to excel.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

13 Secrets to Performing Well Under Pressure

13 Secrets to Performing Well Under Pressure

https://www.inc.com/business-insider/13-secrets-to-performing-well-under-pressure.html

inc.com

12

Key Ideas

High-pressure moments as a (fun) challenge

Most people see "pressure situations" as threatening, and that makes them perform even less well. 

But, "when you see the pressure as a challenge, you are stimulated to give the attention and energy needed to make your best effort." 

To practice, build "challenge thinking" into your daily life.

One of many opportunities

Is this high-pressure situation a good opportunity? Sure. Is it the only opportunity you will ever have for the rest of your life? Probably not.

Before an interview or a big meeting, give yourself a pep talk: "I will have other interviews" (or presentations or sales calls). 

Focus on the task

Instead of worrying about the outcome, worry about the task at hand.

That means developing tunnel vision. When you keep your eye on the task at hand (and only the task at hand), all you can see is the concrete steps necessary to excel.

Plan for the worst

"What-if" scenarios can be your friend. By letting yourself play out the worst-case outcomes, you're able to brace yourself for them.

The key here is that you're anticipating the unexpected. Instead of panicking, you'll be able to (better) "maintain your composure and continue your task to the best of your ability."

Take control

In a pressure moment, there are factors you have control over and factors you don't. 

Focus on the factors you can control, not on the "uncontrollables," that could intensify the pressure, increase your anxiety, and ultimately undermine your confidence.

Remember your past success

Remembering your past success ignites confidenceYou did it before, and you can do it again.

Once you're feeling good about yourself, you'll be better able to cut through anxiety and take care of business.

Be positive

Belief in a successful outcome can prevent you from worry that can drain and distract your working memory.

Anxiety and fear are stripped from the equation, allowing you to act with confidence.

Get in touch with your senses

When you're under a deadline and the world feels like it's crashing in, you're particularly prone to making careless errors.

To depressurize the situation, focus on the here and now. Tune into your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? How's your breathing?

Listen to music

By listening to music, you're able to literally distract yourself from your anxiety.

Create a pre-performance routine

The idea here is to create a (brief) routine that you go through in the minutes before you present or perform, Weisinger and Pawliw-Fry suggest.

A "pre-routine" prevents you from becoming distracted, keeps you focused, and puts you in the "zone" by signaling to your body it's time to perform.

Slow down

When you're in a high-pressure situation, it's natural to speed up your thinking. It can lead you to act before you're ready. 

Slow down. Give yourself a second to breathe and formulate a plan. You'll think more flexibly, creatively, attentively, and your work will be all the better for it. 

Share the pressure

Telling someone else about the pressure you're feeling has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress.

Sharing your feelings allows you to examine them, challenge their reality, and view a pressure situation in a realistic manner.

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Do something that terrifies you

But you don’t have to constantly be battling your fears. You only need to be courageous for 20 seconds at a time.

If you courageously confront fear for 20 seconds every single day, before you know it, you’ll be in a different socio-economic and social situation.

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

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Have Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is being willing to look at your mistakes or failures with kindness and understanding—without harsh criticism or defensiveness. 

Most of us believe that we need to be har...

Remember the "Big Picture"

Thinking Big Picture about the work you do can be very energizing in the face of stress and challenges because you are linking one particular, often small action to a greater meaning or purpose. 

Something that may not seem important or valuable on its own gets cast in a whole new light. 

Rely on Routines

Every time you make a decision, you create a state of mental tension that is, in fact, stressful. 

The solution is to reduce the number of decisions you need to make by using routines. If there's something you need to do every day, do it at the same time every day. Have a routine for preparing for your day in the morning, and packing up to go home at night. Simple routines can dramatically reduce your experience of stress. 

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Resilience

... is the ability to adapt to adversity or significant stress.

When faced with difficulty, resilient people recover more quickly. They view setbacks as temporary, move forward despit...

Optimistic explanatory style

The ability to perceive setbacks as temporary and solvable.

Instead of viewing stress as a sign of failure or as a threat, you can choose to look for the challenge within it or the lesson to be learned.

Finding meaning within chaos is a core component of resilient leadership.

Self-awareness and resilience

Resilient people take the time to understand what they’re feeling, even if it’s uncomfortable.

To manage your emotions effectively, you must learn to express yourself clearly, assertively, and with empathy for others.

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A growth mindset is a desirable thing to have...

...so many people declare they have it:

  • If they are open minded and flexible, they said they have it
  • If they are kind to people, they said they have it 

But a&nb...

The growth mindset

...is the belief that your abilities can be improved through effort. 

And this means you can get better and hard work pays off.

Tips for encouraging a growth mindset (in yourself and in others):
  • Don’t praise ability or intelligence: That promotes a fixed mindset. Compliment effort, process and choices.
  • Don’t ignore outcome, tie it to effort: You can be happy about success, but attribute it to effort.
  • Respond positively to failure: Failure isn’t bad, it’s a tool for improving.
  • Don’t just say “Try hard.” Set goals: Blind repetition doesn’t work. 
  • Practice a Growth mindset in all areas of life: There’s no area where they cannot improve with hard work.
  • Share your own Growth mindset efforts: Practice it yourself and share your results.
The Wild Procrastinator

You are indecisive and often deals with things in the nick of time. But procrastination has a physical and social toll as your body and your coworkers get stressed over it.

Solution...

The Perfectionist

You are obsessed with your idea of perfection and end up spending way too much time on a specific task. This leads to feelings of being overwhelmed, missed deadlines and delaying other priorities.

Solution: Make sure you have achievable standards that don’t get in the way. Train yourself to do things that fall short of your idea of perfection until you begin to accept that the “imperfect” but functional is enough for most things.

The Underestimator

You often miscalculate how long it will take to do something to the point of missing deadlines and having to reschedule.

Solution: Schedule more time than you expect to take to finish a task, learn how to work faster and to estimate time more accurately. Reviewing past assignments duration will give you good time estimates for future reference.

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Learn to be ok with discomfort

If you know you have a high-stakes event coming up, become familiar with feeling pressure and learn to work through it. 

For example: If you need to give a presentation to cowo...

Establish a pre-performance routine

Whether it’s taking a few deep breaths, doing some light stretching, or having a quick phone call with someone you trust, spending your last few minutes doing something active before a big event will prevent you from spiraling into worry, so you can perform confidently.

Shift your attention away from worries

... and to the task at hand. 

Mindfulness can help you regain a sense of calm and focus your attention, so you can avoid being caught off guard by your anxiety. You can see it for what it is, and choose to direct your attention elsewhere. 

Go Big Early

Most youngsters start by taking safe jobs and then are tied in the mortgage, unable to do anything else, being chained to their jobs.

The idea is to take your biggest risks early in life.

...
Enjoy The Process

Great, world-changing work is when you enjoy the process.

If you are focussed on earning more due to external and social pressures and expectations, you won't have a long career.

Your work has to be your art. You have to be obsessed with your craft, and be able to do it for free, if need be.

Don't Stress about Future

If you don't know what your art is, that is ok. You are just early in the process. Most people in their 20s and 30s haven't had their entire lives figured out.

Try different jobs, have varied experiences and find your calling.

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Shallow breathing

We loose the ability to breath deeply naturally as we age: deep breathing comes naturally to children, but we lose the ability because we’re in a constant state of fight-or-flight, low-level str...

Controlled breathing

... is the fastest, most effective way to trigger the relaxation response, enabling you to think more clearly and perform better under pressure.

Navy Seal tricks

The Navy SEALs use 2 breathing techniques that force the body into a more relaxed state when they’re in a high-pressure situation:

  • Tactical breathing
  • Box breathing.

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HIIT: high-intensity interval training
HIIT: high-intensity interval training

HIIT workouts generally combine short bursts of intense heart-pounding exercise (during which a person’s heart rate reaches at least 80 percent of its maximum capacity, usually for 1 to 5 minute...

The most well-established benefit of HIIT...

...has to do with heart health: Intervals can boost cardio-respiratory health with a smaller time investment compared to continuous forms of exercise

It's not about superior fat-burning capacity or bigger muscles, but about improved VO2 max, a measure of endurance that calculates the maximum volume of oxygen the body can use.

VO2 max is one of the best predictors of overall health.

HIIT and weight loss

People can burn comparable amounts of calories in HIIT routines lasting, compared to longer continuous exercise routines. But  this doesn't mean that calorie burn translates into weight loss

This is the problem with HIIT, just like with any other form of exercise: it’s much easier to lose weight by cutting calories in your diet than trying to burn excess calories.

Visualize the destination

Take a moment to visualize the calm after the storm: the work is done and done well, and you’re celebrating with your team. 

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Motivate yourself with a reward

People who know their hard work will be tangibly rewarded tend to perform better than those who don’t

Whether it’s a vacation, something you’ve been wanting to buy, or dinner at your favorite restaurant, pick a reward that will keep you going and pretend it’s already yours.

Focus on your actions

Craft a routine or system for getting the work done. Focus on your daily actions and carry out your plan with discipline and determination.

A routine can help prevent panic and distraction, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

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