Performance Under Pressure

Pressure vs Stress: Transforming Your Life

“High performers take away 3 to 5 times more information from an interaction than average performers,” Dr. J.P. Pawliw-Fry, NY Times Best Selling co-author of Performing Under Pressure, said at the Institute for Performance and Learning‘s recent conference.

Three to five times more information. Imagine how that could change your life.

One of the keys to becoming a high performer is understanding the difference between pressure and stress. The outcome of a pressure moment is:

    •  important
    •  uncertain
    • and you are responsible or judged by it

Pressure moments may be a major client sales pitch or completing a performance review with a failing team member.

Whereas, stress is more about the mounting list of tasks that need to be done. The research you needed to start a project isn’t here yet. Your staff sent you a report with several typos. A client made changes to the project scope.

When we confuse stress for pressure, Dr. Pawliw-Fry says we live our lives like we are always “under the gun.” Everything feels like life or death. Every meeting. Every proposal. Every project. We react out of proportion to the situation. We are in a constant state of readiness – always on edge. And it exhausts our focus, creativity, and logic so we can no longer function at our best.

We have no energy or emotional resources left to perform well in a true pressure moment.

What can we do to improve our performance?

Get clarification

      • Ask yourself if this a really the chance of a lifetime? Your only chance?
        Oprah Winfrey got fired from her first anchor job. Steven Spielburg applied to film school 6 times before he got in. Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper job for lacking creativity.
      • Ask the client or boss what is the most important task here? What is the most important objective? Become very clear about priorities, and focus on those.

Talk yourself down.

      • Will this matter tomorrow, next week, next year?
      • This one moment doesn’t define me. I’m bigger than this.
      • Look at past situations where it all worked out.

Focus on the process

      • Identify what we can control. Our attitude. Our tasks
      • Let go of the outcome to focus on how to proceed.
        You’ll get better results. Olympic athletes and CEOs do it so we know it works.
      • Once you’ve done all you can do, let it go.
        After you’ve provided feedback and support over and over to a poor performing team member, it maybe time to let them go. After you’ve given the sales pitch of your life, make a list of what you did well and ideas for next time. Don’t beat yourself up.

Fill yourself back up

      • Get enough sleep
      • Exercise
      • Stop talking about how busy you are. Yes, you!
      • Ask for help. Surround yourself with supportive people. People you trust. People who are smarter than you.
      • Make time for family, for fun, for friends, for laughing.
      • You cannot succeed without a solid plan for self-care.

If you want your team to perform better, contact us about a great new training program we are offering called Less Pressure. More Productivity.

What’s your one step this week to perform better?

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