20 ways to deal with pressure

‘No matter how tough, no matter what kind of outside pressure, no matter how many bad breaks along the way, I must keep my sights on the final goal, to win, win, win – and with more love and passion than the world has ever witnessed in any performance.’   Billie Jean King

If you want to create legacy, chances are you will experience times of extreme pressure. Here are 20 ways to deal with such situations:

 1. Focus on the concrete steps. Focus on what you have to do to take your mind off the pressure. 

 2. Don’t forget about your body. Don’t let your body tighten up. Pain makes it harder to focus even if you are so focused on your task that you’re not aware of the pain.

 3. Stick to the way you work best. Don’t let others bully you into changing the way you work best for their benefit.

 4. Remember to breathe. Your body (including your brain) needs oxygen to function efficiently. When we’re under pressure, it is a natural reaction to stop breathing, but don’t give in to it. When the pressure is at its worst, focus on your breathing. This will both regulate your body better, and allow you to calm down.

 5. Learn about relaxation techniques. Find what works for you; get into habit of using them.

 6. Seek out as many opportunities to experience pressure as possible. It does get easier in time, you just need to allow yourself time and practice to get accustomed to the pressure.

 7. Being anxious is good. Being anxious can help you perform better than usual under pressure, as long as you are in control of the situation.

 8. Prepare to 100% perfection. Prepare thoroughly and only focus on what you can control. The rest will take care of itself, don’t worry about it.

 9. Good preparation makes you lucky. The more you prepare, the more spontaneous and luckier you are.

 10. Go for pressure opportunities step-by-step. Don’t immediately go for the biggest amount of pressure. Just raise the bar a little higher each time.

 11. Create your own pressures. That way, when external opportunities come calling, you will be prepared to make the most of them by staying on top of the resulting pressure. 

 12. Beware of ‘big fish in small pond’ syndrome. Don’t quit just because you are suddenly feeling others are getting ahead. They may be getting ahead now, but as long as you keep working hard you are giving yourself the chance to get back on top. Giving up simply guarantees that others will stay on top and that you are out of the race.

 13. Build a supportive environment. This will help to make the pressure more bearable.

 14. Listen to and read stories. Stories have a therapeutic effect. Also, they have been called ‘equipment for living’ as they show you how to solve problems. Stories are also excellent at revealing you the meaning in what is happening to you.

 15. Don’t worry, be happy. Remember the song, and do what it says.

 16. Smile even if not feeling like it. The act of smiling triggers a reaction in your emotional state, so you will gradually start feeling happier and be better able to deal with the pressure. 

 17. Don’t push yourself over the edge. Think long-term: you burning out will make it harder to create legacy. So learn to listen to the signals your body is sending you, and slow down when you need to.

 18. Find your pace and get others to respect it. Don’t think the opportunities in front of you will disappear if you need to take things more slowly. It is better to go slower than burn out. Find out how far you can push yourself and don’t go any further.

 19. Don’t stretch yourself when you are under pressure. Stick with the safe options in times of pressure, as much as possible. The time to experiment and grow are outside of these times. 

 20. Be kind to yourself. It is natural to mess up sometimes, especially when you are under pressure. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Just examine what went wrong and learn from it. You’ll do better next time.

The time is now.

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Alexa Ispas

I am a social entrepreneur, blogger, and talent scout, interested in helping people who want to create legacy. I have recently completed my PhD thesis in social psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and am originally from Romania. I am writing a daily blog on creating legacy, which you can find at www.alexaispas.com