People deal with pressure in a variety of different ways, but we need to understand the significance of pressure in order to cope with it.
Usually pressure stems from the fear of failure. Fear of failure comes from the reactions we have seen in others or ourselves when we don't excel at something. That fear then continues to build pressure in us when confronted with the same situation over and over again. These kinds of reactions form a belief in us. It's not that we believe we'll fail but we know that the reaction to failure is uncomfortable or unpleasant.
Under pressure, good pressure performers and poor pressure performers differ in two main ways:
- Good pressure performers operate in a peak stress state under pressure. They experience the pressure as a challenge and they move into their peak stress state. This is a state of energy and intensity at which they perform their best.
- A top performer will see pressure as a positive thing. It's their chance to shine. The poor performer will see pressure as a negative thing and will begin worrying about the possible negative reaction to a failed outcome. This makes success highly unlikely.
Coping with Pressure:
Positive self talk can be really helpful. Remembering a past success and setting up a trigger to recall it (like a picture, song, etc.) is another good strategy. Focusing on what you want and why can often keep you going through tough times. Using these kinds of positive reinforcement tools can be what you need to overcome the barriers that have been holding you back.