Your Relationship With Pressure

Hi I’m Rick Sessinghaus. What’s your relationship with pressure? What the heck does that mean? And what I mean by that is when I talk about performance with executives and athletes, they usually know what to do. They’re already highly skilled, but why don’t they always do it? Well, pressure and stress can be the biggest interference. That’s what I teach, and that’s what I coach is how do you now deal with an environment which has a lot of pressure from the competition? We’re overwhelmed and stressed, and how does that actually make your skills perform?

So let’s put the skills to the side because you already know what you should be doing. But if your relationship with stress and pressure is one of “oh no I can’t take this anymore and I want to push away from pressure and stress,” then you’ve already lost the battle. So dealing with and then actually performing at a high level under pressure has to do with a few key elements.

The first one is the meaning in the first place. How are you defining the stress and the pressure? So I have some high-level athletes and executives that bring that on. I love pressure. It makes me focus better. I know it’s important. I bring my best to the table when I’m under pressure. The meaning of that already puts them in a different performance state. But again, if I’m looking at stress and pressure as something that would interfere, get in the way, become a distraction, or I can’t take this anymore, we’ve already lost the battle. So, be clear on what is your meaning you’re putting to certain stressful events. And look at them at least in a neutral way like well, this is part of what I signed up for. This is part of being an elite performer; some of these things are going to come my way. “Okay. I got this.” So part of the meaning is the self-talk. “I got this.” Right? That’s a key little statement there. If you can now admit I’ve got this. Let’s keep going. Or bring it on. That self-talk can really, really help you to deal with those stressful environments.

So we have a better meaning, more empowering meaning, but at the moment, what do stress and pressure tend to do to us. It actually affects our thinking. If we get overwhelmed, we can’t think straight. We get distracted very easily, and our emotions, we may get a little anxious right?

So we’ve got a better meaning. We next need to create focus. What is in my control right now? Okay? Because anxiety is about the future. I want to know what is in your control right now. I’ve talked in other videos about routines. Routines is a way to create a checklist of okay, this is what I want, this is how I can do it, this is how I’m going to prepare myself, and now you develop a routine. So now in the moment I know what’s in my control, but if you focus on what’s out of your control, you’re going to now allow pressure to now dictate how you’re going to feel.

The last area is about actually your physical feelings. So emotion is energy in motion. So if I am feeling stress, which again stress is a physical response to my environment, and it’s not where I want to be. I’m noticing I’m tight and I’m irritable. I’ve gotta do something with that. So you have to develop routines now that have to do with assessing your tension. Assessing your heart rate going up. Maybe you need to take a deep breath. Maybe you need to roll the shoulders back. Now you’re regaining control of your physiology.

So we had new meaning of what stress and pressure is to you. We have self-talk, which now actually look forward to these situations. We then focus on what’s in my control. But then finally, we have to assess where am I at? Again, working with athletes, executives for so long, how are you now dealing with pressure and stress. It has actually a response and a reaction in your body. We have to do something with that through breathing, through how we use our body. But then ultimately, about what are we thinking. “I got this. No problem. I can’t wait to do this.” Because those statements are actually going to make you feel different.

So today I want you to start to look at stress and pressure as something that is good. It brings out your best performance. And when you can now know what’s in your control, assess where you’re at, use proper self-talk, you’re going to not only perform for success now, but you’re going to perform for success in the future.

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