In today’s VUCA world, we’re surrounded constantly by stress and pressure.

In New Zealand, Saatchi & Saatchi coined a wonderful line many years ago from Minty’s “Made for moments like this.”

I’ve always enjoyed pressure. Pressure situations to me are the very essence of life. They are a privilege to enjoy. When you are feeling the pressure it means you are in the game and you must be close to achieving something very important.

I recently read some ideas on pressure by Bradley Busch, a mental skills coach. His advice is relevant to life, sport and business. Here’s my take on it…

1. Work, work, work and focus on the fundamentals
I’ve always believed in controlling what I can control and not worrying about what my competitors might do. In a new business pitch I never bother with who else is pitching. All I focus on is doing what we do best and ensuring we deliver our best on the day. To do this usually means you have to work harder than the other blokes.

2. Keep it simple
Ignore the politics, the possibilities, the past, and what might happen. Don’t over rehearse, don’t get into too much detail, just push yourself to be great and deliver the winning outcome.

3. Bradley believes that every game is the same. He’s right. The only thing that changes in the final pitch is the importance of winning or losing. If it’s a huge new business opportunity, then the stakes are high. But the game is no different than the game we play every day. The rules are the same. So focus on the game plan, not on the consequences.

4. Play in the now
Our brains crave control and certainty. Therefore, focus on the controllables. It is what we can do that counts, not what the other people might be doing.

5. Don’t fear losing
I have no fear of failure. Winning never comes easy, is rarely predictable, and never follows a straight line. Setbacks always happen. Accept it and you will reduce the stress when they occur. Your energy should then be refocused on the task at hand and handling the problem, not on increasing the stress levels. Setbacks should be converted into passionate feel and belief.

Sean Fitzpatrick told me that when the All Blacks lost a test match, they gathered together and absorbed the pain together. Sean told them to hold that feeling so they knew how badly it felt and they would do anything to avoid it in the future.

Pressure. Bring it on.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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