Wondering what to do in the hours, minutes, or seconds before the moment of truth? See what activities can help you find your center and deliver your best performance.
- In just a matter of minutes or hours, you'll be in the middle of your high-pressure event. With so little time, it's too late to make big, sweeping changes. You've prepared for many hours, days, perhaps even months, so much time focusing on the external. Take these last few hours or moments to look inside. First, examine the moment. Pressure situations require top-notch people.
You've been given an incredible opportunity. Others may be watching. Many are probably wishing they had the opportunity to be in your shoes. There's a reason you're here though. You're considered special enough to get this opportunity, and on top of that since getting the opportunity, you have continued to better your chances for success. It's your responsibility to give this your full effort. If you're nervous, that's okay. Nerves signal that this is important to you, and if appropriate, share your feelings.
You'll be surprised by the incredible level of support around you. Your efforts and your passion point to success. This will be one of many pressure moments in your life. Enjoy this one. Next, align your body and mind. Pressure situations often require that you comprehend and act in the present while anticipating what will happen next and deciding what you will do in that very next moment.
To survive and conquer the moment, you'll need a wealth of knowledge that's readily accessible in the moment of truth. Keeping a long list of to-dos at the top of your mind, considering every alternative, anticipating every possibility. The pressure just continues to build. In these final moments, your brain is screaming at you to remember 20 different things. More than ever, it's time to focus. When pressure is applied to a person, brains go into overdrive and bodies tend to freeze up and become rigid.
In the final hours before the pressure event, consider taking a rigorous aerobic exercise class. Schedule a workout with a friend or personal trainer that will push you to the limit. Take your body to the point where it begs you to slow down and let it breathe. And, when given a break, remember the wonderful feeling of breathing in these extreme situations. Actually, I highly recommend making this physical activity part of your plan.
If you just can't do it, stretch or maybe just squeeze a ball. Pushing the body allows the brain to focus. It builds confidence. It releases tension in your joints and muscles. Even your face will look more calm. You'll walk taller. You'll look confident. And let's face it, looking terrified and stressed is never a good look. You'll boost your chances of success by showing up physically and mentally relaxed.
How would you feel if a pilot just walked on your plane and immediately prepared for takeoff? For most of us, we want pilots to be a bit more careful with our safety. That's why pilots perform a pre-flight check before each flight. Similarly, before you tackle your pressure situation, it's a good idea to run a systems check on yourself, a short routine. Perhaps two to five minutes is all you need. Get the blood flowing.
Make sure you're limber. Check your posture. Take a deep breath. Briefly describe the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Say your comfort word out loud, one more deep breath, and then imagine your moment of glory. Now, you don't have to follow my routine exactly, but notice what my routine contained, exercises for the body, stimulation for oxygen and blood flow throughout your body, mental exercises to help you recall your key points, vocal exercises to ready the voice.
This isn't a mindless exercise. Quite the opposite. Go slow. Think about what you're doing in each step. Okay, now you're focused, you're relaxed, and you're now physically and emotionally ready to claim your victory.
- Identifying your pressure situations
- Differences between pressure and stress
- Managing pressure to minimize stress
- Managing expectations
- Handling pressure in the moment
- Preparing for future high-pressure situations