Are you the kind of person who thrives in a crisis, or the kind that becomes a gibbering mess? The kind who inspires confidence when the chips are down, or the kind that yells and screams - making everyone want to jump ship? If you answered yes to the latter scenarios, your inability to cope with stress could be killing your chances of promotion.
With a few simple strategies, however, you CAN learn to keep your cool under pressure and become the go-to-person when things don’t go to plan.
Here’s how to keep your calm under pressure:
1. Identify your triggers:
Do you fear public speaking? Are you under-prepared? Are you afraid of failure? The first step to conquering your fears is to own them.
2. Change your perspective:
View signs of stress – the sweaty palms, shortness of breath, accelerated heart-rate etc – as just your body’s way of gearing up for show-time, like an elite athlete before a major event. Then harness that nervous energy for a killer performance.
3. Stay positive:
Retrain your thought process to be kinder to yourself. As soon as negative thoughts start filtering in, cut them off before they have the chance to sprout like poisonous weeds. Visualise resounding success, not crushing failure!
4. Avoid negativity:
Stay away from people who suck all the joy out of life. Prepare a list of quick getaway excuses you can use to guard against being pulled into their negativity spiral.
5. Write down your worries:
Take time out to put your fears or concerns down on paper. Studies prove just the act of writing them down steals most of their power.
6. Centre Yourself:
Practice meditation, do Tai Chi or learn to control your breathing (deeply and evenly) – find and implement the relaxation regimen that calms your nerves or gets anger issues under control.
7. Cut down on the coffee:
Caffeine increases the release of adrenaline which is the body’s “fight or flight drug”. That’s fantastic when you’re running away from a lion, but not so great when you’re about to do a power-point presentation.
8. Build your confidence:
The more you do something, the more ingrained it becomes and the easier it gets. Buttoning your shirt in the morning doesn’t make you break out in a cold sweat does it? No. Why? Because you’ve done it so many times you could do it with your eyes closed. The same applies to the things that scare you at work.
Lack of zzzz’s can make you cross, jumpy, emotional, more susceptible to stress and unable to deal well with change.
10. Use your support systems:
You don’t have to do everything yourself. If you truly do have more work than one person can possibly be expected to complete, learn to say no – or better yet - delegate. If you’re on your own, try hiring a virtual assistant or contract out labour jobs that don’t require your specific expertise.
Top tips to keep calm under pressure:
- The first step to conquering your fears is to own them
- Retrain your mind to shut down negativity
- Lack of sleep will make everything worse
- Find a relaxation strategy that works for you