As my business & brand grow, my inbox gets loaded, contracts get signed, very real deadlines are set, and my business travel schedule fills, I can feel the pressure mounting.

As an athlete, pressure isn’t new to me. It’s something I train for. As a solopreneur, it’s something I’m still trying to learn how to navigate well.

I heard a sports psychologist recently describe pressure as the belief that you need to deliver a performance that’s faster, harder, and/or better than you think you’re capable of.

As hard as it is to admit sometimes, that’s pretty much how it feels and it’s supremely uncomfortable because it makes me question myself during times when I’ve got a lot of skin in the game.

So, for today’s #twothingstuesday, I thought I’d share two techniques that I use to help manage these uneasy feelings of pressure — both in my sport and in life.

(1) Shift the focus off of you. Many times when people crumble under pressure it’s because their focus is too much on themselves — obsessively wondering and questioning whether you possess the right skill set to accomplish the task at hand and whether you’re adequately prepared. Instead, when you feel the pressure mounting, shift the focus onto something else. If you’re about to do some public speaking, focus on what you’ve got to offer the people who’ve (presumably) shown up to hear you what you have to say. If it’s right before a challenging task, focus on the opportunity that you have to learn something about yourself and grow. Or just reframe the times you face pressure as a chance to practice dealing with pressure better.

(2) Stop giving a shit about what people think of you. Look, it’s great to love people — please keep doing that. But don’t let yourself be beholden to what others might be thinking about you or attach their feelings about you to your own personal value. Success & failure are just pieces of feedback. When you give them too much weight and worry about what others will think, you cut yourself off from the benefits of that feedback. Instead of seeing areas where you can improve, you only see that others think you’re a failure. Decouple who you are from what others think about you.

How well do you deal with pressure?

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