Stress and Pressure are different challenges

STRESS

  • Situations produced by too many demands vs not enough resources (insufficient skills or volume)
  • Not meeting all demands does not impact success or survival as immediately or directly (eg too large volume of work and not enough resources or lack of recovery time for an athlete)
  • Sustained stress burns out the organism, so the goal is to improve the “demands/resources” equation over time

PRESSURE

  • Moments when the results of specific tasks impact your success or survival (eg a championship match; a key sales call)
  • Results have an immediate impact on your success or survival (eg a championship match; a key sales presentation; an emergency landing)
  • It is empirically proven that the belief that “clutch” players perform better under pressure is a MYTH (their performance just drops LESS than the rest)

Reducing STRESS requires modifying the resource/demand balance by …

  • Adding more resources (eg expand team, improve your skill level or build more muscle fibres)
  • Using existing resources more efficiently (leveraging innovations in technology or improvements to process/technique to improve execution)
  • Reducing demands (reducing workload/prioritizing; scheduling rest and recovery periods)
  • Correcting stress factors that, may not be noticeable in the short-term, but will have negative long-term effects

Performing under PRESSURE requires strategies to access your current skill level

  • Focussing on execution/present moment (which you can control) vs anxiety over outcomes (which you can’t control and reduces performance levels)
  • Reframing perceived impact using various techniques (eg one more vs only chance; worst case recovery)
  • Prepare rigorously (systematic desensitization, pre-plan responses to unexpected deviations)
  • Recall successful execution in similar situations to reinforce confidence and execute “sufficiently