Courage Under Pressure

Courage Under Pressure September 21, 2016

In my last blog I wrote about the Courage to Lead. I appreciate your positive feedback and the discussions surrounding this topic. In these challenging times, we need more leaders stepping up to the plate. There’s no room for staying on the side lines. An important aspect of courageous leadership is to act, even though you may be filled with fear at that moment. This brings me back to the area of “Pressure to Perform.”

Many people in leadership roles see work situations as anxiety producing or even threatening. Fearful thinking undermines your self-confidence, diminishes your energy and negatively affects your physiology. I’d like to share three strategies to diminish fear and help you focus on what helps you.

The first is to reframe your thinking from “what’s the worst that can happen” to viewing your bold stance or move as a challenge. Or even something fun, like a game. If you can gain insight into how a difficult situation makes you feel and why and then go on to see it in a detached way, chances are that you will minimize your stress and begin to see the situation as a challenge.

Second, visualize your past successes to bolster yourself in trying times. Even if the situation is different, recalling you at your best ignites confidence. Athletes use “muscle memory” to enhance their current performance. Use your positive emotional and visual memories to strengthen you. Remind yourself that you’ve been there before and succeeded. You can do it again!

Lastly, focus on your mission. What is your purpose as a leader? As a team? What is the mission in this situation? By taking the focus off you and viewing the bigger goal, you can gain strength and motivation. The appeal to a higher purpose also inspires others around you to engage and help out.