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  • Tamar Balkin

How do you thrive under pressure?

Why are some people energised by pressure, and others debilitated?

The more we progress in our careers and the more complex the world of work becomes, the more regularly we need to deal with the unexpected. Irrespective of the specific coaching brief, there is an underlying expectation (self or externally imposed) that my all clients are expected to perform at their best under pressure. A great example was a CEO who was being bullied by his direct report but didn't want to make a formal claim, or leave his job. He told me still wanted to complete a major project involving delicate and complex political negotiations, and leave a legacy and a thriving organisation for his successor. At the six month post coaching follow up, there was a spring in his step, based on his recent achievements he had accepted a board position, been nominated for a significant international role and was re-embracing his leisure time with his family and friends. Have you ever wondered why some people thrive in these circumstances yet others freeze, flee or burn out.. what is their secret?

  • Are they more experienced professionally or better prepared technically?

  • Do they have excellent 'support' teams internally and externally?

  • Is their expertise in life long regular habits to manage their physical, and psychological well being?

  • Perhaps their job is driven by a deep purpose not just a passion?

  • Maybe they wear lucky socks or listen to music, or practice other 'rituals' before an important event?

  • Do they know when to persevere and when to quit?

  • Have they perfected realistic optimism?

Based on the literature and my professional experience, the secret to thriving under pressure is a complex combination of all of the above, that is nuanced to one's individual circumstances. As readers you may have wished for a useful tip to apply right now. However, my favourite subject at University was individual differences, I am fascinated by what makes people different and I thrive when coaching individuals, this biases me towards asking more questions rather than providing answers.

As you know I try to provide you with a picture to either attract your curiosity and open the blog or that connects to the theme. Regular readers will be aware that in the warmer months in Sydney, typically between September and April, I enjoy a quick swim in the ocean. Last week, despite it being a very cold day, I found myself parked at the beach, and decided to put on my headphones listen to some music and take a stroll barefoot on the sand. As I felt the sand under my feet, the Autumn sunshine on my face, and smelt the salty air, I was drawn to wet my toes in the icy water. As I hurried back to the warmth of my car, smiling and sending photos of my feet to some friends and colleagues, I felt invigorated and inspired to look for my next work challenge. So please take a moment, and email your thoughts, what helps you to thrive under pressure? You may also want to watch the trailer for one of my favourite movies about perseverance Eddie the Eagle.

As always please be in touch if you or anyone in your network would benefit from executive coaching.


Please contact me for references

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