Here’s Why It’s a Myth That You Perform Better Under Pressure

I’m a whole picture kind of gal.  And I suspect that many of you coaches out there are too.  Meaning, you typically see things, goals, and projects as they are in the finished state, whole and perfect, the way we want them to be.  This is wonderful for many reasons – seeing the end result allows to you to be really clear on what you want.  But the blind spot of the whole picture mind is the oodles of steps that have to be taken in order to achieve it (I have a way for you to manage that below). You would not believe (well, ok, you probably would) how many times I hear coaches say that they had this grand vision or incredible epiphany for a new program/product which they nearly jumped out of bed at 2 a.m. to tell their people about.  Then, as soon as it was a suitable hour, they put out the word for this incredible something and by noon had 10 people signed up.   Wonderful, Amazing, Astonishing…

Your whole picture view is like an imaginary planet. 

You can see it in your mind’s eye; you can feel it in your core.  And you just launched 10 people in a spacecraft to this imaginary planet.  OMG, let’s hope they reach it safely while you discover the route, navigate the turbulence, and mitigate the unknowns.

And just about now, your stress levels have soared.  You aren’t sure how you are going to throw this all together in time and make it all work.  I can hear you saying, “Why did I do this to myself?!”

It is a myth that you perform better under pressure.

The truth is – you perform well under pressure, but with a proper balance of deadlines and time to plan, you will perform extraordinarily.  What might that look like for your clients?

Please, do not board the spacecraft…yet.

Let’s talk about personality.  You have one, I have one.  Chances are they are very similar.  Even though I have done the very thing I described above (eh hem…many times), I also reached a point where external stressors in my life dictated that I learn to manage the internal stressors which were mostly the ones I created myself.  Before I go further, let me tell you about Sophia.

Sophia moved like lightening.  Not only physically, but mentally.  She was one of the sharpest, most driven go-getters I have ever had the insane joy of knowing.  Our conversations often left me exhausted in just keeping up with her mind…it was great.  Sophia was a life coach for 30 something female entrepreneurs.  Her knowledge and gut intuition was incredible.  She could have a 30 minute conversation with you, and in turn, tell you in 10 minutes or less how to balance your life in a way that allowed you to experience your dreams AND grow your business exponentially.  She blew me away.

Her own stress levels were through the roof.  The speed that she operated at was an indicator of this.  She slept very little – about 4 hours per night and even though she exercised and ate relatively well, she would hit inevitable walls that took her out of actively working on her own business, following up with clients, and finding new clients.

She would go and go, create and create, until she found the wall, which she eloquently hit at 90 mph. 

She would be down for a month or more in a stress induced stupor.  It wasn’t pretty and it actually hurt all the business she had generated the 6 months before significantly because it would seem as if she had fallen off the face of the earth.  And she had, metaphorically.

Sophia needed to find a pace, a rhythm to her creative energy and cut throat drive.

For Sophia, she found that her incessant whole picture visions were so inspiring that they triggered her insane drive to get things done and achieve.  This created a ton of internal stress which her mind and body could only bottle for so long.

Does this sound familiar?

Let me give you a dose of tough love…

Are you willing to continue to ignore this destructive behavior and as a consequence lose your business, your efforts yet again?  Are you willing to accept that what you are creating now will have a short life span as will the others you start and destroy after…over and over again?

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.

Arnold H. Glasow

I know that sounds harsh, but it is for a reason.  Please know that while many may applaud your hard work ethic and immensely creative mind, it is really a great big blind spot that allows you to never see the demise ahead of you.  It is okay, I have a plan, just like Sophia and I did.

You must harness your creative energy into setting a pace that promises success and sustainable business operations, so you can relax, plan, delight, and not have to hit that wall and spend a month in bed recovering.

You must value your business and clients (and what it will bring you) enough to handle it delicately and with great respect.

Here is what Sophia and I did:

1.  Created a layout on a dry erase board that had four columns.  The column headings were:

  • Brainstorm

  • Research

  • Plan

  • Implement

 2.  Across the bottom under the columns we listed: Under “Brainstorm” we had a series of questions that she would ask herself of her big picture vision like, “Which client persona does this make happy?”  Or “What problem does it solve?”

  • Start date (for the program or idea).

  • Delivery date (a minimum of 6 weeks out from the start date) This is the date which you start promoting.

3.  If she could answer these questions with confidence, she would move the project onward to “Research” which would then require her to discover resources needed, costs, how many clients she would need to participate to recoup costs and make a profit, how much time it would require of her, could it be duplicated, was it simple or overly complicated, etc.  You get the idea.

4.  Once she passed the Research phase, she when into Plan.  This meant she would create the content, pass some tasks on to her team, and prepare all of the media needed to promote it.  At this point, she could begin whispering hints of the new program with her people.

5.  Finally, she could implement, meaning start sending out her email campaign, social media strategy, etc.  She already knew what numbers she had to meet and had the time to achieve it without a boatload (wait, spacecraft load) of stress.

Do you know what happened?  She actually did better than when she would impulsively act on her whole picture visions.  She signed up more clients, retained more clients and all with more sleep, less stress, and a way to manage her gifts.

Sophia learned to respect her business as more than an outlet to abuse with her impulsive behavior.  Harsh, but oh so true.

Now, she nurtures her business and her gifts.  Totally awesome!

If any part of this story resonates with you and your own behavior as a coach building a business, please take it to heart.

I’m not willing to do this over again, my business I mean, I have too much respect to throw it away after it has suffered the ravages of my personality.  So pace it, cultivate it, and by all means love what you do.

As always,

Meet Me on the Sofa, let’s talk

Michelle Anne

P.S. Sophia and I used sticky notes to write a project idea on and would move that through the grid on the whiteboard.  If the project didn’t pass a phase, we simply removed the sticky note and focused on the next one.

Michelle Anne About Michelle Anne
You don't understand technology as well as you'd like, but your coaching business needs it. Creating secretly wonderful connections between people & technology is the cat's pajamas and I like it. I connect, so you can BE brilliant.