How Pressure Makes You (or breaks you)

The feeling of pressure is not a bad thing. It is your response to a challenge. Will you fold or access another level of potential?

Pressure: “Let it and it will break you; love it and it will make you.” — Megan Rapinoe

Pressure is the intense discomfort you feel when taking center stage.

All eyes are on you. It can be crushing, oppressive and paralyzing. Your heart is pounding in your chest. Your hands are shaking. You feel nauseous and even a little dizzy.

Adrenaline is racing through your body. You’re like a cornered animal preparing to fight for your life... or shut down completely and retreat.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Alter your perception. Choose to see pressure differently. Instead of letting it crush you, welcome it with open arms. For in these spotlight moments, you have a chance to access another level of performance... to push yourself beyond what is normally possible.

Some people seem to have a higher gear only available during moments of pressure. Other people must learn how to access it through deliberate practice.

Which person are you?

Having great skill is only half the game. You can train your body as close to human perfection as possible, but the mental side of the game can render you impotent at key moments.

Don’t neglect the other half of the game. Train mentally as hard as you do physically. Practice with pressure. Welcome it. Embrace it. Revel in it! When all you have worked for is on the line, you will be ready to access that next level of performance... and shine.

People will stare in wonder at how often you do it. They will see it as luck, but you and I know better. All of your deliberate mental practice has prepared you for these key moments.

The next time you feel pressure to perform, don’t let it break you. See it as opportunity surging, and it will fuel you. Love it and let it make you.