The Problem With Pressure

Do you ever struggle with all you are required to do, balancing life and career? When things are overwhelming, you start to create patterned responses or habits of thought and behavior that can hold you back in effectively fulfilling your duties. The mind rebels and wants to keep you safe in a comfort zone. It gives in to fear and doubt, it deletes, distorts and simplifies information. When this happens it limits your ability to respond effectively, or to change your approach if necessary.

Put another way, our ability to think clearly is diminished under pressure. The brain will revert to behavior that is most comfortable. Some of you may become belligerent and aggressive. Others can’t stop talking and may become sarcastic. Others avoid conflict and procrastinate. Some become obstinate as their need to be right causes them to dig their heels in. These patterned responses may show up unexpectedly and at/or inconvenient times. Some of your patterned responses have been developed over a life time and are very strong.

The first step in taking more responsibility and control over your patterned responses is to identify your behavioral traits. The increased awareness will help you begin to make better choices. Take a few moments to complete a quality behavioral assessment of your choice. Or I invite you to complete ProScan, one of the best behavioral surveys available click here. The first one is my gift to you. To take this assessment, you must be willing to review the results with me. This allows us to discuss some ways you can reject your patterned responses which may be holding you back.

Choose your response for better outcomes!

The author Spencer Horn is the President of Spencer Horn Solutions, LLC. Additional articles which may interest you: How To Improve Your Leadership Under PressureLeadership Is About Impact Not IntentionHow To Prepare Your Next Generation Of LeadersIncrease Your Effectiveness As A Leader With Perception Science;

10 Stress Reducing Habits

Healthy habits can protect you from the harmful effects of stress.

Here are 10 positive healthy habits you may want to develop.

  1. Talk with family and friends.A daily dose of friendship is great medicine. Call or write your friends and family to share your feelings, hopes and joys.
  2. Engage in daily physical activity.

    Regular physical activity relieves mental and physical tension. Physically active adults have lower risk of depression and loss of mental functioning. Physical activity can be a great source of pleasure, too. Go walking, swimming, biking or dancing every day.

  3. Accept the things you cannot change.

    Don’t say, “I’m too old.” You can still learn new things, work toward a goal, love and help others.

  4. Remember to laugh.

    Laughter makes you feel good. Don’t be afraid to laugh out loud at a joke, a funny movie or a comic strip, even when you’re alone.

  5. Give up the bad habits.

    Too much alcohol, cigarettes or caffeine can increase stress. If you smoke, decide to quit now.

  6. Slow down.

    Go for “pace” instead of “race.” Plan ahead and allow enough time to get the most important things done.

  7. Get enough sleep.

    Get six to eight hours of sleep each night. If you can’t sleep, take steps to help reduce stress and depression (See other 9 steps). Physical activity also may improve the quality of sleep.

  8. Get organized.

    Use “to do” lists to help you focus on your most important tasks. Approach big tasks one step at a time. For example, start by organizing just one part of your life — your car, desk, kitchen, closet, cupboard or drawer.

  9. Practice giving back.

    Volunteer your time or return a favor to a friend. Helping others helps you.

  10. Worry less.

    The world won’t end if your grass isn’t mowed or your kitchen isn’t cleaned. You may need to do these things, but today might not be the right time.

What Sets You Off?


My Emotional Intelligence Experiment

So what is it that sets you off? Becoming aware of what your triggers are, or what pushes your buttons is a great way to increase your emotional intelligence. We all have something or someone who drives us crazy. One of my triggers is, when someone tells me to “calm down”. It seems that approach usually creates the opposite effect in me. Think of Adam Sandler in the movie “Anger Management”. Other triggers for me are public criticism, my kids leaving their shoes where they take them off, picking on each other or placing blame, borrowing things and not putting them back and over-drafting my checking account.

Most of my life I have avoided looking at my behavior too closely. Why? Because it is not comfortable for me. If something upset me I usually repressed my feelings or “powered through”. Not only is that not healthy, it prevented me from learning how to better manage my emotions and feelings. Knowing who and what sets you off is essential to getting control of your behavior. When you become aware of your triggers, you are more likely to stay in control and respond to challenging situations instead of reacting.

The next step is to understand why these triggers set you off. I have found for example, when I am frustrated with some of my children’s behavior, it is usually for behavior that I see in myself. Ironically, I seem to get most frustrated with my children that are most like me in behavior and temperament.

Another source of frustration for me is, because I understand emotional intelligence, it is all the more frustrating when my emotions get triggered. In other words, when I get mentally hijacked, this hijacks me even more because I know better. Kidding aside, knowing your triggers and their sources is a great place to start to control your behavior and emotion. This will allow you to apply self-management techniques as you learn them.

Keep learning and growing!