Performing under pressure

Performing under pressure

We can either succumb to pressure or we can thrive. The issue is when we feel overwhelmed by pressure and it feels as though we "cant see the wood for the trees"; we panic and our Fight-Flight-Freeze mechanism kicks in. So, how can we teach ourselves to be better at performing under pressure?

Gazing Performance Systems have created an excellent 'Red to Blue Performance Map' as shown below to help depict how we can think more clearly when under pressure.

Mindset as a skill

We need to have a plan of how to deal with pressurised situations. We can teach ourselves to zoom-out from a situation, recognise and accept the discomfort of the things that we can't control, then accept what we can influence before we zoom-in and choose how we think, act and respond - this is where we gain back control from a situation.

This is far easier said then done and will require practice as our previous learned behaviour is likely to want to take over - that's the APE that comes out to play!

We have to consciously move our attention away from the RED and into the BLUE using the gazing principle. We can release our attention by:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acceptance
  3. Letting Go

Self reflection

A useful exercise is to consider the last time you were in the RED:

  • What triggered it?
  • How did you respond?
  • How did your response impact your performance?
  • What could you do next time to avoid you responding like that?

RED versus BLUE

As humans, the problem is our control of attention.  It is human nature to focus on the things that we can't control, we have a habit of ruminating over the negative and where our attention goes, our energy flows!

Fixated Reset
In a past/future loop
Overview, specific, useful focus
Distorted thinking
Clear thinking


 Walking towards pressure

Pressure actually drive performance and people are better able to maintain a BLUE head when they have a clear plan; the ability to zoom out, assess the situation then zoom back in and move towards the desired outcome.