Whether you’re under pressure or not might simply be a matter of perspective. Writing this, there are 42 days to go to the start of the London Olympic Games. Now, there’s a very good chance that for most people a looming deadline for a critical event a kin to the Olympic Games would bring a lot of pressure. This is undoubtedly true for the majority of our Olympians. However, rather than succumb to the pressure, the athletes are very good at consistently choosing their thoughts and attitudes to help exploit the pressure rather than become a victim of it.
One of the simplest things that the athletes and coaches do is stay very focused on making sure they use all of the days available to them to build as much readiness for the key event as possible. Therefore, rather than counting down the clock and feeling like they’re running out of time, they’re all expert at counting up the remaining training sessions (in minutes or strokes or weights lifted) to ensure that every session plays its part in contributing to the final talent pool that will be able to be drawn upon when the Games begin.
Imagine a four year preparation and forty two days remaining. When you know that these remaining forty two days build on a base of one thousand four hundred and eight that have already been exploited within the four year Olympic cycle, you know you’re building on a very strong base; not running out of time to put the finishing touches in place, but looking forward to the chance to see how well you can add to the superb foundations that are already in place.
Even when the Olympics begin, the athletes aren’t counting down the races, days or minutes to their finals. They’re building through the event to see how effectively they can create momentum from performance to performance, so that come the final they have put every piece of potential possible into the melting pot. That then gives them the chance to go and find out how good they can be when they’ve done everything possible to be as ready as they can.
While everyone around them might be trying to pile the pressure on and get them focused on how little time they have remaining, the athletes and coaches are doing their best to stay 100% focused on everything that’s gone before and every opportunity they have remaining to improve.
So, next time you’re facing a critical deadline, see how good you can be at trusting the foundation you’ve already built and then exploiting the time you have remaining to build to the best performance possible.
Pressure is all a matter of perspective and choosing your thoughts and attitudes in those situations provide you with the ultimate control when others might be losing theirs.