Do you run from stressful situations—or what I like to call a “pressure test?” We all find ourselves in stressful situations from time to time, but we shouldn’t be afraid to step into them. Remember that old saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Growth happens when we move outside our comfort zone, and let pressure and stress challenge us.
Think about it (Mother Nature is so wonderful!) if seeds are stressed before they are planted, they will be stronger and grow significantly bigger compared to the yield of unstressed seeds. It’s a fact! The same is true for us, too. A “pressure test” could help you achieve more than you thought you could.
I recall a time when I was in a potentially difficult situation with my team. I caught myself wondering how we would handle this “pressure test.” I was watching everyone’s reaction closely. I wanted to understand how the team would react—would we pull together? Would we grow as a team and move forward? I was amazed by the way this team reacted. Whoa, Nellie! This group really handled it well. I knew at that moment that the situation had pushed the team to grow stronger, both individually and collectively.
Not many of you would say you enjoy a stressful situation or “pressure test,” but I hope you will let yourself be open to the idea that it can be good for you, and good for your team. Maybe the next time you find yourself in a “pressure test” situation, just remember you will be stronger and better for this experience.
Let me give you a few tips that I have found helpful during those “pressure test” moments.
- Don’t take it personally. Whether it’s money, customers, sales, or whatever, you may find it is not actually directed at you, so treat it accordingly.
- Try to quickly determine the origin of the pressure or stress. This may give you clues on how to handle it.
- Emotionally distance yourself from the stress, because it gives you perspective on the situation.
- Don’t try to be a “fixer.” Let things play out without trying to control the situation.
- If you find that you are the source of the stress or pressure, admit it and own it. If you do, you’ll find that others are more willing to help you find a solution.
- Look at stress as a strengthening exercise, no different than a good workout.
- Smile and remember that the stress is making you stronger.
This week, I challenge everyone reading this blog to step into a stressful situation knowingly. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, you could start small—with something as simple as going into a crowded shopping environment, if that’s stressful to you. Then, take on another stressful situation, such as cordially confronting a situation that’s been brewing at work. You will find yourself building your “pressure test” muscles more quickly than you thought you could—just like working out at the gym.
Don’t let the couch and Netflix create such a comfortable place that you avoid venturing into a potentially stressful situation. Get up and flex those “pressure test” muscles. Net, it will make you stronger. Just do it!
“Pressure test” on—