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How to Work Well Under Pressure

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It's a question you often hear during a job interview: "Do you work well under pressure?" And of course you answer yes. But what does that even mean? Could you elaborate on your answer if the interviewer asked you to?

 

Here are some ways to handle stress on the job, and explain it during your interview.

 

It's all about your attitude.

If you see pressure as threatening, your instinct will be to avoid it rather than conquering it. Instead, look at it as a challenge that you'll have fun meeting, and a valuable experience that will help grow your career.

 

Think about times when you've had to learn a new skill or meet an impossible deadline, and how it has qualified you for a more responsible, rewarding position.

 

Stay in the present.

Worrying about the ultimate success or failure of the process can be overwhelming — and paralyzing. Instead, take it one step at a time.

 

When star athletes are asked if they're thinking about winning the championship, they always say no, they are focused only on the next game or competitor. You can use this same "tunnel vision" to succeed in your own stressful situations.

 

Give yourself positive reinforcement.

When you feel the pressure getting to you, remind yourself that you've handled tough situations in the past and you know you can do it again.

 

As the saying goes, the universe always says yes. If you put out negative thoughts, it will agree with you and give you negative effects. Positive thoughts attract positive events. If you are dominated by fear of failure, you probably will fail. If you believe you will win, that's more likely to happen too.

 

Envision the worst case scenario.

Sometimes it's the fear of the unknown that really stresses you out. So what's the worst that could happen if you fail? Make a plan for dealing with it, and you'll be better able to manage your anxiety and stay on track.

 

Step back and take a good look at this terrible thing that might happen. Is it really the end of the world? Keeping the situation in perspective will also help reduce your stress.

 

Take a deep breath.

When people are in panic mode, they tend to start rushing and stop thinking clearly. This leads to mistakes and makes the situation even worse. Stop and take a minute to empty your mind and just breathe.

 

This breaks the vicious cycle of anxious, useless thoughts ("What am I doing?" "What should I do?" "What is the boss thinking?"), and allows your brain to problem solve objectively, flexibly and creatively.

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