Creating Nerves of Steel – The Science of Performing Under Pressure with Dr. Hank Weisinger


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In this episode, we go deep on the science of performing under pressure. We look at why some people perform under pressure and others don’t. We discuss the skill of flexibility and “fluid intelligence,” explore the differences between stress and pressure, look at concrete strategies for managing both in your life, and much more with our guest Dr. Hank Weisinger. Dr. Hank Weisinger is a psychologist trained in clinical, counseling, school, and organizational psychology. He is the originator of Criticism Training and the emerging field of pressure management. He is the author of several books including his most recent New York Times Best Seller How To Perform Under Pressure and his work has been featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ESPN, NPR, and much more!The work on criticism and anger that Dr. Weisinger comes from deep clinical experience and informs his perspective on emotional intelligenceEmotional intelligence is not a new field - it’s been around for a long time - and yet most people don’t grasp the basic premises of emotional intelligenceWhy advice doesn’t work and what you should do instead of giving people adviceYou can’t criticize someone for something they can’t change - the goal of criticism is to create change - and sometimes people can’t change - sometimes the best way to create change is to change your own behaviorA good key to developing the skill of criticism is how quickly you can recognize the defensiveness of another person and use it as a clue that you’re being ineffective and need to try something elseThe faster your recognize that you’re being ineffective the faster change your behavior and create resultsIf you played your best and lost - don’t feel bad. You only feel bad when you play below your capability. Pressure is a villain in your life. There’s nothing good about it. The function of pressure is to weed people out. What is pressure? You're experiencing pressure in a situation where the (a) the outcome is uncertain and (b) its dependent on your performance. Stress and pressure are two different psychological concepts - you must treat them separately and handle them separately. Stress is about having lots of demands on your time and feeling overwhelmed. There are lots of ways to reduce stress. If you have to perform effectively under pressure 24x7 that's a terrible way to liveEvidence-based strategies for reducing the feelings of pressure during the moment“Pressure anxiety” vs “performance anxiety” - what’s the difference and why is it important?How people perform under pressure is often about how they perceive the situation - do they perceive it as threatening or do they perceive it as an opportunity?Don’t get over-attached to an outcome and define yourself and your self-esteem by your job performanceHomework: Literally write down your anxiety and you will do better in your pressure moments. Write them down and they will be less likely to surface during the moment of truth.Homework: Affirm your self-worth before a pressure moment with 3 things that have nothing to do with your performance. Homework: Share your feelings of pressure with others. Homework: Anticipate what might go wrong during a pressure moment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

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