Navigating Stressful and Pressured Situations- A How To Guide

by | Apr 9, 2020 | Blogs

As an entrepreneur or someone in a senior leadership position, I can imagine that there are a number of times in and out of your work and business, you are faced with challenging, pressured and stressful situations.

  • Meeting objectives or KPI’s
  • Leading others in your team
  • Growing your business and being more profitable
  • Succeeding in your career and accomplishing that promotion
  • Making effective decisions
  • Creating a strong working culture
  • Meeting the needs of customers more effectively than your competitors

As a London Executive and Business coach, one of the key reasons clients seek me out for coaching is to make sure they are performing at their best but also, to ensure they can effectively navigate the stress and pressure they experience through their role.

For today’s article, I want to share with you a number of steps you can take to help you navigate any pressure you experience day to day and perform at your very best in the key areas that matter most towards your business, work and personal livelihood.

When I coach any clients around pressure, these are some of the key insights that stand out to me: 


1. Pressure is very normal and human

One of the biggest things that has really helped me during times of intense stress and pressure, is to remember how normal and human it is to feel this way.

Every single Entrepreneur and leader I have ever coached experiences stress and pressure but in ways that vary from person to person.

If you are feeling stressed at all within the pressure of your role, don’t give yourself a hard time. This will only turn up the heat and hinder your performance. Instead give yourself some space and time to switch off and completely take a step back whether 10 minutes or an hour and you will then return with a fresher and more creative perspective.

Slowing down during times like this is truly speeding up.

2. Where your pressure is ACTUALLY coming from

Whenever I coach any entrepreneur or leader, I often see we have a belief that stress or pressure comes from our business or our work or our livelihoods.

The truth behind this which is good news and also very liberating is that, it is not our business or work which is inherently stressful.

There are sure times when the pressure really is ramping up and does gain the better of us, and there are other times things feel more flow like like or calmer but pressure and stress Isn’t a constant factor inherent in the things we do. If business or work was stressful…we would be constantly stressed. 

Where the pressure does come from, is when we are usually caught up in our fears about what we think will happen.

What if I fail? What if things fall apart? What if I don’t succeed? What if I failed to meet my target? What if I fail to achieve my objectives? What if what if what if?

Sound familiar?

Sometimes, it’s very easy to forget how real our fears feel and we end up being so concerned about our fears versus directing our energy and focus to the very things our business or work requires right now. 

When we recognise the role our fears play, we then begin to slow down and actually feel less concerned or stressed about what could go wrong as our fears come and go….

We then return to a space which you might describe as being the flow where we are calmer, more focused, we make effective decisions and take strategic actions that can help you succeed.

It really is okay to feel human and concerned about what lies ahead, but what makes these moments easier is that they come and go just like the weather and we can learn to thrive and succeed during these times.


3. The truth about pressure

You don’t need pressure to succeed.

I’m not sure if you noticed this in others, but you might be able to think of that one person in your business or office that looks like they’re constantly stressed.

Very often, I find that the reason people experience higher levels of stress and pressure is because on some level, they think that their success comes about and is a direct result of the stress & pressure they place on themselves. 

Now I appreciate at times we experience the pressure of challenging situations but think about the areas of your life where you experience success, harmony and flow… Your relationships… Your health… Your family life…

Can you imagine if adding stress and pressure would help or hinder you in these areas?

We have this belief that in order to succeed at anything, we need to ramp up the amount of stress and pressure we put on ourselves in order to perform.

I used to absolutely do this personally thinking the more pain, the more gain. The more I go all in and try to do life on 5th gear….you get my drift. 

The truth is, that the more pressure we put on our self, the less clear focused and effective we really are in the things that matter most.

It might sound so counterintuitive but when we release the pressure and stress from any part of our performance, we begin to become so much more effective and make much better decisions and key actions towards the goals we want to achieve.

Can you imagine a sports person ramping up the pressure for themselves before they go onto a pitch or someone ramping up pressure before a date they are going onto…or a pitch….or presentation…or anything else. 

You can just imagine the disaster this would be, but for some reason we don’t see it this way with Business and all the things that we believe matter.

I’m guessing in the key areas where are you really thriving and succeeding, this is as a result of you throwing yourself into things, life, business and the task at hand to do what’s required.

It’s the same concept as ‘Beginners Luck’, when we throw ourselves into any task without feeling like our life, success and wellbeing is on the line (which it rarely ever is), we tend to do so much better and go further.

I don’t believe beginners are lucky…but the mindset behind beginners luck can point us to something extraordinary to see for ourselves and the impact we want to make.

I talk more about this same understanding in one of my recent articles on Stress & High Performance HERE

4. Navigating Pressure = Extraordinary Leadership 

One reason I really love this understanding and approach, is because of the invaluable character growth or personal development that occurs which only helps us create more success and a bigger impact.

I truly believe to be effective leaders or entrepreneurs, we need to have great self-awareness. I’m sure you’ve worked with managers or have had bosses who have struggled with the leadership side of their work but are competent and great at what they do.

This is a classic example of what I am talking about here and the more we can understand ourselves, the more impactful we are for others.

Through understanding the truths about how we experience pressure, the less we begin to add pressure on to ourselves, our game or objectives and goals. As a result, we are so much more calmer, focused, effective and inspirational for the people we are leading, managing and supporting.  

Whenever I have coached anybody on the topic of confidence towards their goals and vision, often, the answer is lowering the stress and pressure we place on ourselves because what then comes through is our real abilities to perform in the most challenging and simplest of situations

I also talk about this HERE in my article with Stylist Magazine

Thanks once again for visiting my website and reading this article, if I can support you with the insights shared in this article or toward anything you’d like to accomplish this year in your business or career, please do send me an email telling me more and it would be great to connect with you.

Feel free to email me at [email protected] and it would be great to hear from you.

My best wishes,
Raghav Parkash