Keep Your Cool When the Pressure’s On!


It's easy to be relaxed when things are going well, but how you respond to stress can set you above the crowd. People with the ability to manage their emotions and remain calm in taxing circumstances are seen as true professionals. Consider the following five nerve-wracking scenarios, along with solutions for keeping a level head.

Situation: An upcoming performance review, PowerPoint presentation, or job interview.
Solution: Practice your self-assessment, your presentation, or your answers to possible interview questions—either in your mind or with a friend. Think through what might go wrong and what questions you may receive, and then visualize how you’ll handle these curve balls. This should help to quiet your nerves.

Situation: You’re angry with someone. 
Solution:  Whether your anger is justified or not, your response needs to be professional. Old adages ring true here: take a deep breath and count to ten, or, better yet, to twenty. This should give you time to figure out how to respond, without embarrassing yourself by looking uncollected, or worse yet, by shouting or name calling. If you’re still hopping mad when you finish counting, walk away and revisit the situation at a later date. 

Situation: You’re feeling anxious or worried. 
Solution: Get on up! Movingis clinically proven to help you manage your anxiety, and gives you some time to be in the moment while your subconscious mind works through what’s causing you to worry. Run or walk, hike or bike. Or spend time outdoors at a park, a beach, a nature trail, a mountaintop. Any of these activities should give you more energy and lift your mood.

Situation: You’re faced with an urgent or important decision, and are torn between your choices. 
Solution: Divide a page into two columns: risks and benefits. Think about all of the risks and benefits this decision comes with and jot them down. Then, thinking about your potential choices, read through the lists twice, each time with one of the choices in mind. Does it minimize your risks? Does it provide benefits or solve the issue? The choice should become clear. If not, pretend you’ve selected your way forward. Your decision should dissipate your anxiety. If it doesn’t, you’ll know this is the wrong choice. 

Situation: Someone has pushed a “hot button.”
Solution: Learn to recognize which situations and/or people cause you to lose your equilibrium, and to realize that what you can control your reaction. Instead of letting your feelings drive what you’ll say next, continue to focus on what the other person is saying, and what they’re trying to accomplish. Breathe deeply, and think about the best way to de-escalate your feelings in order to work toward the common goal.

Your character, presence, and professionalism can drive your career as much as your skills do. The program for this year’s Administrative Professionals Conference is built to help you become your best and serve your organization the best you can. Sessions like Connecting Across Differences; Get Stress Under Control for Better Balance and More Satisfaction; and Radiating Executive Presence: Professional Style and Delivery could serve you well. Join us in Las Vegas!

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