Stress is a normal part of how we go through life, and in today’s workplace, it’s unavoidable. In fact, according to a study by staffing firm Accountemps, rising workplace pressure has more than half of American employees stressed at work. And in our always-available culture, the pressure to be an ideal employee is higher than ever.
However, pressure can be positive. Without pressure, we lack a clear motivator to meet deadlines or get stuff done. Managers and employees should avoid buckling under pressure and instead determine how to leverage pressure to get results.
Our Guest: Dane Jensen, Third Factor
On our latest WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Dane Jensen, CEO of Third Factor and an instructor at the Smith School of Business at Queens University. At Third Factor, Dane helps leaders be more creative and resilient under pressure. He works with athletes, coaches, leaders, and boards across Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic sports system to enhance national competitiveness.
For Dane Jensen, pressure isn’t just stress nightmares. It’s actually a powerful motivator and our best tool to get through some of life’s big moments, including that work presentation next week:
“Pressure is basically…a big ball of energy. It’s a feeling in the pit of your stomach, it’s a physiological response that puts you in an activated state. It’s energy, and it is the energy that’s under pressure that actually gives us the capacity to handle the challenges that create it,” Dane says.
The Power of Pressure
Pressure is often something that we avoid and respond to negatively, but Dane says that tapping into the energy of pressure is the key:
“(Using) pressure as an advantage…starts with (what) Carl Young said decades ago: “What we resist, persists.” When we try to push it away, it just magnifies it. And so our ability to actually see the opportunity in pressure starts with a bit of a mindset flip on, okay, what am I going to do with this energy as opposed to trying to push it away?”
Resilience for the Win
What’s one tool for tapping into the power of pressure? Resilience. Dane says that pressure often causes the need for resilience.
“When we talk about managing pressure, some of that skillset is pure performance oriented. How do we access performance on demand? But a lot of the skillset is around resilience. How do we regain our shape when we’ve been knocked off balance? How do we actually gain from high pressure periods?” Dane says.
Dane believes that pressure empowers us to access the most resilient parts of ourselves:
“It’s the energy under pressure that gives us the muscle memory to recover when we get knocked off balance. (Pressure means) I got a chance, I got a shot, I can impact this thing.”
Lessen Uncertainty, Master Pressure
Over the last few years, uncertainty has colored every part of our lives. Especially when it comes to what kind of work culture we’ll be seeing in the coming years. Dane says uncertainty breeds pressure and offers tips for how to address it:
“The first imperative under uncertainty is to minimize it. Take direct action on the things that you can control (to) create little pockets of certainty. It can be as simple as routine. What is the five step routine that I’m going to do every morning before my virtual commute from the kitchen to my home office? What’s the five step routine I’m going to do at the end of the day?”
The Future of Work
Dane believes the future will see a shift in the way we’ll come together when we step away from the screens for face-to-face interactions.
“The in-person stuff is going to really be rejuvenated in some interesting and unique ways. When we do get together, I think the level of care and attention to detail and experience design that’s going to get layered onto it, and I think is going to be quite unique.”
I hope you enjoyed this episode of #WorkTrends. To learn more about the power of pressure, contact Dane Jensen on LinkedIn.