Five tips to help anyone thrive under pressure

2. Control the controllables

There are things that you can affect, and things you can’t. So make sure you understand your variables. Sport may have fewer than business, but the philosophy is the same. Rugby has three: the weather, the referee and injuries.

You control the rest. No matter what combination of those variables comes together, you should have a response that is well orchestrated and rehearsed. We called it ‘Remove Luck’.  

No culture understands this better than the Royal Marines. One of their most famous mantras relates to ‘dislocated expectations’, which they explain as: “The only thing you can count on in a battle situation is that things will not go according to plan”. They train so rigorously so that when things do go wrong they have the muscle memory and cognitive experience to respond.

3. Take pressure off yourself by thinking about the journey

If you focus on the journey of getting better, then short-term pressures become much more manageable.

My sister alerted me to a clip from Simon Sinek last week, the TED talk specialist. Sinek, in these tough times, has been leaning on the ‘infinite mindset’. He says: “In the infinite game there is no winning, there is only ahead and behind, I’ve stopped trying to label my days as good days or bad days. So sometimes I am having a behind day and sometimes an ahead day. Thinking in terms of behind and ahead reminds me that this has an end. That we will get through this. It will end.”