Thrive on Pressure and Better Under PressureI was going to write a blog entry on how we create our own pressure - like the pressure to do a blog post. In reality it would make no difference if I skipped it. But then I tried to come up with the idea on what are the "must dos" and found that even those were choices created by our values.
For example, I was going to suggest that there was a need to work out. But reality is, I could skip a few days and likely not be less healthy. Or I could give it up altogether and still likely only have minor effect (like perhaps I would be heavier, weaker and live a slightly shorter life).
So reality is. We create it ourselves. I tend to create more of it than most people (or at least that is my perception). I am always under high pressure. Part of me knows this is the way I like it.
I read 2 books on pressure. Thrive on Pressure - Lead and Succeed When Times Get Tough by Graham Jones and Better Under Pressure - How Great Leaders Bring out the Best in Themselves and others by Justin Menkes.
Loved Menkes cover - a picture of coal with a diamond.
Menkes book is drawn for 60 interviews with CEOs (listed neatly in the acknowledgment section in the front). Of course I love real CEOs with real examples.
The book has 8 chapters. The interesting thing is chapters 2 and 3 are both titled Realistic Optimism and 4 and 5 are Subservience of Purpose and 6 and 7 are Finding Order in Chaos. They do however have different subtitles.
The order in chaos chapters resonated well. I often find chaos is a result of pressure or the other way around. If I can find the order and clarify it, the pressure subsides.
I enjoyed the final chapter the most - "Setting the Virtuous Flywheel in Motion". I am a big believer in momentum. I race hard to get things moving and once they are moving, they tend to keep moving.
Jones book is more of a how-to book.
It starts with a great chapter on "Now is no time to hide". This is a great message of leaders in times of pressure.
It is broken into 5 Master Classes with a few chapters devoted to each:
1 - Real leadership, pressure and mental toughness
2 - Staying in control under inevitable stress that comes with being a real leader
3 - Strengthening your self belief and ability as a leader
4 - Channeling your motivation to work for you in your role as a real leader
5 - Directing your focus to things that really matter in your role as a real leader.
Each chapter starts with key topics and ends with key takeaways which makes it fast to read and follow.
Some of the key takeaways I liked:
Mental toughness can be developed.
Most stress is self imposed
Focus on what makes a difference.
Both are great and recommended books for anyone studying how to deal better with pressure.