No leader is perfect.  With that in mind, I am going to be real transparent.  I do not handle pressure well.  It shows up on my face.  I get short with people.  My relational intelligence decreases.  I often become insecure.  Granted, my productivity also increases but is it worth it?

I need to improve in this area.  As I examine my life, it really is simply a trust and faith issue with me.  Do I trust God to provide?  Do I trust Him to sustain me?  I am so good at allowing God to use me to encourage others but often fail miserably at being encouraged myself.  Bottom line – this is an area with much opportunity for growth in my life.

This is why I enjoyed Austin Murphy’s February 4th Sports Illustrated article “The Maddest 2 Minutes In Sports” so much.  Five of the last six Super Bowls have been decided in the game’s final drive.  Therefore, Murphy explored the make-up, behaviors, and habits of the most successful quarterbacks during the final two minutes of Super Bowls and championship games.

If you struggle with pressure like I do, the following are 5 Practices Of Highly Successful Leaders Who Can Handle Pressure that I gleaned from Murphy’s article that will help you as well:

  1. Highly Successful Leaders Practice Pressure Situations – By practicing two-minute drills, New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride states that quarterback Eli Manning is forced to “anticipate, make situational calls, and deepen his grasp of what we’re trying to do.”
  2. Highly Successful Leaders Play To Their Strengths During Times Of Pressure – The great theologian Clint Eastwood once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”  Gilbride goes on to add that practice reveals what play Manning is most comfortable with “at the moment of greatest stress.”
  3. Highly Successful Leaders Provide Stability To Others During Times Of Pressure – When you enter a room, does your team get a sense that everything is going to be O.K.?  San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana was renowned for not only being calm under pressure but also soothing the nerves of his teammates.
  4. Highly Successful Leaders See Pressure As An Opportunity – The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is often how they think.  Manning said, “I definitely don’t get nervous (in late game situations).  That’s maybe the difference with other people.  They may think, If we don’t score here, we lose.  I look at it the other way: Hey, we’re about to win.”
  5. Highly Successful Leaders Produce Under Pressure – Regardless of how much pressure you may be experiencing, great leaders simply find a way to get the job done.  New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton says, “We evaluate the quarterback on his ability to take the team down the field and into the end zone with a championship on the line.”

Practice Pressure Situations, Play To Your Strengths, Provide Stability To Others, Take Advantage Of Opportunity, and then Produce.  If you master these 5 practices, you too may be successful during times of pressure.

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