3 Ways to Overcome in High Pressure Situations

Competition can often put us in vulnerable situations as we put it all on the line for a chance at personal glory.

But it doesn’t have to create pressure.

Instead, competition can give you experiences and new direction that leads to new personal growth.  In this blog I detail three ways to overcome the feeling of pressure and convert it to new, powerful perspectives.

Look for the reasons you CAN succeed.

Stop looking for the reasons why you can’t and start looking at the reasons why you CAN.


It’s all about pushing yourself to a new level, not trying to prove yourself to anyone.  We are just chasing progress, not perfection.

There is convincing evidence in the form of your qualities, hard work, and experiences that you can progress.

And progress is not pass-fail!

You don’t have time to categorize your experiences, efforts, days, and years as good or bad. By doing that you are just finding excuses to justify what you already know!

Things don’t always work out; life happens; we fall short. Our realities do not always meet our expectations. Who cares!  It is part of the human experience. This is what we signed up!

The act of labeling every occurrence does not help you progress; instead, it forces you to stay stagnant and lose momentum. But so many people do it. Most athletes go into events and rides and score their performances on whether they met or exceeded their expectations. Did I measure up to my expectations? Did I measure up to the expectations of others?

From now on let’s reframe your experiences. Experiences, events, and the days that go as planned (those you’d call “good”) should be reframed as practice. You just practiced what you were already capable of doing. You are refining the process using the ability, skill, and direction that you already have. If everything went right, you were in the correct position, you nailed the nutrition, and you had the expertise for the job. It was a great day of practice. It is nice when it comes together. It’s your moment to enjoy.

In contrast, experiences, events, and days that do not live up to our expectations we should reframe as growth. Growth only occurs in moments where we fall short, we pivot and have to adapt. When things don’t go as planned, there’s no reason to get down. You just found the barrier to your next breakthrough. 

Let’s work together to progress in life and stop worrying about how that matches up to other people’s expectations or even our own.


Change Your Perspective Of Results.

Results guide, they do not define.

I bet that practically every time you finish a group ride or race, you come to the finish and mill around with your fellow competitors, and someone there is griping about their race or making excuses for why it didn’t work out the way they wanted.

It’s natural to have expectations of the results you are targeting. Sometimes you beat them; sometimes you match them; and sometimes you fall short.  However, no matter the outcome, there is always something positive and critical to your growth you can pull from them.

Most people look at results in a very unhealthy and unproductive perspective.  They look at them as if they are a confirmation that they need to justify their effort.  Or they look at results as proof that they are what they think they should be. But using results to define who you are in this manner will leave you stuck in your tracks.  If you succeed, you are at a standstill, complacent as you are overly content and using your past to define your future success. If you fall short, then you are also a standstill, paralyzed with shame and disappointment, reluctant to try as you think you future will be like your past, a failure.

But what if you change results from a need of confirmation to a guide of direction?  Suddenly a result goes from a pot of gold to a road map. The frantic sense of need you had shifts now to a confident sense of direction.

We are in this for the long game, for the constant personal progress, and continuous fulfillment.  With this, now you can perform the FORM way. Free yourself from the pressure from using results to  defining you, and instead use results as guides on your continuous the path forward. No matter what is on paper, now you will always win.

Shift your thinking from what you “can get” to what you “can give.

We all struggle with negative thoughts and self-talk.

So how do you deal with the inevitable negative thought,  “What if I am not good enough?”

You proactively replace that thought with the phrase (CINCH Core Performance Quality): “I am Here to Give, Not to Take.”

But first of all, it is ok to have negative thoughts, it is normal. 

Any sport feeds our natural impulse to compare ourselves to the competition.

Cycling is especially harsh that way because instead of simply winning or losing a tennis game or a round of golf, you could end up finishing 57th out of 71 riders in a race. It’s no surprise that I hear a lot of athletes complain that they aren’t as good as the competition.

However, the results sheet is really one of the most disruptive things a cyclist can look at if they’re trying to improve. There are so many variables that went into that one piece of paper. The majority  of those factors  were totally out of your control. 

Besides competition, sport can steer us towards trying to meet or beat performance expectations.  PR times to hit, power to hold, and past averages can influence us to give up mid effort because we are afraid of falling short.  

Riders more often than not let competition and performance expectations negatively influence their mindset, their training, and even their fundamental love of the sport.

What if you took all the competitors and performance expectations out of the equation.  This CPQ is all about centering your belief on your effort that is part of your own proven process. By doing this you immediately shed comparing yourself to others, fear of failure, and pressure to perform.  Instant freedom creates the environment  to give your best effort.

So please replace your concern with how you stack up against the overs with the phrase and CPQ “I am Here to Give, Not to Take.” By doing this you’ll be able to overcome the high pressure situations, fight through the toughest of rides, and conquer the most competitive environments.

The best part of this CPQ is it creates the foundation to consistently execute in the increasing number of high pressure/competitive situations you will find yourself in as you progress.

Tom Danielson-CINCH Cycling / CINCH Coaching

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