Sept. 21, 2021

The Power of Pressure: How Pressure is Actually Good For Us

The Power of Pressure: How Pressure is Actually Good For Us

What’s the most pressure you’ve ever been under and how did you react? According to Dane Jensen, how we navigate our highest-pressure moments has a huge impact on the overall trajectory of our lives, both in terms of how successful we are and how much we enjoy the journey along the way. He explains about the difference between stress and pressure, tools we can all use to cope, and why being better at time-management is most definitely not the answer.

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Transcript
00:00:00 Speaker 1: this is life Speak 00:00:04 Speaker 2: a podcast 00:00:04 Speaker 1: about well being, mental health 00:00:07 Speaker 2: and building resilience 00:00:08 Speaker 1: through knowledge. Here's Marianne Wisenthal. 00:00:12 Speaker 1: I'm 00:00:12 Speaker 2: Speaking today with Dane, Jensen Dane is the ceo of 3rd 00:00:16 Speaker 1: factor, a leadership 00:00:18 Speaker 2: development firm that 00:00:18 Speaker 1: helps leaders, 00:00:19 Speaker 2: athletes and coaches be more effective, creative and resilient under pressure. He teaches at the smith School of Business at Queen's University and the keenan flagler business school at the University of north Carolina 00:00:31 Speaker 2: Dane is also the author of a new book called The Power of Pressure, A Guide to thriving under the demands of our pressure packed world. He joins me today from Toronto Canada. Welcome to the Life Speak podcast. 00:00:42 Speaker 1: Thanks so much mary ann it's great to be here. I want to start with a quote 00:00:45 Speaker 2: from the book, pressure can give us super powers. If we know how to use it, pressure sets world records, pressure fuels bravery, 00:00:53 Speaker 2: pressure breeds persistence 00:00:55 Speaker 2: pressure is power. And yet when you first pitched the idea for a book on pressure, many publishers said that they were more interested in a book on keeping calm. Now, why do you think that is? 00:01:06 Speaker 1: Yeah. You know, I think pressure gets a bad rap. Um you know, it kind of sits alongside death and taxes as you know, it's like this certainty in life. If we're going to do interesting things were going to experience pressure, but I think it's often 00:01:22 Speaker 1: like death and taxes. It's like just this inevitable but nasty kind of certainty that we have to manage and deal with 00:01:29 Speaker 1: along the way. 00:01:31 Speaker 1: And so, you know, I do think that people, 00:01:35 Speaker 1: I think just intrinsically and you know, they're more interested in, Okay, how do I stay calm then? How do I embrace the pressure that I'm under? Listen, I'm not here to say there are no benefits to being calm. I think being calm is fantastic and we need space for recovery. We need space to replenish our energy and to, you know, to find our center and all that really good stuff. That's an important part of performance. And at the same time, 00:02:00 Speaker 1: I think we have to recognize that the pressure is not just this inevitable nasty by product of life, 00:02:06 Speaker 1: pressure is actually an essential input into a high performance life. You don't get high performance without pressure. Right? So, absolutely, there is a downside. There is a dark side to pressure. And certainly the great work that you guys do it life speak 00:02:21 Speaker 1: on anxiety and the way that pressure can rob us of joy and satisfaction and leave us feeling frazzled and you know, there are absolutely 00:02:30 Speaker 1: dark sides to pressure. And at the same time, 00:02:34 Speaker 1: if you look at things like, well, where do more world records get set than anywhere else? They get set at the olympic games because there's pressure, right? Pressure is energy. Uh and we were just talking uh before about the pressure of having a kid or a new puppy. You know, what is it that allows us 00:02:50 Speaker 1: To be a really empathetic version of ourselves on no sleep for 90 days while we're terrified that we're screwing everything up. 00:02:58 Speaker 1: It's the energy under pressure. It's like that roiling energy that we feel because of the pressure to do this, right. And so I think, 00:03:05 Speaker 1: you know, part of my mission with this book is to hopefully, 00:03:09 Speaker 1: you know, give pressure a slightly better name, which is yes, it can be a force for evil, so to speak, but there's also power under there. There's really good stuff that comes with pressure. If we can harness it effectively. What's 00:03:22 Speaker 2: the difference between stress and pressure? 00:03:24 Speaker 1: I think this is 00:03:26 Speaker 1: one of the questions that I went into the book project with was are they the same? Are they different? And my core research question for this book was asking people, what's the most pressure you've ever been under? And almost without fail, 00:03:39 Speaker 1: every person 00:03:41 Speaker 1: I said, well you know, what do you mean pressure or do you mean stress? And so I would always follow up and kind of say, okay, well what do you see as the difference, what do you think is is different between stress and pressure? And you know, listen, I I think this is one of those areas where all of human experience is subjective what one person you know calls stress and another person calls pressure. There's a range 00:04:00 Speaker 1: but where I kind of landed 00:04:02 Speaker 1: was 00:04:03 Speaker 1: using a bit of a metaphor of a sporting event, like a big basketball game for example. 00:04:08 Speaker 1: So when you are on the sidelines and you are watching 00:04:12 Speaker 1: a basketball game that you really care about 00:04:16 Speaker 1: like your kids playing or maybe it's your home team. You know, it's close, it's in the fourth quarter, you're in the playoffs, you are probably experiencing stress. 00:04:25 Speaker 1: You know, my wife in fact is a devoted raptor fan and when we get into the playoffs, like if it's close in the fourth quarter, she has to leave the room and get updates by text message, right? She finds it too stressful to sit and watch it. 00:04:37 Speaker 1: Um, that's stress. 00:04:40 Speaker 1: But for me it's not pressure, right? Pressure is reserved for the people that are on the court. The players who actually can influence the outcome because they have the imperative to act. They have to actually do something. And so I think stress for me is a little bit more of a passive experience. Whereas pressure is, 00:04:56 Speaker 1: I actually have to do something in the situation that influences the outcome. 00:05:00 Speaker 1: When you were 00:05:02 Speaker 2: asking, you know, throughout while researching this book, you were talking to olympic athletes and executives and navy seals. When have you felt the most pressure? 00:05:09 Speaker 1: What 00:05:10 Speaker 2: was most surprising to you and their answers. 00:05:14 Speaker 1: So I think the first thing that was most surprising was just the vast array of human experience that people categorized as pressure. 00:05:26 Speaker 1: Um, you know, I heard everything from the predictable stuff like you know, a job interview or a big sales presentation or you know, an exam to pass the bar, you know, that kind of stuff, but, but all the way over to somebody who got caught out too far in the ocean and was worried that they wouldn't be able to make it back to shore. I had someone say they were standing on stage at a conference and somebody started choking on stage and walked right towards them, 00:05:50 Speaker 1: uh, you know, expecting them to help and to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Um I had people who talked about, you know, holding down a demanding job while caring for appearance, who was needed, end of life care. Uh, you know, so I really came to appreciate 00:06:07 Speaker 1: that a every single person that I asked this question of had a moment in their life that came to mind reasonably quickly and they saw as somewhat of a pivotal moment or period in their life. Like there are very few people who said, oh yeah, this is the most pressure I've been under, but like at the end of the day, I look back on that and it wasn't really this big thing, 00:06:27 Speaker 1: but like for almost everybody, these were moments or periods that really bent the arc of their life and the experiences were just passed. So that was the first surprise, 00:06:36 Speaker 1: I think the second surprise was almost the opposite of the first surprise, which was even amidst all of that diversity of experience, 00:06:44 Speaker 1: actually the same themes came up with shocking regularity. Like there were really patterns amidst all of this diverse experience and that's really where, you know, the meat of the book really came out of it is going, hey, there are some really recognizable and predictable patterns and pressure and if we can learn them, 00:07:04 Speaker 1: it actually really puts us on a path to being able to access the energy under pressure. 00:07:09 Speaker 2: So, so let's talk about some of the tools that you mentioned in the book that you know, in your research, you've seen that we need to have to handle pressure successfully. So some of them are attaching a sense of importance to what we're doing. Um, you know, making a list of things um, that won't be impacted if we fail like our, you know, our kids will still love us or dog will still love us. Um, you know, having acceptance, fostering resilience, uh, simplifying rather than your life and your day rather than managing your time better. That was a really interesting one. You know, eating it all sleeping well. You know, if there was just one thing you wish that people, you know could do to handle pressure better, what what would that be? 00:07:53 Speaker 1: Yeah. 00:07:54 Speaker 1: Oh, you know mary and that's a really tough question. This is like asking me to choose between my, my Children to get down to one tool, I think, you know, 00:08:05 Speaker 1: I'm going to answer that question 00:08:07 Speaker 1: in a bit of a non ansari way, but it's not because I'm squarely, I I think, you know, it really depends the tool to turn to really depends on what is the dominant source that is driving the feeling of pressure. Uh you know, there are three b 00:08:23 Speaker 1: broadly speaking, there are three things that create pressure for human beings. There is the importance of the situation that we're in. How important have we coated the outcome of the situation in our brain? There is the degree of uncertainty in the situation. So you know, if it's highly important to us and the outcome is highly uncertain, that creates a lot of pressure and the third is volume, 00:08:44 Speaker 1: Just the sheer volume of tasks and decisions of distractions that surround this important, uncertain outcome. 00:08:51 Speaker 1: Um and I think the tool that you turn to is really going to depend on which one of those three is dominating for you. So you know, if importance is dominating, what's creating pressure for you, it's like you just can't stop thinking about how important this situation is for you. Like, oh my gosh, if I screw up, you know, ex wives that are going to happen, that's where I turn to the tool that you talked about of, 00:09:13 Speaker 1: Okay, let's reorient my attention to what's not at stake in this situation, let's force myself 00:09:19 Speaker 1: to do the unnatural thing of pivoting away from what I might gain or lose here and focusing entirely on what are the important things that aren't impacted by what I'm doing right here. And so that was a really important one. I think for me, when I'm walking into, you know, a big sales pitch where I naturally I'm going to fixate on, hey, commissions at stake here, the revenue of the business is at stake here. Maybe a promotions at stake here. I want to reorient in the moment of performance to what's not at 00:09:44 Speaker 2: stake. 00:09:45 Speaker 1: Um if it's uncertainty that's dominating, I think the big one for me is direct action, right? You know, the brain is wired to flee from uncertainty and the sooner we can identify something that we can control and begin to control it, the better off we are and then in volume, 00:10:01 Speaker 1: Yeah, I think, you know, the notion that you teed up a little bit, which is that I think people turned to time management in the face of volume, uh, which is a bit of a trap, right? You know, if you get really good at time management, you get more volume. So it's basically efficient cycle, you become more efficient, you get more volume, you become more efficient, you get more volume, I think turning to structure, 00:10:21 Speaker 1: uh, you know, and in particular establishing some some really clear principles that free you from having to make 00:10:27 Speaker 2: decisions. 00:10:28 Speaker 1: Uh you know, so my, my example in the book, which, which I return to often is, you know, it's actually much more effective to establish absolute principles than to deal with decisions on a one by one basis. And that's a really clear way. We can we can simplify our life. So if I'm trying to lose weight for example, 00:10:45 Speaker 1: it's a lot easier to say I won't eat after seven PM than it is to say I'll limit my snacking after seven PM. You know, one eliminates decisions, I don't have to think about it. It's a principal, the other one. I now have 50 downstream decisions like okay can I have a cup of yogurt? Like can I have a handful of nuts? Well how big of a handful of nuts, you know, 00:11:04 Speaker 1: so I gave you three instead of one but I think it really does depend. First on going okay is the issue here that I'm feeling overwhelmed by how much is at stake here is the issue here that I can't seem to get a foothold because everything seems uncertain or is the issue here that I'm just overwhelmed by volume 00:11:20 Speaker 1: and that first initial diagnostic is gonna point you towards, okay, what's the tool that's gonna make the biggest difference? You 00:11:27 Speaker 2: mentioned uncertainty. Um 00:11:30 Speaker 2: you know, you devote a big chunk of the book to to that and you know the pandemic has really been a master class for all of us and managing uncertainty. How do you think the pandemic has impacted our perception 00:11:42 Speaker 1: of and maybe our reaction 00:11:44 Speaker 2: to pressure. 00:11:46 Speaker 1: But I think the pandemic has done a couple of things when it comes to pressure, you know, I think the first is 00:11:55 Speaker 1: it has really given us 00:11:58 Speaker 1: a different lens 00:12:00 Speaker 1: to look at what really matters. Um and in particular to what really matters over the long haul. You know, one of the one of the things that I. T. Up in the book is this notion that pressure isn't one thing, it's two things, you know, that we often think of pressure more as 00:12:17 Speaker 1: little moments like the exam, like the sales presentation where importance and uncertainty kind of violently collide, highly important, highly uncertain binary outcome. 00:12:27 Speaker 1: There's a second type of pressure which is what we've all gone through in the pandemic, which is pressure over the long haul, which is not as much this violent collision of high importance, high uncertainty, it's more just grinding volume and 00:12:41 Speaker 1: significant persistent uncertainty. 00:12:44 Speaker 1: And so I think, you know, that's a different muscle to exercise than the I'm good in a crisis pressure muscle. 00:12:51 Speaker 1: And I think the thing that 00:12:53 Speaker 1: I have certainly had reinforced through the pandemic is 00:12:57 Speaker 1: the absolute importance of being able to embrace uncertainty 00:13:02 Speaker 1: and to not try to force a sense of certainty and direct action on every situation. 00:13:08 Speaker 1: Uh you know, one of one of the tools that I talk about in the book is there's an improv game called fortunately, unfortunately, 00:13:14 Speaker 1: and fortunately, unfortunately essentially works like the first improv actors, you know, starts a story by saying, hey, fortunately, you know, I found $100 bill on the ground and then the partner has to say, well, unfortunately, you know, when I bent down to pick it up, I had a hernia and you know, then you kind of go back and forth on, you know, fortunately unfortunately, and I think, you know, 00:13:33 Speaker 1: even when I was writing that felt like a good metaphor for life now that the pandemics hit, you know, I think 00:13:40 Speaker 1: never have we ever had such a clear articulation review of we are all in the midst of a game unfortunately, unfortunately, you look at every country's response to the pandemic, 00:13:51 Speaker 1: you know, every country has been the hero and the villain, it's like, oh they're killing it over there with their response, oh wait a second. You know, they didn't do as well as we thought they were going to do on testing. Oh wow! You know, their rates are unbelievable. Look at new Zealand, look at Australia, right? So I think we all have been exposed to this notion that 00:14:08 Speaker 1: we are in the midst of a giant game of fortunately unfortunately for our entire lives 00:14:12 Speaker 1: and our ability to not get too attached to 00:14:16 Speaker 1: the feeling that things are going well and I can control the future while at the same time, not pushing away too hard from the feeling that things are not going well and I want to get through this and get out of it. Um you know, I think if we can take that from the pandemic, uh I think it will have served us very well in terms of the pressure that we face downstream in life. 00:14:35 Speaker 1: You 00:14:36 Speaker 2: you actually started writing 00:14:37 Speaker 1: this book before the 00:14:38 Speaker 2: pandemic and then you finished it 00:14:40 Speaker 1: during 00:14:40 Speaker 2: the pandemic. Did anything 00:14:42 Speaker 1: change in 00:14:43 Speaker 2: the way that you were approaching? You know what you wanted to include by what you were experiencing? 00:14:49 Speaker 1: It was interesting that the writing time was split kind of 5050 pre and post pandemic. And you know of course prior to starting to write it, I had already got a lot of you know what I wanted to say sort of locked in 00:15:01 Speaker 1: the pandemic was kind of gut check time for me. It was like okay, 00:15:05 Speaker 1: you are telling people these are the tools that they should use to manage pressure. 00:15:10 Speaker 1: Here we are. You are under you know, probably the most pressure I've been under in my life over a prolonged period of time. I'm a small business owner. We deliver workshops and speeches, you know, our revenue forward looking with zero on March 19 of last year. Every workshop, every speech every conference got canceled. We had to rebuild our business is a virtual business. Like so many people did. 00:15:31 Speaker 1: And so that period in particular from March to june, 00:15:35 Speaker 1: it was kind of like all right, let's see if the stuff that you are recommending to people in this book actually works like does it work for you? Does it work when you actually have to use it? And so, you know, I don't know that it necessarily changed 00:15:49 Speaker 1: the fundamental themes of the book, 00:15:52 Speaker 1: but it really reinforced a few things for me. The first was that each of the three things that I talk about in the book importance, uncertainty and volume, 00:16:02 Speaker 1: each of them can be a double agent. 00:16:05 Speaker 1: And what I mean by that is, you know, a big part of staying resilient through pressure over the long haul is I see how important this is to me, right, I can connect to meeting, I can get in touch with the why behind this and at the same time, in the early days of the pandemic, 00:16:21 Speaker 1: I felt almost overwhelmed by how important this period was like, okay, the business could go bankrupt, that might have to lay my team off. And so a big part of it was for me 00:16:30 Speaker 1: that really grounded the tension for me. If I have to be able to see what I'm doing is important. Well, at the same time, not being overwhelmed by what's at stake or I'm never going to get to sleep, I'm never gonna be able to calm down. 00:16:41 Speaker 1: And the same has been true for uncertainty. Where the tension between under uncertainty, we have to relentlessly take direct action on what we can control 00:16:50 Speaker 1: and that meant for us. You know, really aggressively rebuilding the business around a digital world. Well at the same time if I try to control everything 00:16:59 Speaker 1: I'm gonna burn out and so I have to be able to accept the fact that, you know, in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, there's going to be uncertainty that I can't tame, that I have to embrace. And so I think the pandemic really clarified for me that each and every one of these things, you know, has two roles to play. It's about dosage, you know, it's good medicine, but if you take too much of it it can harm you. 00:17:21 Speaker 1: And so that ability to kind of maintain the tension between you know, importance versus overwhelm and, you know, direct action versus ceaseless striving. I think that was really reinforced for me personally, as I went through this, you know, pressure 00:17:37 Speaker 2: undoubtedly causes anxiety and you talk about anxiety in the book and you know, that's a really big buzzword for many people these days. How can the average person manage an anxiety spiral when they don't have 00:17:50 Speaker 1: a performance coach 00:17:51 Speaker 2: or sports psychologist on speed dial? 00:17:54 Speaker 1: You know, the anxiety spiral 00:17:57 Speaker 1: Comes from the fact that, you know, we have three 00:18:01 Speaker 1: systems for lack of a better word internally that are all interlinked and speak to each other and reinforce each other and that's our cognition, 00:18:10 Speaker 1: our emotions and our physiology, our body 00:18:13 Speaker 1: as we get into 00:18:15 Speaker 1: higher and higher pressure situations, 00:18:18 Speaker 1: these things can conspire to put us into a bit of a vicious cycle, right? So the body, the heart rate starts speeding up. 00:18:25 Speaker 1: You know, our muscles start to get tense, there's more cortisol, there's more adrenaline 00:18:29 Speaker 1: all of a sudden that information gets relayed up to our brain and you know, your brain goes, oh my gosh, the body's freaking out, like our respiration rates at 25 our heart rates at 1 40. This must be really important. Are we choking right now? What's going on? Then? We start to get fearful. Then that gets related to the body which tenses up even more. And so you get into this spiral where, you know, your mind, your feelings in your body are all kind of reinforcing this panic response or this anxiety response. And so I think the thing that that you know, I want people to realize is because all three of these systems, thoughts, feelings and physiology are intertwined. If you can get one of them under control, 00:19:08 Speaker 1: it will help bring the other two back into alignment and depending on you and your personality. One of those three might be easier for you to get under control. For many people, it starts with the body, 00:19:20 Speaker 1: right? It's very hard to have a racing mind if your body is calm 00:19:24 Speaker 1: and so we do a lot of work with athletes. In fact that's one of the dominant skills we train is under pressure, the ability 00:19:31 Speaker 1: to engage in breathing that is going to bring you back to center and, you know, there's a bunch of different techniques, centered breathing is a big one that we use where we try to make our exhalations twice as long as the inhalations uh, into our diaphragm and slowly out. Uh you know, we also talk about coherent breathing, where if we can get our breathing down to about six breaths per minute, 00:19:53 Speaker 1: So it's about 10 seconds of breath, 00:19:55 Speaker 1: seconds in four seconds, every story four seconds in six seconds out, 00:19:59 Speaker 1: that starts to put your respiration in line with the rise and fall of your heart rate, which is a very regenerative state. 00:20:05 Speaker 1: And so I think starting with the body, getting your physiology under control in particular through breathing is one really powerful way to start to get things under control. But for other people, you know, their interventions might start at the cognitive level or at the emotional level. Certainly when I'm moving down that spiral, 00:20:24 Speaker 1: I'm actually a big believer in the emotion track where I will very deliberately try to tell a joke or do something that changes the emotional tenor. I'm feeling inside other people, you know, challenge negative thought loops. That's the core of CBT as they, you know, they start to challenge the thoughts that are running through their head. 00:20:40 Speaker 1: For me, it's about leaning into your strength, right? If breathing really works for you, if you find that the easiest thing to redirect your attention to an anxiety spiking start there. If it's easier for you to go up in your head and challenge your negative self talk, do that. You know, if it's easier for you to tell a joke and change the emotional tenor, but just pick one of those three handholds 00:21:01 Speaker 1: and start to exert control because they're all interesting and they will start to pull each other back in alignment. 00:21:06 Speaker 2: It was interesting to read all the different stories of people who felt pressure. And I think the one that I most connected with was it was I think an HR executive and she got locked out in a stairwell in the middle of a day when she was, there was a huge restructuring happening at the company, she was working with a number of people were being laid off and and there was a big sort of a webinar or a big, you know, meeting happening and uh you know, all the tech went down and she got locked in a stairwell and 00:21:37 Speaker 2: uh I think I I think I stopped breathing 00:21:41 Speaker 1: just reading 00:21:42 Speaker 2: about that and she she mentions that she finally, she had no bars on her phone and she finally found one bar and she called her colleague and the first thing her colleagues said to her was breathe because she wasn't breathing and then in that 00:21:54 Speaker 1: moment while she was waiting 00:21:55 Speaker 2: to be let back into the building, she actually found a solution and decided what her plan was going to be to, to resolve this problem, that she was having this high pressure moment, that was like, yeah, 00:22:07 Speaker 1: that was a phenomenal story. And you know, I, I 00:22:11 Speaker 1: I use that, I love that story because, you know, there are stories of course, in the book from navy seals, from emergency doctors, from olympic, but you know, I think most of them, you know, not most, but many of the memorable stories are, 00:22:24 Speaker 1: you know, people like, like jen, who you just talked about, jen crews, who, you know, this is an individual was put in charge of a really high stakes set of meetings, you know, to announce a restructuring 00:22:35 Speaker 1: to communicate plans to the employees who are, who are remaining 00:22:39 Speaker 1: a v goes down, she tears down the hallway and gets locked in a fire escape. I hadn't 00:22:43 Speaker 2: planned to ask you about this, but I find it so interesting, the Eisenhower box and using that as an approach to kind of gauging what's truly urgent. 00:22:52 Speaker 1: Yes, so, the Eisenhower box and it's called that because Eisenhower mentioned this in a convocation speech he was giving, you know, that we can't confuse the things that are important with the things that are merely urgent and that so much of our time on a daily basis is actually consumed by responding to unimportant, but urgent things at the expense of the things that are really important, but not urgent, that never seem to get our time and attention and just continually slipped 00:23:20 Speaker 1: into the future. 00:23:21 Speaker 1: Um and so yeah, you know, this comes back to the trap of time management, which I, you know, I think we fall into the trap of time management because we are trying to accommodate both the unimportant urgent things and the important on urgent things and everything else alongside it, and we think the only way to do that is to become more efficient 00:23:40 Speaker 1: and inherent in the Eisenhower box is actually similar to that space, like take a minute 00:23:45 Speaker 1: and actually start to plot out of all the things that I could be directing my attention to and spending my time on 00:23:51 Speaker 1: which are the ones that are truly important. And am I sacrificing time on those that the expense of fighting fires 00:23:57 Speaker 1: of ultimately unimportant stuff, and I think the real value for me in the Eisenhower box is not that many of us don't have the decision latitude to just be like, okay, well I won't pay attention to those five virgin things, like, you know, tough luck mr boss or missus boss, like, you know, it's not necessarily in the moment, it's more over time. 00:24:17 Speaker 1: Do I notice that I am able to carve out time and space for the important non urgent stuff and if not, 00:24:22 Speaker 1: how do I have the kind of conversations that I need to have, 00:24:26 Speaker 1: whether it is with my manager, it's with my peers or it's with my team to reorient more of my attention to the stuff that is getting lost in the sea of flashing red lights and fires. So yeah, that's one of those mental frameworks that I think is just a handy sort of sorting mechanism as things are landing in your inbox, 00:24:44 Speaker 1: I think, you know what 00:24:46 Speaker 2: resonated most for me in the book and you know, you talked about this earlier in our conversation about how, you know, we're always told we need to reduce our stress, we need to relax more that, 00:24:55 Speaker 1: you know, and yet what I 00:24:56 Speaker 2: think you you really have proven in this book is that pressure isn't a bad thing. Um and you turn that idea on its head and I would say that by the end I was 00:25:06 Speaker 1: feeling pretty empowered by 00:25:07 Speaker 2: the pressure in my life, 00:25:08 Speaker 1: like 00:25:08 Speaker 1: bring it on, 00:25:09 Speaker 2: you know, almost excited what 00:25:12 Speaker 1: I have going on right 00:25:13 Speaker 2: now, that's pressure filled, where I kind of rise to the occasion 00:25:16 Speaker 1: um when 00:25:17 Speaker 2: have you felt 00:25:19 Speaker 2: under the most pressure? 00:25:21 Speaker 1: You know, I think absolutely the past 18 months and in particular the first six months of the pandemic, we're pretty acute for me and I don't think I'm unique in that, you know, I talked about the business, and you know the uncertainty around the future of the business and that's obviously a big, you know, toggle for me as a business owner. We had also 00:25:42 Speaker 1: uh purchased a house in february that closed in june and then we had to sell our house literally the week that they banned open houses. And you know, they were saying, you know, you can't even get people into your place, you have to sell it based off of an online, you know, slide show. And you know, so we were in the midst of uh 00:26:00 Speaker 1: a very poorly time real estate transaction of time our three kids were home because the virtual school uh you know, I think that definitely ranks up there for and I know I'm not alone in that and many other people went through, you know, even more fraught circumstances than that over the first few months, but that definitely ranks up there for me. Uh and I think, you know, 00:26:20 Speaker 1: that ability to hold simultaneously that I got to act on everything I can act on and at the same time I have to accept and embrace, there are things that I can't control and that ultimately will turn out the way that they turn out. That was literally what let me sleep at night was taking this stuff and uncertainty and applying it to my own life through that period. 00:26:39 Speaker 1: Um I think, you know, the acute pressure situation that I would pick, you know, if we're gonna talk about the difference between the long haul and sort of peak pressure moments uh is the one that I kind of open the book with which is losing. You know, my one year old son on the shore of a lake for about 10 minutes a couple of years ago. And that was a situation where 00:26:59 Speaker 1: you know, the physiological impact of the acute importance and uncertainty in that situation. Like this is a life changing moment. My life is either going one way or it's going another way depending on the outcome here and having to search the shoreline and look under docs and you know, not know if I'm going to see, 00:27:17 Speaker 1: you know, my one year old floating there. I think that to me was 00:27:21 Speaker 1: the ultimate example of the impact that acute pressure can have on you. You know, it was like I was running a marathon at sprint pace, my breathing was heaving. My heart rate was at like 1 81 90. you know, I my you know, tunnel vision ringing in my ears 00:27:38 Speaker 1: And thank goodness he was safe. He was finding actually crawled away from the shore up through the forest about 100 yards 00:27:43 Speaker 1: to higher ground. So that was definitely for me, one of those moments where you go, okay, highly important, highly uncertain, highly uncomfortable situation. 00:27:55 Speaker 2: Yeah, that that that story I could I could relate to that story. I think I've had a couple of moments in my life like that to um and uh you don't forget it, it's like a movie, no runs in your head and you don't forget anything about how you felt in that exact moment. 00:28:12 Speaker 1: You don't, and you know, I think that interact, people have asked me, well, you know, where is the good and the pressure in that experience? It's like the pressure and actually, you know, I think the good for me is 00:28:22 Speaker 1: that experience changed me like feeling the pressure that I felt in that situation. Uh I think has made me a better parent. It's it's made me more cognizant of you know, safety around the water. You know, he was playing in a sandbox at the time. So we didn't have floaties on him as a mistake, like, you know, so I learned that pressure and the imprint that that pressure left on me, 00:28:42 Speaker 1: I think, you know, thank goodness had a good outcome and allowed me to you know, to become a better parent than to learn a few things. 00:28:50 Speaker 2: What is making you feel hopeful right now during these uncertain pressure filled times. 00:28:57 Speaker 1: Oh, you know, I I think there's actually a fair bit to be hopeful about right now. And lots lots on the other side of the scale as well. Not not to put an entirely rosy colored glasses, but you know, I have been, you know, unbelievably impressed 00:29:13 Speaker 1: by the way in which people have adapted to the circumstances over the past 12 months. Uh you know, I teach as you mentioned up front at two academic institutions, Queens University in the U. N. And U. N. C. 00:29:25 Speaker 1: Um 00:29:26 Speaker 1: You know, we have crammed a decade of innovation into 18 months, you know, in terms of moving learning experiences online in terms of creating a compelling student experience in the midst of unprecedented upheaval. And so, you know, I think if anything for me the past 18 months has proven a little bit of the resilience of the human spirit and the degree to which we can 00:29:46 Speaker 1: uh you know transcend the circumstances that we find ourselves in and develop unbelievably ingenious and and novel solutions to problems. Um You know, I think that makes me very hopeful about the future because I think we are facing 00:30:01 Speaker 1: some unbelievably thorny and wicked problems that need that level of attention and ingenuity 00:30:07 Speaker 1: And I hope we're able to take some of that energy and apply it to those problems. But the fact that we were able to do it once over the past 18 months, I think it's very heartening. 00:30:16 Speaker 1: So your book is called The Power of Pressure. It's available in stores now. Thank you so much for speaking with me today, dane. 00:30:22 Speaker 1: Thanks so much Marianne it was a pleasure for more about this episode. Go to life Speak dot com slash podcast.