Reading an interview with grand slam championship tennis player Serena Williams recently got me to thinking about pressure and the impact it can have on you.
It struck a chord because I spent many afternoons last month walking down school corridors and into classrooms full of nervous students – who were about to give short presentations about time they had spent with local businesses to a judging panel I sit on as part of the Guernsey Institute of Directors Management Shadowing scheme.
I have always thought of pressure (and stress for that matter) as a negative thing and at the start of each session we, the judges, candidly said ‘don’t be nervous’ to try to alleviate the pressure which was so evident in each of the 17 year olds.
But this doesn’t help at all does it?
Perhaps rather than telling people not to think about pressure we should be telling them to embrace it as a positive thing?
Here’s what Serena said about pressure to Red Magazine:
Pressure is something everyone feels. It is something you have to find a way through. Pressure is a privilege. If you’re feeling pressure in your job then maybe it’s because somebody expects a lot out of you because you have great potential.
Every one of the students who presented was outstanding in their own way – and I applaud them all for having the guts to stand up and get through it.
I am sure that Guernsey’s future business leaders were among our shortlisted finalists, so if they feel pressure it is because we hope to see great things from them.
They all have huge potential and with them in charge our island should be in safe hands.