The Complete Guide to Performing Under Pressure Part 3 - Coming Up Clutch
How to win when the stakes are highest
When the game is on the line and we’re facing acute pressure, we have two choices: clutch or choke.
We know clutch when we see it. It’s the game-winning shot from Michael Jordan in the playoffs, the put to seal the win from Tiger Woods at a Major, or the final serve from Roger Federer to seal a win at Wimbledon. We chalk these moments up to superior athletic ability, divine-given talent, and years of training.
And we know choke when we see it - it makes us cringe. It’s the kicker missing the game-tying field goal, the putt two inches to the right, or the shot that clangs off the front of the rim. Between feeling bad for the player that screwed up, we question whether or not they truly had what it takes to be at the top of their game.
Too often we leave clutch or choke to choice. The truth is, there’s a formula for clutch - for performing well under pressure when the outcome is on the line and really matters to you - that we can borrow from the world’s best performers.
Taken from a line of research differentiating between flow and clutch states, the science suggests there are 3 levers to pull when you need to activate a clutch performance:
Set a clear goal with the end in mind
Consciously choose to elevate your effort
Choose to appraise the stress as a challenge
Let’s take them one at a time.
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