Stressed Out, Overwhelmed, Under Pressure- NO MORE, #50

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Show Notes

Bill Benjamin helps us unpack the things we need to know about performing under pressure as women. When we hold leadership roles in corporate, we know as women, we operate under a different level of pressure than men. We have an added layer of pressure relating to making the right decisions and representing women positively in this role. A must listen-to episode to develop our emotional intelligence and perform better under pressure.


What is emotional intelligence?

Our work is around the idea of performing under pressure. To effectively perform in difficult moments there’s only 3 things we need to manage: our emotions under pressure, our thinking under pressure and our conversations under pressure.

Emotions under pressure is the emotional intelligence work: awareness of our emotional response to certain things, ie: criticism, so we can manage our responses and connect with others.

Thinking under pressure is how we’re interpreting what we’re going through and the messages we’re receiving.

Conversations under pressure is around giving people performance feedback to have good impact on people and make them want to follow our lead and believe in us.



It all starts with self-awareness. We need to determine what our triggers are emotionally, and identifying our default behaviors. Between men and women, men tend to be more aggressive where women tend to shut down. This is just how it is, it’s how we’re wired.

We can improve our EQ by learning our in-the-moment behaviors. Bill’s book Performing Under Pressure has some great tips on how to manage emotional intelligence.

One of the things that they have identified is that women have an advantage when working under pressure. Scientifically, our brains receive different signals, so we as women tend to be open to more options to resolution; whereas men tend to be more tunnel-vision in their approach and may miss other opportunities. This is why groups of men and women, tend to perform better than groups of just men or groups of just women.

The pressures that women face in leadership roles has a second layer of pressure vs. men due to there being fewer women in high leadership roles and feeling the pressure of representing females in this position. Bill wrote a white paper on this explaining why there needs to be more women in these positions and how women can prepare for this type of pressure.

We’re all wired to react in a crisis situation. And the idea behind Bill’s work is to see the different options available to solve that crisis and see them as an opportunity. Our brain chemistry changes when we see things as a crisis vs. an opportunity. It is important to hone in on this strategy to successfully get through it. Bills’ tip to step back in-the-moment when a situation arises is to do some breathing first.


Bill and Jennifer do a role play during this episode that will clearly explain the 3 parts of emotional intelligence to successfully get through pressures at work, that can easily be applied to different groups and areas in our lives.


So many people avoid the last 8% conversation. That’s when the conversation starts escalating as you’re delivering a message in terms of the receiver’s perception, so as the conversation goes on further, we tend to not deliver our entire message to avoid any further escalation. We need to be able to learn how to deliver that entire message. Bill’s book Performing Under Pressure gives some great tips to learn how to do this.

Bill’s 3 Habits to Perform Well Under Pressure:

  1. Breathe
  2. Be aware of crisis vs. opportunity in every situation
  3. Power Posing


About Bill Benjamin:

Bill Benjamin is a training and leadership expert at the Institute for Health and Human Potential (IHHP) and a contributor to the New York Times best-selling book Performing Under Pressure.  Bill, a highly sought-after speaker on the topics of emotional intelligence and performing under pressure, was also a co-author of IHHP’s new Women Under Pressure white paper.  He works with leading corporations, including Intel, Northern Trust and Coca-Cola, the U.S. Marines, surgeons, athletes and others, helping people maximize their success in pressure situations.

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