Get Out of the Judgment Zone

Recently, I was in Paris where I gave a talk to 150+ start-up entrepreneurs on how to “get a mental six pack. Speaking about resilience and bouncing back from setbacks, I pointed out how anytime something unwanted happens, we spend an inordinate amount of time and energy in “the judgment zone,” making it bad or wrong. And nothing creative can happen while we’re there. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s our biology: We’re wired to be on the lookout for threats […]

How To Stop Worrying About Getting It Wrong

Last week, I co-presented a live workshop here in New York City with rock star coach and founder of Six-Figure Start Caroline Ceniza-Levine on how to handle high stakes performance situations (a client negotiation, funding request or performance review, for example). The participants were smart, accomplished and asked insightful questions. What I realized, however, is how often we look for black-and-white answers. We want to know exactly what to say and do when a particular thing — when we’re intimidated […]

Rule No. 6

Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by an hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again […]

How To Shine When You’re On the Spot (Or How To Avoid Choking Under Pressure, Part II)

This week, we’re going to talk about how to be at your best when you’re taken off guard. That’s what one listener wanted to know during my interview with performance psychologist Dr. Noa Kageyama at the Mental Toughness Summit: “What do you do when you’re put on the spot by your boss or board of directors?” As Noa pointed out, our general tendency is to blurt out an answer without taking a moment to collect our thoughts. Then what happens: […]

Why You Choke Under Pressure – And How To Avoid It, Part I

Blowing a high-stakes presentation, flubbing a chance conversation with a senior partner in the elevator, bombing the exam you studied months for – choking under pressure is one, really painful and two, usually means lost opportunities. What’s funny is that while it was our brainpower that’s instrumental in getting us to that point of achievement, it’s also the culprit that sabotages our performance. (Okay, it’s not that funny.) The good news is you can train your brain to help, not […]

Fight-or-Flight: It’s Now Optional

Imagine it’s 1 million BC and you’re Zog, the caveman. Every day you wake up with one mission: to go out and hunt for food to feed you and your family. At the same time, you have to constantly be on the lookout for the predators that want to eat you. That primitive, automatic instinct that prepares us to “fight” or “flee” from a perceived attack or threat to our survival came in very handy when we ran into a […]