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Cameras, Interviews, Competitions – How to succeed under pressure

Who doesn’t know the feeling? One moment you feel great, the next you have a camera aimed at you and everything feels awkward. This can happen anywhere, you don’t have to be an athlete facing an interview. It can be your friends who suddenly want to snap an unexpected photo, a job interview with a camera, or any type of competitive environment that puts you into a situation where suddenly “it matters.”

IMG_4089Staying calm and being able to be yourself under pressure, whether that means looking good, performing well or saying the right things – is a challenge for a lot of people, but there are a few things that make it easier:

1. Be prepared
It’s common sense – if you know of a challenging situation coming your way (job interview, competition, photo shoot, someone you want to impress, etc), face it and prepare. It will help a ton with your calmness levels.

IMG_18422. Breathe
Whatever it is I’m about to do, I’ve personally made it a habit to take a very deep breath before I drop in for a competition or do something that requires my complete focus. I have conditioned myself to take a mental focus break, (a deep breath for me = focus mode). Whether it really does something medically explainable is up for grabs… but for me this helps.

3. Focus
You only have a limited amount of focus, brain-space and time in the moment of your challenge. Fill it with nothing but your mission. You want to be completely submerged in the interview – if you catch yourself looking around, worrying about the cameras or zoning out in your thoughts, find a way to get your focus back. Listen to the person, feel what you’re doing or saying, and react accordingly.

4. Be yourself
You are in this situation for a reason – because you have the skill to succeed, combined with the passion and willpower that energized you to get into the situation in the first place. You got yourself there, so stay true to yourself to go further. Don’t change because of who you’re talking to, don’t do things differently because you feel like you’re expected to do it a certain way. Staying true to yourself  means being honest. This is how people trust you and get a real feel of your personality.

5. Be positive & open up
Visualize your success before it happens. Realize that when you do the best you can, you win for yourself, regardless of the outcome. If it is a interview situation, don’t be scared to open up. Tell stories if you have stories to tell. Don’t hold back, and don’t be shy. Whoever you are talking to wants to talk to you and asks you questions because they want your answers. Give it all you have. Do the best you can. You can’t fail.

Good luck everybody!

-Silvia Mittermüller

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