How to Excel under Pressure

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Now this is one issue I can confidently talk about.
I wake up 4:00am every work day.
I don't eat breakfast. Last time I tried, I felt sick throughout the day.
I have missed calls waiting for me at work.
I configure an Exchange that switches thousands of calls daily and millions of Naira monthly; any mistake I make can wipe out an equivalent of my 2 years salary in just hours.
I pick customers' calls and field technicians' calls throughout the day.
I use Excel for traffic analysis and to resolve disputes.
I eat lunch at 12noon. 
I get lots of other non-work related calls
I'm always doing 2 or more things at a time.
I do the department's paper work and record keeping
I administer the CRM
I do service delivery day-to-day tasks
I occasionally get screamed at by customers, and I must keep my cool and not wrongly configure the exchange. And that's huge pressure.
I've got a boss (a very nice one, but still a boss)
I drink 50cl Pepsi on my way home at night.
I eat supper at 10:30pm, thereabouts.
And sleep at 11:30pm, thereabouts.
And then the next day is usually another work day.


That's lots of pressure. Thank God I did that Diploma in Stress Management.

So how do you excel under pressure? 

Build up to it
The truth is everyone has got a stress limit, a breaking point. And the other truth is you can shift that limit, that breaking point, forward. It's recommended that you face some stress daily, to always hit the bed tired. And that's why we all want challenging job roles, ones that will make us feel like we've created some value everyday.

There's nothing anyone can tell me that will make me feel like a nobody. I know the chaos that can happen if I don't show up at work. I can't count the number of Thank you!'s I get daily. And I'm often the last mile of most issues' resolution. And that's the cool side of getting a stressful job, well, after you've well adjusted to it.

When I newly resumed the job, I was always having headaches every afternoon. On my way home, my office phone kept ringing in my head. I felt like I had just shaved 10 years off my life expectancy. I had to stop all the things I could do without at work -- I stopped picking personal phone calls, I didn't do non-work related stuffs anymore during the week days. Then I came in on some Saturdays to automate some tasks.

Now I breeze through each day. I wake full of energy for the new day. I even do push-ups on some mornings (at about 5:00am). I go to work with expectations of all the things that could go wrong and how I was going to save the day. I pick every call with a smile and a bright voice; I know that whatever I say is often the final. I'm at the back-end, even if you escalate to my boss, it'll still comes back to me (or my colleague). And when a customer tries to argue with me, I use my magic clause -- Do you want us to argue on this or do you want to have it resolved? It always works.

I built up to it. And now I still manage to write creatively each day.

There's this popular quote -- "Pressure makes some people break, and others to break records."
I think some words are missing in it, here's the complete version -- "Too much pressure at once makes everyone break, but pressure no matter how big, if let down little by little will make anyone break a record."

Incorporate some pressure into your life. Go break some record!

Happy Monday!


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