Day# 143: Why we choke under pressure

Day# 143: Why we choke under pressure

Hey Uxers! So in this post I wanted to discuss why we choke under pressure. The speaker Sian Leah Beilock discusses her experience playing a goal keeper in a soccer match back when she was younger and how she choked under the pressure of people watching etc. I would have to say in comparison my experiences were never sports related, I would say mine were socially. I am not extremely shy in social interactions but I tend to not know what to say in confrontational situations. This has become more of an issue as I have gotten higher in my career, because there will always be those difficult to have discussions with colleagues, senior leaders or junior staff.


I would often have a bad habit of agreeing in the moment in my younger years, even if the fault was not my own. I would then later think about the situation and regret not standing up fro myself or standing my ground on the topic. It has been a long journey, and one I am still working on. Sometimes I still catch myself wanting to agree, the need for agreeing was probably from around when I got fired all those years ago, after that I was so stressed and worried about getting fired again that I became the company doormat at a lot of my later positions. I worked late, took on the boring projects nobody wanted and never had an opinion in case it conflicted with my seniors and I stood out. In retrospect it was a journey as I said above and choking now on occasion is probably not exactly the same as the sports analogy that the speaker Sian Leah Beilock uses but for me I let it control me in the past and with that influence my opportunity to progress and grow.


It is also common to get these feelings in interviews as the speaker suggests, and for me it was stressful at first having transitioned into UX from design, because I had never been in a design interview where any serious technical questions were asked. So going into a UX interview the first time was a little unnerving for me. Sian Leah Beilock also discusses how environment affects your ability to choke or note, and using simple activities to take your mind off the task at hand helps as well. The exact answer she uses, is singing a song to in your head to release some stress. Another option to try, is to create the scenario that you will be stressed in and practice your response before hand, I used to do this a lot when I was teaching. Preparing how to answer questions and respond to possible questions that I didn’t know the answers to was my ultimate nightmare so I really had to work on taking it in my stride, the same goes for interviews. Work on mock interview scenarios to help with being prepared for all sorts of questions the company could have for you on the day of the interview, it will really helps with the nerves. 


Anyway check out the video below, and prepare yourself for that next stressful situation so you don’t ever choke again!, happy researching until next time!

Bye for now!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *