Our latest newsletter for lawyers covers stress, sources of support and how to manage firms and departments to reduce it. It can be found on our website here (opens in new window).
Stress helps us perform better – up to a point. Too much unremitting stress can kill, or destroy minds.
Finding ways to relax in order to manage stress levels is an important element of wellbeing, but also of performance. Please share in the comments your favourite method of relaxing, and consider whether methods used by others might help you.
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The last in our Spring Series of no-cost webinars for lawyers is on 28th June 2016. Lawyers are under pressure to constantly perform at a high level, yet stress can hamper performance.
Our webinar looks at how managing stress and developing mental toughness can help. Click here to register via Eventbrite.
I hesitate to mention on St Patrick’s Day that Wales beat Ireland on Saturday (and I was there).
It was an intriguing match, but the biggest cheer of the day came after Wales were awarded a penalty after successfully defending some 7 minutes of Irish attacks close to their line. For non Rugby fans, the two videos included in this Wales Online article illustrate what happened.
That amount of tackling requires both courage and physical resilience. Indeed you can see players being hurt in a tackle, take a second to check that there is no serious injury, then get back into line to tackle again.
More important is the mental approach. The idea of going through phases is that gaps eventually appear in the defence through which the attacker can run and score a try. That they did not succeed is a tribute to the mental toughness of the Wales team in keeping going and operating their defensive systems.
The model of Mental Toughness that we use (from AQR and Prof. Peter Clough) is based on the 4 C’s of Control, Commitment, Confidence and Challenge. How did these apply on Saturday?
Control – they believed that they could control the situation (despite not having the initiative). They could also control their own emotions (for instance by not panicking) and also influence the emotions of their team mates by encouraging each other.
Commitment – they committed to a clear goal of preventing Ireland from scoring a try, and to maintaining their defensive system. They also made a massive commitment to achieving that goal, and the possible cost of getting hurt.
Confidence – they demonstrated individual confidence in their own ability to keep to the system, and to keep tackling. Additionally, they showed interpersonal confidence in influencing each other to keep to the system and tackle, tackle, tackle. Luke Charteris describes some of this in the article.
Challenge – they are prepared to take risks to achieve their goal. For example one or other may rush out of the line to tackle a player before they have any momentum, leaving a possible gap to be exploited if they got it wrong. And if they made errors, they would adjust for the next phase.
You can see how these factors interact, and how external input can have an effect. For example, training increases confidence and readiness for challenge. The experience of defending in other matches helps.
This example resonates with me as a one eyed Welsh Rugby fan, but it should illustrate even to those who dislike sport how mental toughness influences performance.
If you are interested in developing mental toughness, contact us using the form below.
Many of the examples of mental toughness are connected with sport, indeed a Google Alert on the topic produces a large number of sports stories. Sport is of course interesting in itself to many people, and results become apparent quickly.
How does it translate to real life? Research shows that
- There is clear evidence that mentally tough individuals are more focused on objective reality as exemplified by their preference for problem focused strategies as opposed to emotion centred coping.
- Mentally tough individuals may also maintain their connection with reality as they have been found to be less likely to use avoidance strategies when dealing with stressful situations.
This does illustrate that business leaders benefit from mental toughness, and indeed 25% of variation in individual performance can be attributed to this factor.
As always, though, this does not negate the necessity of doing the right thing.
Many people cite their boss as a significant cause of stress. Avoid some common traps by reading Law Matters here.
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