"William McGirt, you just won the Memorial Tournament, your first win on the PGA Tour. How did you do it?"
"Well, I've been close several times before. I recognized that my tendency was to speed up when under pressure. So this week I focused on slowing things down."
We learn so much from the experiences of others. If we listen carefully, little nuggets like "tendencies under pressure" resonate loudly. Tendencies to speed up are the result of lack of confidence, inadequate preparation, insufficient knowledge of a subject, inexperience and other reasons. But I believe those four are the primary reasons why we tend to speed up when we are under pressure.
I remember early in my public speaking days I tended to speak very quickly. In my mind I tended to speak quickly because I had so much information to share, I was afraid I couldn't fit it into the time allotted. Really it was poor preparation.
Tendencies are great teachers. One of the things they teach us is that failure is the result of doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. In my case, after speaking publicly and not feeling good about the result, I spoke to some experts on the topic of public speaking, specifically about my concern, and they coached me to overcome my tendency.
Sometimes we just need the perspective of an outsider, an uninvolved third party, someone emotionally detached from the situation to look at what we are doing and voice an opinion. A good business coach will teach the principles of Constant Messaging© and Silent Communication from the perspective of the receiver as well as the sender which may uncover those tendencies before they cause more failure.
A business mentor once told me that when negotiating the wise negotiator will make a statement and then sit silently. The weak adversary will tend to feel the need to fill the air with words. Chances are he or she will reveal something in that moment that the savvy negotiator can use strategically later. Maybe what is revealed is simply the tendency to react too quickly.
So much happens in silent moments.