There is no point in struggling with thoughts that rush in during
times of stress. Thoughts themselves are not the issue. The issue is how we choose to process them. Here are some
reminders for improving performance under pressure:

--If thoughts entering your mind contain ideas of what you do not want, allow them. But remember their purpose: to help you shift your attention to what you do want to achieve. This shifting process is creative and useful.

--Sort and clarify. Be sure that the sorting process leads you to build a vision you feel strongly and/or passionate about.

--Set clear goals, based upon your vision.

--Place one-pointed attention and emotional energy into the goals you want to achieve.

--Acknowledge feelings of stress and anxiety as they arise, but process them and let them go as soon as you can. Strive to feel and to express happiness now, while you work to create the future vision. Happiness attracts into life more things to be happy about.

--Prepare. Do your research; reach out to others whom you
admire, and find out what you need to know. Opportunity favors
the prepared mind.

--Keep going. Obstacles are simply another test. They serve a purpose, though we often can’t see it clearly until later. Arise
to the occasion and keep going.

--Keep building confidence. Each action taken leads to either a success or a learning opportunity, and both lead to increased confidence. Remember, confidence is not arrogance. Confidence improves your life while serving others.

--Based on the Chinese Proverb: Our thoughts lead to actions, consistent actions lead to habits, habits develop character, character leads to destiny.

Author's Bio: 

Barbara Bowen is a New York based writer/photographer and founder of Gateways Coaching. Barbara has been helping artists and creative professionals in transition for over ten years, and deeply involved in artistic expression for over 20 years. In Chicago, she owned and managed a successful 12-year photography business. She was deeply involved with film and theatre during those years, and her professional experiences led her to fascinating insights about the nature of creativity itself. She enjoys the creative interchange between her personal work and the work of helping others. Her project, Gateways
To Action is in development and will feature the most exciting projects on the front lines of global change. Visit her site and blog for in-depth