The Power of Pressure: Why Pressure isn’t the Problem, It’s the Solution, by Dane Jensen, 2021

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The Gist

This book has three easy to read sections. The first Understanding Pressure, is about defining pressure, explaining the body’s response, and offering a simple model of understanding it. The second section, Harnessing the Power of Pressure, breaks down into ‘long haul’ strategies and ‘pressure moment’ strategies. The final section Putting it all Together gives guidance on how to make things work. The case studies are largely from the authors experience of working as a leadership consultant in Canada, so UK audiences are unlikely to know of the people involved. The research used as evidence is skimpy but the model itself is sound.

What’s Good

‘What’s the most pressure you’ve been under?” the book is an attempt to expand on this exact question. We can all relate to it. The model of making sense of and utilising pressure is very simple and potentially helpful for managers and senior coaches.


The Pressure Equation is given as Pressure = Importance x Uncertainty x Volume. In Jensen’s model what what distinguishes pressure from other states like stress, fear, or grief is the need to do something. The paradox of pressure is that the more you experience it the less able you are to deal with it. Periods of intense importance and uncertainty can create extreme physiological effects. Your body mobilises in ways which inhibit good decision-making.

Something to Try

Try welcoming the sensation of pressure. earlier. “The simple act of saying “I’m excited” instead of “I’m nervous” when you feel the physical sensations of pressure has been shown to improve your ability to execute a challenge or creative task to the best of your abilities. Seeing stress as a positive thing instead of something harmful completely eliminated its long-term health impacts as measured by premature mortality.”