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Leigh interviewed 15 people who were all experts in performing under stress, then took all of the transcripts from the interviews and did a small research study into what they were talking about. He then identified common themes amongst all interviewees and argued what they use in a time of stress.

During the process of putting the book together, I had the privilege of interviewing high- performing individuals. In each interview, these experts discussed topics around performing under stress and possessing poise. It was an absolute privilege to tap into the vast experience of a range of very talented people.

The interviewees tell great stories and help bring context to the book. They are not only entertaining but also downright captivating.


To not waste the great opportunity to collect and extract all of their collective knowledge and wisdom, I decided to conduct a qualitative study of the interviews. By critically analysing the interview transcripts, I sought to answer the whys and how’s of human behaviour, opinion, and experience.

In this case, my research sought to get to the heart of how paramedics and people who face disaster perform under stress and how they make sense of the stressed world around them. This helps reinforce the incredible value of the tools and strategies shared in this book.

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This word cloud shows some of the words used by respondents to describe ways in which you can perform under pressure and flourish.


Listen to each of the interview recordings from the interviewed experts for the study


After conducting the 15 interviews with people that all perform at a high level, who have vast experience with performing under pressure and who have all shown poise in high-stress, high-consequence environments, I decided to perform a quantitative analysis of my conversations with the experts. I transcribed all of the interviews, and coded them using a computer software program called Nvivo.

My goal was to be able to look for common themes amongst the 15 interviewees, to discover what strategies and tools the experts use, and the value of possessing poise as a critical element. The questions throughout the interviews did vary depending on the interviewee. However, the topical theme remained the same, extracting information from their personal experiences of performing under pressure.

You have seen several quotes throughout the book to help reiterate the information spoken about throughout the text, but now it is time to share with you what these 15 high performers had most in common and valued most.

Themes mentioned in the interviews

Study results table from qualitative analysis


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