Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Sime Curkovic

Second Advisor

Jim Eckert


The following thesis demonstrates how individuals can overcome high-pressure situations in both the business and athletic environments. Individuals are asked to perform in many different aspects of their lives. Oftentimes, individuals feel pressure when asked to perform at their optimal level. While there are many tactical skills to help individuals improve their skillset for a particular performance area, this thesis argues that a positive mindset can increase individual’s performance levels during the act of performing. Primary research has been conducted between two different research groups (business professionals and athletes) to determine that pressure exists in each respective environment based on Dr. Spencer Woods’ theory behind pressure. Dr. Spencer Woods believes that the difference between the expectation levels of a particular activity compared to an individual’s confidence level is pressure. The results of the research indicated a notable difference between expectation levels and confidence levels in many different areas that were analyzed. Therefore, it can be concluded that pressure exists in both the business and athletic environments. The analysis argues developing positive self-talk strategies and mindset will help individuals handle adversity and increase their performance. The analogous relationship between business and athletics demonstrates how individuals can overcome challenges presented in comparable high-pressure situations. Creating a personal toolbox of strategies like the “Yes Factor” Approach equips individuals with the confidence needed to reach success. By implementing positive self-talk strategies and mindsets allow for an increase in performance without improving or changing any tactical skill for the corresponding activity. The analysis offers five potential strategies: (1) The “Yes Factor” Approach, (2) “I Love This Moment” Approach, (3) “BIG YOU vs. little you” Approach, (4) Scenario Planning Approach, and (5) Hype Number Approach that can be utilized to develop a positive mindset. By comparing examples from the athletic environment to the business environment, understanding of how each strategy can be utilized in many different situations will be gained.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Thesis Defense Presentation.pdf (647 kB)
Defense Presentation