Living Outside your Comfort Zone – Coping with Pressure & Stress

Living Outside your Comfort Zone – Coping with Pressure & Stress

As McQuaig Psychometric System Users we are all familiar with the ‘Situational’ and the ‘Real’ Profiles and those subtle or not so subtle differences between the two graphs.

These differences can tell us a lot about an individual as we know when the report indicates stretching, holding back or transition. Sometimes the differences are not so clear cut, but to an experienced user and interviewer, they can still tell a story.

So what do these movements tell us? What might be causing these differences?

Part 1: The Situational Profile 

In part one of the form, they describe “How you think other people think of you in your work environment”. Obviously they can’t get inside these other people’s minds to describe accurately how they are perceived. Instead, they do the next best thing; they describe how they feel they behave in the workplace taking all of the influencing factors into account.

They describe their current situation. The Situational Profile is fluid and can change rapidly in response to changes in their working environment.

Part 2: The Real Profile 

In part two of the form they describe their “Real” preferred behavioural patterns. This side of the graph is much more stable, as they have already taken into account in part one, how they adjust their behaviour to accommodate the needs of their workplace. They describe how they would behave in an ideal world, where they could achieve their potential.

Coping with Pressure & Stress

So from a McQuaig perspective we can consider someone whose Situational and Real profiles are similar, to be working in their comfort zone. Of course, there is always the possibility that their profiles are similar because they do not make changes to meet the environmental demands of their job, but these Ronseal Tinmen are a different story.

The quotation, “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”, has been variously attributed to P. T Barnum, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain and others.

I like to twist this expression for McQuaig factors to read, “You can adjust all of your behaviour some of the time and some of your behaviour all of the time, but you cannot adjust all of your behaviour all of the time”.

This viewpoint suggests that we can modify our behaviour to meet the challenges or adjust to the pressures of our environment for varying periods of time. We cannot change significantly for a long period of time, because we would eventually run out of steam and become a victim of Stress.

Some people move from their comfort zone to stress quite rapidly, while others appear to handle inordinate levels of pressure that would cause most onlookers to collapse.

Why might this be? Next time, ‘Back to McQuaig Basics’. 

Coping with PressureAbout the Author: Cormac McGrane is the principal of THG Ireland and partner of Holst (distributors of The McQuaig Psychometric System).

To find out more about the McQuaig Psychometric System visit or call 0203 111 9292.




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