Most of us can handle pressure--up to a point. And there are some people who seemingly thrive on it. But it's not the pressure that makes them perform better--it's how they handle it. And the good news is that those are skills anyone can learn.

Here are 7 powerful ways to handle pressure and keep yourself at peak performance.

1. Don't be intimidated or overwhelmed.
You never really get to know yourself until you are under pressure. Don't see pressure as a threat to your confidence or abilities--change your perception and view it as an invitation to challenge yourself.

2. Take back control.
When the pressure is too much to handle, take back control where you can. You may not be able to control events, but you can control your responses.

3. Don't aim for perfection.
Perfectionism is a leading cause of stress. The greatest pressure we place on ourselves is the pressure to be perfect, but perfectionism sets you up to fall short even if you succeed.

4. Focus on one task at a time.
People under pressure don't work better--they work with greater focus. When you have an important task to accomplish or an important goal to reach, the worst thing you can do is become overwhelmed. Perform at your best by closing in on one task at a time and doing it well.

5. Create a road map.
Always, always have a plan. The worst thing that can happen when you are pressured is that you lose yourself in a labyrinth of endless tasks with no strategy. The best way to combat pressure and perform better is to create a detailed road map to follow (and change if needed) as you work on completing your project or task.

6. Manage your mood.
Moods are contagious, which may be a good or a bad thing. Don't allow moods or strong feelings to take over--feel what you feel, but learn to manage your moods to bring out your best.

7. Let purpose lead the way.
You can do anything under pressure if you have a commitment to the purpose. When you understand the "why" you can bear almost any "how."

Feeling pressure is never fun. But if you learn how to handle it, you can breeze through--and even gain a reputation as someone who can't be rattled.