Career Strategist Elizabeth Koraca: Optimal Performance Before High Pressure Moments; How To Relieve Stress, Clear Your Head, and Prepare Yourself For High Stakes Business Encounters

Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated
Authority Magazine
Published in
10 min readDec 25, 2020


Catch it early. When you are starting to feel stressed and overwhelmed, use your tools to break the cycle. The more stressed we are, the harder it is to come back from it. It’s far easier to settle ourselves when mildly stressed than after fight or flight takes over.

As a part of our series about “Optimal Performance Before High Pressure Moments”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Koraca.

Elizabeth Koraca is a Career Strategist and Media Contributor in Los Angeles & New York City. She helps business professionals improve their image, messaging, and personal branding. She coaches and trains executives to reach their full potential by using a proven step-by-step program to sharpen presentation, interview, and communication skills. Representative clients include professionals at Google, Square, Facebook, Morgan Stanley, Pfizer, and many prominent New York-based hedge funds.

Previously, Elizabeth was a TV News Anchor for Reuters, where she ran the New York US/China TV business News Desk. She has interviewed hundreds of the world’s top CEOs and investors, such as Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman, Jim Rogers, and Wilbur Ross. Elizabeth is also a TV Contributor and a regular on CNN, Fox News and Cheddar TV. Her advice has been featured in print publications New York Magazine, NASDAQ, Entrepreneur and more.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in Toronto, Canada. I have a wonderful family. I was a very shy and fearful child. I never spoke up for myself and always pushed everything down. I was once told by my high school English teacher after giving a presentation, “Don’t quit your day job. Public speaking is not for you.” That was a horrible feeling. When I became a TV reporter and anchor, I learned to use my voice for the good of myself and others and this gave me the confidence to speak up for myself. This is why I do what I do now, which is to help people stand up for themselves, give them tips and tools to speak with confidence, and empower others to be their own best advocate.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as an entrepreneur or business leader? We’d love to hear the story.

My dad is an entrepreneur and the perfect example of what hard work looks like. I admire him so much. He escaped communism to come to North America for a better life with no money and did not speak English. He put himself through college and supported our family by having a dental laboratory business for over 40 years. He showed me that hard work, perseverance and compassion is how you should conduct yourself in business. I am so proud of my father and what he was able to create and so grateful for the life he gave my sister and me.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

Toni Reinhold, an editor at the Wall Street Journal, helped encourage me to get to where I am today. I met Toni when she was President of The Newswomen’s Club of New York. All those years ago she believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She taught me everything she knew about financial journalism. Not only was she a mentor, but my greatest advocate who helped me get my big break as a news anchor at Reuters TV.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

The biggest mistake I made in my career was thinking that I had to be perfect and everything I did had to be perfect. And when it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t good enough. Another mistake I made was needing people’s approval and needing to be liked. I ended up being a doormat and people pleased everyone so I could get their approval. I learned this lesson the hard way that not everyone is going to like you and that is okay.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

Stop putting pressure on yourself to be further along in your career than you are. We compare ourselves to others who have more all the time and this will hold you back. As the saying goes, comparison is the thief of joy so don’t compare yourself to others. You can always strive to improve your personal best and that is the only comparison you should be doing.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The book, Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno, saved my life! The tips from Dr. John Sarno’s The Mind Body Prescription saved me years ago from a life of debilitating back pain and his advice continues to help keep me pain free. If you are someone who internalizes stress and you suffer from back pain or any other physical pain, it's a must read. This is one of my favorite books of all time. I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Sarno before he passed away. Thank you Dr. Sarno for your lifelong dedication to healing back pain!

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou — “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I know this to be true as a presentation coach because what people remember the most, are the stories you tell where they can relate. When people relate, you’ve created a lasting connection.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I’ve worked with Google and recently hosted a personal branding workshop with their account executives. We had a great, interactive session discussing how to increase your credibility, strengthen your reputation and the value you add, and make yourself more visible within your company.

I also love working with Chief, where I am a founding guide and executive coach for high-level female executives. Chief is a great organization that supports and connects women leaders.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As a business leader, you likely often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to cope with the burden of stress?

You are not alone in dealing with stress and overwhelm. Here are some of my strategies to cope with the burden of stress.

Listen to your body. A study in the journal Biological Psychology suggests that people with better body awareness tend to feel less stressed. Being outside and engaging in physical activity have relaxive effects for the body and mind and are great for helping us feel better when we start to feel stressed.

Catch it early. When you are starting to feel stressed and overwhelmed, use your tools to break the cycle. The more stressed we are, the harder it is to come back from it. It’s far easier to settle ourselves when mildly stressed than after fight or flight takes over.

Know your triggers. Be aware of who and what presses your buttons or sets you off. Take charge of the situation and get in front of it. Remind yourself you are in charge. You may want to make a list of your stressors just to be aware of them.

Set goals to avoid tornado brain. When we have so much going on, setting goals and writing down everything in our minds will help us feel more in control, increase clarity and decrease stress

Aside from being able to deal with the burden of stress, can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

Take things one at a time. Thinking about everything all at once can be overwhelming so shifting your focus to one task at a time can help clear brain fog and help ease stress. ⁠

Make a list of what you can control and what you can’t control. Focus on what you can control - it will help you feel more in control.

Ask for help for those things that you can’t control. This will help you feel more supported as you move forward.

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques, meditations or visualizations to help optimize yourself? If you do, we’d love to hear about it.

A morning meditation can do wonders for the mind and makes a huge difference in the rest of the day. My favorite guided meditations are Deepak Chopra and Headspace. For those who prefer to meditate on your own, you can slowly breath in for four counts and then slowly breath out for four counts. You can practice this breathing technique anywhere to slow things down.

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

Creating goals, having a timeline and scheduling your action items in the calendar will help you stay on track. Be sure to have your goals visible. Print them out where you can see them or create a calendar reminder so you are reminded of them daily. This will help you focus more on your outcomes.

We all know the importance of good habits. How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Hiring my own career coach helped me achieve my desired outcomes. Focusing on what I want and not what I don’t want, has helped me along my journey. Surrounding yourself with supportive people. Being strategic and keeping my goals on the front burner.

What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

I love the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. It has great advice for an easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones. Hiring a coach to help you with blindspots and break old habits that are not serving you are also helpful. Make a list of the habits you want to change so when you start going down the bad habit road, stop yourself and redirect yourself. Knowing your bad habits and being aware of them is half the battle.

As a business leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Get yourself in a great state of mind. For example, play motivating music, try meditation, do a physical activity you enjoy such as yoga and have a clear intention of what you want to achieve over a certain period of time. Set up a timer for yourself where you are only going to be working on a certain project and avoid other distractions by silencing your phone, closing all unnecessary tabs on your computer’s browser and perhaps even putting your phone in a different room.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I want to inspire others to speak up for themselves and have a voice. I know how self-doubt can anchor us and keep us from pursuing our goals and dreams because I have experienced this myself. As a career coach, I am your strategic partner and motivational advisor. I work to boost job performance, but I also make it my mission to discover the voice inside you that is afraid to come out, the voice that wants to lead, innovate and grow. Discovering that voice is what inspires me.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

I have been inspired by Oprah my entire life. I can remember as a kid watching her show with my mom every afternoon at 4 pm. I love her purpose to help others and empower them. She isn’t afraid to talk about subjects that are not often spoken about. She is a fearless leader and a great role model.

How can our readers further follow your work online?







Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.



Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated
Authority Magazine

Entrepreneur, angel investor and syndicated columnist, as well as a yoga, holistic health, breathwork and meditation enthusiast. Unlock the deepest powers