Who Else Wants To Stay Calm?
Many things piss me off.
I’ve lost my temper.
I’ve learned the hard way.
Just like patience is a virtue, so is staying calm.
In the words of Epictetus:
Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions.”
Staying calm is a signal of control. Control of self.
Here’s how to stay calm…
You can’t create slack with tension.
Being calm means you have control over your mind. Emotions won’t lead you to bad decisions.
Excellent decision making, in any situation, is critical to a positive outcome.
I had a client who owed my company several hundred thousand dollars.
My first instinct could have been to get on the phone. To yell. To scream. To threaten international arbitration and legal pursuit.
But holy shit that’s not fun.
Nor is losing money.
My gut was telling me to take the high road.
We spoke to the client and gave them several options. We knew they were having financial trouble.
Getting mad wouldn’t solve anything. We were thinking clearly.
Being calm is an excellent negotiation skill.
We were kind, friendly, and understanding.
The client went bankrupt.
You may be thinking, ‘you dumb ass, being nice never pays’. And I’d smack you and say, ‘keep reading’.
The client restored their financial health. Because of our calm and focused demeanor, they now give us every cent of their business, at a premium.
They’re incredibly loyal and will never forget how we helped and supported them through difficult times.
This is what staying calm is all about.
You don’t cut ties. You don’t lose face. You’re able to think clearly.
You can apply this in all life situations.
Staying calm starts with emotional intelligence.
If you follow Gary Vee at all, you’ve been bombarded with EQ talk.
He’s 100% right.
Emotional intelligence helps you understand where your counterpart is coming from.
There have been thousands of times when a client was upset, a vendor was delayed, or someone in a restaurant was rude.
The first task of staying calm is to put yourself in their shoes.
The client is getting pressure from their boss. The vendor has little control over production. The person in the restaurant just stepped in baby shit.
You never know what the other person is going through.
Learn to understand their feelings.
Breathing isn’t for a monk-like yogi living on a mountain top.
If you’re not breathing, you’re dying. It’s a fundamental aspect of life. Breathe in, breathe out, you live.
It’s not reserved for hippy yogis or celebrity monks.
It’s for you.
To stay calm, you need to know how to breathe.
To stay present.
When you feel like you’re getting agitated, simply breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 5 seconds.
Only focus on your breath.
If you’re in the middle of a difficult situation, breathe slowly in through your nose and exhale.
As you do, listen to what they’re saying. Pull out your EQ and be present in the conversation.
Which leads to…
Don’t talk to a rock. Develop good communication skills.
Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, said that the number one skill employers are looking for is communication skills.
To stay calm, you need to know how to communicate. These will get you started.
1. Actively listen.
2. Confirm your understanding.
3. Speak clearly and concisely.
4. Great answers only come from great questions.
Great communication is a crucial trait for staying calm.
Be present, with a great question.
You got all worked up.
How will the way you acted change the situation?
I often ask this question in times of stress, panic, or anger.
Then I get to work and resolve the situation, with a clear head.
The wrong emotions will cloud your judgment.
When I’m becoming impatient, I’ll ask myself, why am I being impatient? What will this achieve for me and for others right now?
If it’s something I can avoid in the future, I’ll work that out after. If it’s something I don’t like doing or don’t enjoy, I’ll learn from it.
Simple. Stay calm. Stay clear headed.