When it comes to productivity, we often let the stress of things that are out of our control derail us, producing additional stress. This can turn into a downward spiral that is difficult to reverse. As an Extreme Focus™ Certified Mental Performance Coach, I help people manage this kind of stress so that ultimate performance is achieved.
In our coaching methods, we use animal instincts to trigger right behavior for maximum performance. The koala bear represents maintaining composure and control, a key component to effectively managing stressful situations. Koala bears never get flustered. They take things one step at a time.
Our koala bear is named OHWEL™. This reminds us that in challenging times, particularly where things appear to be outside our control, we can look at the situation and say “Oh well” or we can throw ourselves into a negative headspace and say “Oh hell.” Remember that it’s not the things that happen to us that define us, but rather how we handle them. Saying “Oh well” may not solve the problem right away, but it puts you into position to solve the problem. On the flip side, if you say “Oh hell,” things tend to continue going south, and the negative energy you add prevents your moving forward.
It’s important to remember that whatever stressful situations arise are an opportunity for learning and growth. With a proper mindset, you can get into the practice of enjoying the battle of your day-to-day experiences. Your perspective, in large part, determines your success, and you can shift your attitude to see the positive that can come from any situation or circumstance. On the journey toward success, you’ll undoubtedly come upon detours that you need to navigate, but you can learn to maneuver around these obstacles to get you back on the main pathway.
It’s the lens through which you view your circumstances that determines your success.
Glenn Llopis, contributing writer for Forbes, shares the following as it relates to leadership and maintaining composure under pressure:
The 21st century leader sees adversity through the lens of opportunity. Rather than panic, a leader with composure takes a step back and begins to connect the dots of opportunity within adverse circumstances. These types of leaders quickly detect the causes of adversity and solve for them immediately. They then enable the opportunities previously unseen that could have avoided the adversity to begin with. Many times crisis results when composure is missing.
Llopis also shared seven tips for maintaining control and composure during pressure-packed moments:
- Don’t allow your emotions to get in the way.
- Don’t take things personally.
- Keep a positive mental attitude.
- Remain fearless.
- Respond decisively.
- Take accountability.
- Act like you’ve been there before.
(For more on these tips, go to http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2014/01/20/7-ways-leaders-maintain-their-composure-in-difficult-times/#55d2abd9708d)
This is not new thinking. Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor in 161-180, said “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Put this into practice
Think of a time when you lost your composure in a pressure situation, and answer the following:
- Describe the situation in detail. Determine which parts of the situation were outside your control.
- How did you respond to the circumstances that were not within your control?
- What could you have done differently to impact the outcome of the challenge?
- What did you learn from this experience?
Now think about a situation that you are facing in the near future.
- What is your plan for effectively managing this challenge?
- What three intentions do you have for the outcome?
- How can you prepare yourself personally for these circumstances?
We can’t always change our conditions, but we can certainly change our attitude about our conditions. When you have this mindset and practice it every chance you get, you can find blessings within the challenges you face. This will help reduce your stress level when you find yourself in a pressure situation and will allow you to better manage it.
Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the battle.
Betsy Westhafer is the founder of ActionMasters Network. She is an Extreme Focus Certified Mental Performance Coach and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Extreme Focus Magazine. firstname.lastname@example.org, 513-464-6352.
This article is reprinted from Issue #8 of Nonprofit Performance Magazine. Subscribe today!
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