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Observations Relationships

Keeping Your Cool…

I woke up this morning feeling great!

I watched the news and got the latest and greatest reports about 2019-nCoV, a.k.a. ‘the Coronavirus,’ and other highlights from here and abroad. I threw a load of clothes in the dryer to finish that chore. Things were going well.

I ended up making a phone call that ended up turning my morning from great to blah! The outcome of the call wasn’t my intention when I dialed the number, but challenges happen.

What made this mood swing worthy of a post is that even though I was having a fantastic morning, one unexpected event was able to shift my whole perspective, and THAT is what I want to talk about.

When we allow things to shift our attitude, we are giving our power away. We encounter many things, events, and people in our everyday lives but, the ONE thing that we have control over is our attitude towards these things.

The crazy part is that when this happened, I began to think about negative things. I stubbed my toe a while back, and I’m still mad at the bed, why does the mirror have those little white dots on it, that bird outside sure is making a lot of noise, just random non-related minor agitations.

Why did that happen, especially since my morning was going so well?

The unexpected ending of the call can be reduced to someone sticking out their foot as you walk by them, causing you to ‘trip.’ Whenever we enter a situation that we ‘anticipate’ will end a certain way, we can prepare for that before the situation. Example… When I see that bill collector’s phone number on my caller ID, I prepare for the call or just let it go to voicemail. I anticipate the situation, and I prepare for the interaction or lack thereof.

When we are tripped, the loss of composure is the killer. I was walking on sunshine, and now I’m looking like Flippo, the Clown! That loss of composure sends us from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 1 in 0.2 seconds!! That lack of preparation leads us into defense, then attack mode.

The defense part is stopping ourselves from falling. When the call ended, I was upset and wondering, ‘what just happened.’ I started to reevaluate the call and everything that happened in it AND began building my fortress from any other’ attacks.’

The attack part is ‘who dun it and why.’ When finding out who tripped you, the partner question is why. The problem with who/why is that our composure has left the building. And, our focus is genuinely on ‘getting them back.’ Since we already know the who from the call, now the focus is on ‘getting them back.’ Now enters all of the negative thoughts.

You see, the crazy part is that why doesn’t really exist in this scenario. So, none of the answers will be sufficient because the focus isn’t on an apology for tripping you. The focus is on “they’re going to pay!”

Now that I’ve gone through all of this writing, what’s the purpose, and what’s the fix?

Losing our composure is never a good thing. We must be conscious of our state of being, no matter what that state may be.

According to Psychology Today[1], the key is ‘the ability to remain calm yet focused under pressure.’

So, here are some tools to help us stay composed…

  • Be aware that people who lose their cool generally carry a bad name for themselves.
  • In the end, the person that is truly hurt by your actions is YOURSELF.
  • When you feel yourself falling, put your best foot forward. Remaining calm AND focused is imperative. So, resist the urge to “get ’em!”
  • Take a breath and think BEFORE you react. Taking that brief moment could mean all the difference between ‘no harm-no foul’ and World War III.

One personal tool that I use is writing. Whenever I’m challenged by life, I try to step away from the situation and write about it. If this were one of my clients, what would I ask them to consider? What types of options would I suggest for them?

Putting my coaching hat on in my very own life experiences bring reality into what I suggest to those that I work with.

Stay Blessed,

Jackie

  [1] Psychology Today, Marty Nemko Ph.D., Composure, 2018-07-27 – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-do-life/201807/composure

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