Article by Melissa Wolfe
They say in the eye of the tornado, there is stillness, that if you can find the center of the tornado, you will not get sucked up in the wind. I believe that we can achieve this state of stillness in real life, even when surrounded by chaos, psychological warfare, and the drama of our workplace. The key is conserving our energy and being mindful of where we spend it. A core component of our programs here at LeadersWay is teaching our clients how to find a place of calm during adversity.
Think of your energy as a pie. But, unfortunately, that pie only has so many pieces. It is finite. However, we sometimes get caught up in chaos and give all our pieces away to control the situations confronting us. Sometimes this even happens at the start of our day. Then what?
What do you have left for the rest of the day? How do you get more pie?
We always say in business that the person with the most energy wins. But in modern America, we are all exhausted before we even wake up in the morning. So there must be a way around this situation!
Maybe we meditate, write, exercise, or practice breathing? Yet, we still get emotionally hijacked every day by the constant input of new information and addressing the needs of the people around us. How can we possibly get more pie?
“When I was a young leader, I had someone tell me that I just needed to "turn down my give-a-shitter," which would help me conserve energy. Of course, I laughed and thought it was one of the funniest things. But unfortunately, not caring doesn't seem like a real option. It's not, especially when you are in a leadership position.”
As I reflected on my own experience, the truisms became obvious; it takes energy to be defensive, to explain myself, and talk my way out of situations that I had unwittingly created because of my unconscious behavior. It felt like everything took from me; I needed to be the person with the answers; I needed to be perceived in a certain way. I was determined to get ahead in my career, and it took everything I had as a human being. I WAS EXHAUSTED.
I was always running out of energy and needed to figure out a way to be less invested in every moment and exchange at work. I was spending too much time being emotionally attached to things that don't matter in the big picture.
Fast forward 20 years, that phrase "turn-down-your-give-a-shitter" still sticks with me, and I talk to my clients about it. But, now I stay neutral, and I ask questions. I don't allow the chaos around me to highjack me, and the control is all on me; I don't allow others to control how I feel or act. It's not that I don't "give a shit," but instead, I've learned to be less emotionally involved personally.
Not seeing the world or its situations as positive or negative allows me to be present enough to help someone else without bringing my agenda or ego. Instead, I can ask more passive questions, such as "why does everything have to be identified as good or bad, happy or sad, positive or negative? Why can't it just be?" I can talk to my team about these sorts of things.
Putting It Into Action
“Be original, show off your style, and tell your story.”
Working through these issues and reaching a point of letting things be is a tremendous asset in leadership and as a human. Therefore, we work with our clients to develop and use tools, such as effective communication habits and develop a company-wide toolbox to become healthier, happy people and better leaders and co-workers.
When you and your team can be calm in the face of a storm, there is no limit to what you can do. We'd love to share our tools with you.