I am a duck. At least, that is how my parents refer to me: serene and calm on the outside, underneath paddling like bloody hell. At least I think it’s that, or my webbed feet and love of bread. Either or, really. In my new team my calmness was the first thing people noticed (that and my quacking). It’s not a bad thing to be noted for. This, as with everything, comes with practice.
In work I have been fortunate enough to have excellent leaders imbued with a calmness of authority, always unrattled no matter the circumstance. I knew I wanted to be that person. When I joined my current company, on the induction day I met a fellow man from Wales who related an anecdote that I’ve regurgitated for years. In a fairly typical humdrum day, he went about his business as usual, said hello to his staff and got on with his work. After a few hours one of his team approached his office cautiously and kindly asked if everything was ok. Slightly bemused, he asked why they thought something was wrong. The reply came ‘usually when you’re happy, you whistle, and today you didn’t whistle.’ Unbeknownst to him the entire team had noticed this trait, and he realised just what leadership meant. From that point on, no matter what happened or how his day was actually unfolding, he whistled.
No team will voluntarily follow a leader that is running around kicking and screaming. Remain calm, collect your thoughts no matter what. Your team will thank you for it, as too will your mental health. And so this Christmas try to give yourself the gift of calm: allow your mind some peace and quiet; take a walk outside in the countryside, lapping up the sunshine (southern hemisphere!); say no to a few things you don’t want to do to give yourself some time; and relax. Out of all the presents you buy, perhaps try for yourself one of the calming meditations apps like Headspace – that dude has a voice like honey, I tell you!
I will I sign-off this post with another quotation from the excellent James Allen (voiced on Youtube):
The strong, calm man is . . . like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. That exquisite poise of character that we call serenity is the last lesson of culture. . . how insignificant mere money-seeking looks in comparison with a serene life. Tempest-tossed souls, wherever you may be, under whatever conditions you may live, know this: In the ocean of life the isles of blessedness are smiling and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hands firmly upon the helm of thought. . . self-control is strength. Right (positive) thought is mastery. Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, "Peace. Be still!
Take care of yourself this Christmas, remember you’re the most important thing you’ll ever possess. Invest in yourself. Hugs, Reed.
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