Can you Stay Calm in the Face of Challenge?

Becoming and remaining successful in these changing and challenging times, is about ensuring that you have an advantage over everyone around you. I don’t mean that you must try to be the best and overcome everyone you touch. The advantage I am referring to is that you must always try to keep a cool head and remain unruffled by any challenging circumstances, which may cross your path. I am positive that we have all been in a number of stress causing situations in the last few years, it is the nature of the times we are living in. When you lost control or you allowed yourself to lose your cool, during these stress causing situations, were you able to manage the situation and achieve a good result?

My experience has shown me that losing control or allowing stressful situations to overwhelm you, is completely counterproductive. When on the other hand, you acknowledge the challenging or stressful situation and by retaining your focus and believing in yourself and your abilities, you explore the challenge objectively. You are way better equipped to manage the situation and to get a better result in the end. I must admit remaining calm and keeping a level head is a difficult skill to learn.  Even when you have been practicing this for a while, and think you have mastered it, something really challenging or overwhelming crosses your path and you may slip up on occasion. Don’t allow the occasional slip-up to deter you from honing this crucial skill.

Yes, we have been going through really difficult and challenging times over the past few years. How we chose to respond to these circumstances, which in many cases, is beyond our immediate control, is always a choice. You can choose to respond instinctively, allowing yourself to feel overwhelmed and indulge in the PLOM option. The PLOM option is where you feel wounded and think “Poor Little Old Me” and wonder why this happening to you. The PLOM option is pointless and only wastes energy.

It is difficult or impossible to change the circumstances in the short term, which caused the stress in the first place. Interest rates are just what they are, the economy is just what it is, the president is not going to change, your costs prices may be skyrocketing, but you are unable to increase your selling price to your market, the business where you are working is right sizing and your job is under threat. You may be facing any or all of these challenging situations at the moment. You can chose to keep a cool head and figure the best way to manage the situation or you can throw your hands into the air and just give up.

You are far more likely to discover a workable solution in the short term, if you stay calm, explore alternatives and don’t rant and rave. Allowing yourself to rant and rave, feeling overwhelmed and wounded is, about as effective as shouting at an approaching tornado, telling it to go away. I have found that the best way to manage any stressful or challenging situation is to have a system or checklist available. As soon as you are faced with any challenging or potentially overwhelming circumstances in the future, you can use your checklist as a way of calming yourself.

By preparing a checklist and a process to handle any challenging situations in future, you equip yourself to better to stay calm and better manage the next challenging situation, which will inevitable cross your path in the future. I have offered a few tips below for building your checklist. When the moment of truth arrives in the future, you feel the pressure rising and things start to feel overwhelming, bring out your checklist and stay calm. Your circumstances are different to anyone else’s, so only use my checklist below as a guideline, you must develop your own checklist to match your unique circumstances.

1)    I am a SCUBA diver and we are trained to follow the following simple process whenever we encounter a stressful situation, whilst we are diving. STOP, Breathe, Think and the Act. I have always found this very helpful when facing any difficult or challenging circumstance, in any facet of my life. It prepares you to stay calm and approach the situation in a thoughtful, rather than an erratic and instinctive fashion.

2)    Remind yourself that you have faced many challenges in your life, before this one and that you have managed to work through all of them.

3)     Remind yourself that you are not the first person to face this challenge and also not the first person, who will overcome it too.

4)    Explore the facts and get as much knowledge about the situation as possible

5)    Be open and willing to ask for help. Two or more heads are always better than one.

You have faced and overcome numerous challenges up until now. Any new challenge can and will be overcome, if you stay calm and work through them. When faced with anything challenging, over which you have no or very little control in future. Use your checklist and systematically, search until you find a solution. There is always a way out, you just need to remain calm, until you find yours.

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