How to keep your cool in the eye of a storm
That isn’t a photoshopped picture…what you are seeing is actually a full sized SUV completely submerged underwater in Chennai!! Over the past few weeks, this city has been repeatedly lashed with torrential rains which have topped a 1-in-a-100-years record. The aftermath of this flooding has been even more brutal with many hundreds of people dead, homes destroyed & millions displaced (note: some other parts of the state were even worse hit).
As I saw many flee the city in seek of refuge, for some reason I was reminded of the saying that it is the calmest in the eye (ie. the center) of the storm. It made me decide that contrary to popular opinion, I would stay and help. After all this is my new professional home and there are so many much less fortunate who needed help. Now the situation on the ground was actually unsafe and bad so how does one actually stay calm in the center of a storm? Well, here are just a couple key ideas that came in handy for me:
6 Keys to Mastering “Being Calm” in the Eye of the Storm.
- Be grounded and connected to yourself. When external chaos arises in our environment, there is a natural human tendency to focus outward on “solving the problem”. When too much of our energy gets tied up “over there”, we can lose our center and our power. This is the most essential ingredient in “successfully dancing” with ANY challenge or difficult situation. Get reconnected to your power immediately. When we aren’t grounded, we lose access to our intuition, best thinking and resources to handle the situation.Being grounded means being connected to your body, and your power. Breathe. Stand up. Feel your legs under you, connected solidly to the ground. Imagine a steel rod extending down through the back of your spine into the core of the earth, while simultaneously extending up through the crown of your head into the sky. Breathe. You may also recall a time in your life when you were exceptionally grounded. Performing well in sports or business. The more you become conscious of accessing your power and sense of grounded-ness, the more you will naturally live from this space.
- Surrender to “what is”. The “storm” is happening. Okay, so it is. Quit wishing that “reality” were different than it is. It’s raining, snowing or hailing. You CAN’T control it. You can’t control the stressed emotions or behaviors of another human being. You can’t control events. You can’t control the decisions of customers. You can’t control blocks that come up along the way. You can’t control time. There are certain steps to establishing or igniting a business. However, as we see things for what they are, you realize you CAN control your internal emotional experience. As you are grounded to yourself, you can ALWAYS handle “what is”.
- Live from the present moment. You can witness a “storm” as a beautiful act of nature, or focus on the damage that may ensue (FUTURE) or the damage already done (PAST). Focusing on the past or the future takes you out of the present moment, and immediately places you in fear, worry or stress. Dwelling on a worst case scenario that may never come is wasted energy. BE HERE NOW. When we’re truly PRESENT to the moment, it becomes clear what the next step is. In the present moment you have the greatest access to wisdom and guidance. While anticipating the future is useful, we don’t want to live there…especially during a storm. CALM comes from having ALL of your energy with you in present time. Just as you lose your power and center when your energy is wrapped up in someone else’s problem outside yourself, you lose energy when you dwell too much in the future or past. Be here now.
- Consciously choose the higher path.Managing your energy is the theme of this article, as it is the essential ingredient to remain calm and centered…whether a “storm” is present or not.David Hawkins book, Power vs. Force Offers a scale to depict higher energy vs. lower energy emotions. When we are caught up in lower level emotions such as fear, anxiety, guilt, anger, grief or hopelessness, our energy is heavy and dense. From this perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in “worst case scenarios”, as you witness the “storm”. Access to wisdom is limited.
However, you can consciously choose to raise your energy. You may start by accessing “courage” and a “willingness” to change. You may focus on what you “appreciate” about the situation and your life. You may start “trusting” the process. Perhaps you accept “what is”…the circumstances, your own anxiety or the emotional upset of another. Laughing, drinking water, movement, and being present are all quick ways to raise your energy. Looking for the gifts in the “storm” is also an effective strategy. Just because you got caught momentarily in a negative emotion, doesn’t mean you have to live there. Make a commitment to keep your energy level HIGH. Make conscious choices. From a high energy state…decisions are easy, patience is infinite, love flows, and magic happens.
- Recognize and anticipate the GIFTS and “perfection” of your current “storm. Often times the greatest crises are the catalyst for remarkable growth. There are gifts for us to embrace at every step along the way. Is your business slower than you’d like? Perhaps the gift is extra time with the children or an opportunity to refine your vision. Is your spouse going through a difficult period? Perhaps this is the juncture for a life-altering change that will ultimately create more joy for you both. Does it feel that you won’t ever complete your enormous task list and your new business will never flourish? Perhaps this is an opportunity to create new systems, and create a new mindset in taking your business to the next level. Perhaps this “storm” is an opportunity for you to really “get” that you CAN remain calm and centered in the eye of any “storm”.
As I was preparing to complete this article today, I was overcome by feelings of anxiety, fear and taken off-balance for no apparent reason. At first, this irritated me…then I recognized the “gifts”. It allowed me to write from a greater place of personal experience, as I needed to shift my energy in order to write this article. That allows me to speak from a more authentic space, and perhaps write a more influential article. And, as I investigated the anxiety and fear, it created a new level of awareness for me, which was yet another gift.There is always a gift. Often there are MANY.
- The Dance Between Responsibility and Trust. TRUST that what is to come ALWAYS serves the Greater Good. AND, as life is unfolding…take responsible action. We do the best we can in comforting a spouse, solving a problem, managing our day and defining a strategy. Part of taking responsibility is also investigating your own reactions, fears or eliminating a limiting belief. Yet, there comes a point when we need to trust the process. All is unfolding as it should. Again, leaning too much on the side of responsibility, we’re trying to “control the storm”, and that doesn’t work. If it’s raining out, you may pull out an umbrella, collect the water for another purpose, or just enjoy the experience of it – recognize that all “storms” do come to an end.
While I’ve used the gut-wrenching #ChennaiRains as the backdrop for my reflections, I believe these principles don’t just apply to humanitarian crises. Rather as senior managers & leaders of any business, we need to be thinking and acting in this mode all along. This is especially true at a startup…after all if we’re dreaming big & aiming to change the world, you can hardly expect to do it without weathering any “storms”. For me, I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to all those who over the last week have inspired me with their courage, passion & patience
So in summary, next time others consider it foolhardy & say you’re rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, by staying calm in the eye of the storm you just may be the captain of the Carpathia who by preparing his ship amidst the same storm ended up saving a third of the Titanic’s victims! And with any luck you’ll also witness inspirational scenes like this news report where by staying positive & helping each other, we deliver impact even in crisis. Good luck & Good Speed!!!
- Posted by admin
- On April 14, 2015
- 1 Comments