“Many times crisis results when composure is missing.” –
In my previous post A Closer Look at Composure I touched on what composure is. In this post I’m going to give you five steps that will decrease stress, and help you become more composed.
Understanding and accepting that you need to develop composure is a bit stressful in and of itself. But only by appreciating strengths and understanding your weaknesses will you be able to modify and develop them.
- Know thyself
Stages of personal change include:
“I am unaware that I don’t do this well.”
(This is considered a blind spot.)
I know that I don’t do this well.”
(It’s self-awareness of the need to change.)
“I do this well only when I think about it.“
(A transition from awareness to action by modeling others who do this well.)
“I do this well all the time.”
(It’s a permanent personality change applied through high performance or by reflex.)
- Pause before speaking and/or reacting. This might be a two-second, 10-minute or complete 24-hour pause depending on the situation. If you can sleep or nap before responding, you’ll have a much clearer perspective to react and make a decision. If you are crunched for time, take a step back and slowly breathe in and out to calm your nerves and clear your head.
- Get out of the habit of listening to gossip or negative news, whether it’s office rumors or within your personal relationships. This will be very difficult to do at times, but you will be amazed at the change in your thinking patterns and the level of composure it takes for you to control your morbid curiosity. Focus on what is right, what is true, the things that have positive substance and will help you and others to live honestly and free of gossip.
- Control what you say; do not talk about others or spread rumors. These actions rob you of composure as you worry about who you told what to! You’ll sleep better at night when you take control and proper ownership of the words you speak and your responses to others. Remember, you will also communicate better once you pay attention to what is coming out of your mouth, so choose positive, honest, team-building words instead of damaging rumors.
- Identify people who can help you develop composure. This might be someone at your workplace, a personal coach or a mentor. Make sure the person you choose is a safe sounding board and someone who will be honest with you, but kind, while you take the time to develop yourself. Choose someone because of the composure you see in their life and relationships. Mimic them; positive imitation is the best form of flatter
When learning any new behavior, at times it may feel like it is a pure act of will…and it is. This is because during the reprogramming of your responses there may be nothing inside you that feels composed. Rest assured, though, as you mentally bring yourself into a composed state of mind and “acting as if,” the small victories will slowly begin to change your perspective and responses.
Do not be discouraged if at first this progression takes more active thought, mental awareness and commitment. With time, this transformation will begin to happen almost subconsciously in the subtlest nuances of your relationships and activities.
You will be amazed how much easier it will be to lead effectively when you know who you are and accept that you are capable and competent to handle, with composure, all the changes and challenges that life brings your way.
*** Be sure to check out the Winslow Behavioral Assessment as Composure is one of the influential Self Control traits we measure!