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Tim in Action

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Piercing through all of the noise

Keep You Composure…Always

If there is one personality trait above all others that can devastate our personal brand credibility in an instant it is losing our cool. There are so many ripple effects that come along with “losing it.” It may feel good in the moment, but in the long run it is just plain bad.

We can make all the excuses we want; “It’s not fair”, “But, he screwed me” or “She deserved it.” All of these justifications may be true, but they don’t matter. What does matter is how we respond to the perceived wrong.

This is a real struggle for me. Too frequently I let my emotions get the best of me. And more often than not, I regret my response. Here’s how it usually goes for:

  • I experience the perceived wrong
  • I get carried away and express my outrage in an over the top manner
  • I come home and tell my wife, Patricia, what happened
  • Patricia listens and lets me thrash about
  • Then, if she feels I was wrong or overreacted she utters the words I cringe when I hear, “You are not going to like what I am about to say.” And I don’t.
  • I protest (of course in an over the top manner) explaining why she is wrong
  • Patricia says nothing and leaves it at that
  • Invariably, I process what Patricia said and almost always come back, sheepishly acknowledging she was right.

Gosh, how I wish I could keep my composure-even when I AM right! I’d rather be effective than right.

I admire those people who seem to have that special skill of unflappability. I don’t think we can be a good leader if we are always losing our cool. Volatility creates imbalance in the ranks. Conversely, being emotionally steady empowers those around us.

I remember James Baker and David Boise during the Florida recount of the 2000 presidential election.  Boise was the lawyer and spokesperson for the Gore Team. Baker was the spokesperson for Team Bush. I remember quite vividly how these two men were so calm and deliberate amidst all the hysteria. I do think that the smooth transition of power from President Clinton to President elect Bush was due in large part to the way these two men, who were at the center of the controversy, handled themselves and thus, set the tone for everyone else.

Who do you admire as the model of composure?

Next time you feel your emotions getting the best of you ask yourself, “How would he/she handle the situation?”

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