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Lewis Howes

How to Stay Calm Under Chaos

Are you going to react or respond?

I want to start today’s episode with a quote from Travis Bradberry who said, “Mistakes and pressure are inevitable. The secret to getting past them is to stay calm.”

We talk a lot about embracing failure and overcoming disappointment, but what do we do at the moment when something goes terribly wrong? In today’s 5-Minute Friday, we are going to talk about just that. There are ways to handle setbacks as they’re happening in the moment of a big-time pressure situation. I want to give you an example:

Recently, we had our fifth annual Summit of Greatness, but we had to do a virtual event, and we’d never done an online virtual event live. And at one point on the last day, once we thought we had everything smooth, we decided to do something different. We added in a special guest at the last minute, and for whatever reason, the audio went out on me. So I’m trying to introduce this guest, and no one can hear my voice. I’m thinking, “Oh, there are thousands of people watching live, and they can’t hear me. What do we do?” Instead of freaking out on camera, I decided I needed to be calm and wait until the problem could be solved.

Sometimes, we just have to roll with the punches, especially in 2020. Thankfully, there are five key things we can do to ensure we stay calm and cool during stressful situations.

“Prepare for the worst moments so you’re better when the worst happens.” @lewishowes  

#1. Prepare for the worst moments. You don’t have to get ready if you stay ready. There will be moments in each of our lives when we have to rise to the occasion — whether that means making a speech in the boardroom or giving CPR. In these moments, we have to be prepared, and the best way to be prepared is to just stay prepared.

#2. Be willing to be uncomfortable. If we’re always comfortable all the time, then it’s going to be extremely uncomfortable when stressful moments occur. But, if we are constantly seeking ways to stretch ourselves and challenge our character, then we build up resistance. We become stronger. And when hard times hit, they don’t rock our worlds.

#3. Slow down. When we starting experiencing tech issues at the Summit of Greatness, I didn’t react and get flustered. I just took a breath and slowed down. In the chaos of the moment, there’s an impulse to fix everything right away, but this can create more issues. If you find yourself in a stressful situation, take a deep breath, and sit for a moment to gather your thoughts.

#4. Make sure that other people don’t see you flustered. As leaders, it’s essential that we uphold a strong pressure of calm and security when things go wrong. If you start freaking out, then the people who look up to you will freak out as well, and a cycle of chaos is created. Go back to key #3 and take a deep breath and decide whether you’re going to react or respond.

#5. Realize perspective. Every moment makes you stronger, teaches you something, and prepares you for something bigger. I’ve had so many embarrassing moments in stressful situations. I used to beat myself up if I wasn’t perfect. And that just left me more stressed. Now I just know this is part of life. It’s part of making me stronger. It’s part of making me more humble. It’s how you respond to the situation that determines who you are.

I want to close with a quote from Nelson Mandela, who said, “I never lose — I either win or learn.” These lessons are going to teach you something for the next chapter as well. If no one’s told you lately — you’re loved, you’re worthy, and you matter. It’s time to go out there and do something great.

Join me on Episode 1008 to learn how to stay calm under chaos!

“Be the calm among the chaos around you.” @lewishowes  

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Next Galaxy by Extan

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