Cucumber Cool

Question: Some people never seem to get flustered when situations become chaotic. How do they do that?

Answer: We all would like to stay cool, calm and collected when the pressure rises. Sometimes it’s not easy to do. My dad was one such individual. He was trained as a scientist and was absolutely steady as a rock. When my mother would become excited about something, he was unflappable. I studied his quiet manner for many years and often wondered if what I saw on the outside was really happening the same way on the inside. As an adult I was finally able to answer this question the more mature I became.

Dad really was cool as a cucumber inside and out. His scientific background helped him analyze everything and find the facts rather than getting caught up in the emotion. Dad also never took himself too seriously. I can’t remember a single display of egotistical behavior in all of the years he was alive. These attributes are instructive for all of us.

When things start to spin out of control, we can look for the facts. Analytical thinking tends to be a calming process and may be a steadying influence. Imagine a circumstance where we are feeling “fight or flight.” Suppose a large customer has just indicated that it is no longer going to purchase from us. The revenue loss from this customer will mean employee layoffs and potential losses for the company. The staff is upset and panicked over the news. What is needed is someone who hasn’t lost his or her cool. This can happen if we focus on obtaining the facts about the situation. Our words and demeanor are soothing and our pursuit of a logical conclusion is comforting to those around us. Panic and discouragement give way to our team figuring out how to turn lemons into lemonade.

In addition to calmly tackling the situation in a clinical fashion we also avoid letting our egos get in the way. We show concern for others and help them manage through their feelings. We stay positive and upbeat. The people around us see that we’re unruffled and in a problem-solving mode and they respond in kind. Our approach to an unsettling situation helps to defuse the anxiety and channel it productively.

Staying cool, calm and collected is not an act but a mindset. Generally an emotional response to a negative situation does little to produce a resolution. When we shift into analyzing the facts and subordinate our egos to others, they are reassured and able to function in a fruitful manner.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

Cucumber on White

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