The Power of Calm
My heart races on Monday mornings. There’s a mountain of work to do. It feels like I’m being punished for relaxing Sunday afternoon. I should have logged in and answered email but I didn’t. I should have finished that report, or jump started some of this week’s projects. But I didn’t. All of this translates into feeling rushed. Or to say it with a positive connotation, I’m “eager” to get to work.
Have you ever tried to talk with someone who was in a hurry? How did it feel? Did you feel like they listened? Did you feel like they cared? Did it feel like your message was important? Did it feel like you were important? No it didn’t.
Calmness communicates interest in others and their message. On the other hand, hurry says I’m not interested and you’re not important.
You can express calmness by:
- Standing still
- Speaking slowly
- Small hand movements rather than huge gestures
- Removing that pained look from your face
- Sitting with someone
- Writing down what the speaker is saying
- Asking a follow up question
If you don’t have time to listen, tell them, “I’m interested in what you’re saying but I have a meeting in five minutes. When can we touch base later?”
Leadership is influence:
Listening opens the door of influence. In other words, when others feel you have listened, they’re more likely to respect you and accept your decisions even if they aren’t what I like.
Leaders reach higher with calmness
Your “calm” blog captures exactly how I feel on this monday morning. I just met one deadline and I have another one looming next Monday. Coupled with insomnia, these deadlines become even more stressful. Here’s to maintaining calm, even in the eye of the storm.
Here’s to the power of calm! Thanks for your feedback. I look forward to your continued interactions.
This is all so true, Dan. I have to say, when you are balancing parenting with working full time (as most of us are), shifting emotional gears for Monday morning is very jarring. It would be kind of cool to either personally develop or have organizations develop a Friday afternoon, 15-minute session devoted to what to expect Monday morning, so we have a “game plan” ready.
Paula, great idea on a Friday afternoon game-plan meeting. In addition, I’ve been thinking about the power of check lists. I wonder if a Monday Morning check list could free the mind and insure all the bases are covered. Thanks for jumping into the conversation. I look forward to more of your thoughts and suggestions. Dan
This may be another reason why a regular Monday morning staff meeting is not as effective as it could be, if scheduled at a different time or day of the week.
Good point Bob… many feel like they are getting caught up or up to speed … a meeting my kill momentum. thanks Dan
We call it the Monday Blues.you have to cram everything on Monday so the rest of the week can be free:)
that sounds like a plan… 🙂
This is so funny, it’s exactly what my wife keeps telling me: “If you have something else on your mind, or if you are in the middle of something else, just TELL ME! Don’t pretend you are listening when you are not!” Good, practical advice about being a better listener.
Thanks again for dropping in. Love your blog! And say hi to your wife for me. 🙂
What great advice you have share with me today “Dr. Dan.” Today is Monday, August 9th. I am reading your blog at 6:20 PM and I fear that I did not accomplish one thing even though I was very busy the entire day. Monday’s should not be this way. At least they weren’t like this ten years ago when I worked for a great architectural/engineering firm in Chicago, where we never met as a team until Friday morning. We determined that Friday was the best time to meet because we could wrap up any loose ends from the previous 4 business days and then plan for what you were going to do on Monday when we returned for work after having a stress-free two days off over the weekend. I truly miss that action and that group of professionals.
Great comment. I feel the passion in your story.
Wonderful idea re: Friday team meetings rather than Monday morning. My experience indicates that Monday morning meetings are nearly universally hated (at least disliked).
Thanks for adding value,
Great post Dan! One thought on Friday meetings. That seems a good time for a quick check in, but I like meeting on Monday afternoons to lay out the week ahead. Having a team powwow on Friday gives everyone the whole weekend to lose track of what they should be doing the next week. Meeting on Monday afternoon gives them the morning to fight the inevitable fires, but then pulls priorities into focus at what I consider to be the optimal time. (Although, I know everyone has a different take on this.)
I think Monday afternoon makes a heck of a lot more sense than Monday morning.
Like you, I prefer getting things underway. Answering important emails, and putting out any fires.
Thanks for jumping into the conversation.
Dan, The Monday morning “should’s” really cramp style and dam up flow. A crotchety old sage once said “Don’t ‘should’ on yourself”.
The Friday morning weekly review and afternoon clean-up/close-out/look ahead (a la David Allen’s GTD, as well) is the best antidote for that problem, as fellow architect Mark indicated above.
This is a choice regardless of the traditional structure of a workplace. Do it for yourself, and grace your Mondays with “I get to” excitement, plan and resources in place instead of clean-up of last weeks mess!
“Action” is the new competence! Just do it!
Thanks for jumping in on this one.
Love the clean up/close-out/look-ahead approach. I haven’t read David’s book yet. It looks like it’s time to just do it.
“I get to” NICE
Excellent tips! This applies not only when you are overwhelmed with too much to do, running behind and such, but also for working with someone who is upset, frustrated,or angry. Each one of the bullet points are good ways to not let the others attitude affect yours and keep things productivie.
Thanks for your comment. You’ve applied these ideas beyond ourselves to others and in doing so you’ve expanded the conversation.
How wonderful …, now I just read your article Dan.
Very nice and true message about the power of calm.
By using all 8 expressions of calmness mentioned by you, we definitely show we care and we become respected not only professional but also in our personal life.
Wish you the best and inspiration in all your great articles !
Thanks for your words of encouragement.
I’m so glad you stopped in.
Success to you,
thank you for this! 🙂
Your welcome Sara
OMG! I really thought that I was the only one that ever felt this way. Thank you for this article! It really helped me feel a sense of calm about the start of the week & actually listening to people. I always get upset with myself for allowing people time to talk even when I don’t have it.
Again thank you for this!
Thanks for such an encouraging comment. cheers, Dan