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What I learned about calmness while navigating conflicts and working on myself
Calmness breeds calmness. It is one of the traits of a leader that can save a team from spiralling down into endless conflict or unproductive discussions. Why is it important? How to work on it? Let’s dive in 🤿
Why is it essential?☝🏼
Calmness creates a container to hold uncomfortable discussions and helps to alleviate some of the emotions. I define it as staying attentive, curious, focused, and respectful and not taking things personally.
It helps to keep the prefrontal cortex (responsible for logical thinking) “working” instead of going into fight or flight responses. When people are high on emotions, the way they process can be impeded significantly. They might not be able to understand logical argumentation.
What is calmness not? ❌
It’s not about blocking your expression but rather managing your emotions. It’s not about being indifferent but more about focusing on the argumentation. It’s not about imposing calmness on others but making it resonate with the group.
How to work on it? 🏋🏼♂️
Don’t take things personally 😐
Often, it’s not about you but other person’s history and experiences. Listen, think but maintain a mental distance. That said, if somebody is being disrespectful, respond with your expectations.
Be genuinely curious 🤓
about what the other person has to say. More often than not, hearing people out calms them down. It also lets you get to the honest answer behind their behaviour and stop focusing on yourself and judging.
Work on yourself ⚙️
Whether that’s therapy, coaching or journaling-it’s important not to pass your projections, fears or concerns onto others. This is the hard stuff that pays off. It takes time and courage to rewire your neuronal pathways and lets you be more intentional.
Respond, don’t react⚡️
Reactions are habitual at the moment — an automatic trigger. The response is a choice based on what you want to do, not just going along with your emotions. A great book on learning is Radical Compassion by Tara Brach https://www.tarabrach.com/books/radical-compassion/
Learn what calms you down 🧘♂️
in the heat of the moment. Is it a breathing technique (4–7–8 is excellent), a mental frame (“how do I want to react in this situation?”, “I can always change how I respond”), changing your body language or requesting a short break? Find yours.
🎭As with all, this is a life-long journey. Mastering the above will let you thrive in various scenarios. Viktor Frankl summed it up nicely: “Between the stimulus and the response, there is a space, and from that space is your power and your freedom”.Do the work and keep calm🏼