Leader Communication – pause, breathe

November 15, 2012 (San Diego)

            When I am in a stressful communications environment and I am feeling anxious and stressed, if I pause for a moment and breathe my system settles down and I am able to think again.

            Funny, as noted on Nov 8th, when I am stressed and anxious I stop thinking and start reacting. When I am in react my options all seem to diminish to two: one of which is bad for all parties and the other is bad for sure for me. I recall that Covey wrote: “There needs to be at least 3 options for there to be perceived choice.”

            I was leading a training situation when I got into a confrontation with one of the participants. It started off innocently enough: a disagreement over a word.

Soon I could feel my competitive juices switching over to “my way”, “I am going to win.” I kept pushing my position while acknowledging the other position. I was getting “amped” up.

            I started talking to myself: “David you are getting way out of hand here. Do something before you look like a raving idiot!” My mind only wanted to press on and win, but I was not persuading this person at all.

            I stopped talking, paused, took a drink of water, which centered my thoughts, acknowledged that the other person did have a point, and moved on.

            The confrontation ended before the fool in me got loose.

            Pause, breathe, proceed.   

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