This past week found me traveling by airplane, an experience of technological wonder.
And, inarguably, a bit of an energetic mess.
The airport itself is no better, and the security line on the day of my departing flight was especially frantic.
Picture, if you will, the following scene all around me…
…wild-eyed people ripping metal off their bodies and tech from their carry-ons in record time…
…the sound of plastic bins slamming down ahead of me as hands jolted them forward on the belt…
…those behind me pressing in close, their liquids in their hands, their sneakers off…waiting
And me? I still had a whole lot of stuff to get into those bins.
Exhibit A…(pic taken later as proof)
How did I handle all of this frantic energy? Not well.
- I proceeded to – very irritably – sigh, shake my head and press back at those pressing forward
- When I was finally done I got on the coffee line, where I anxiously struggled to pry my credit card from my tight wallet pocket, elbowing the people behind me
- I then clumsily maneuvered my way around the massive crowd at my gate, tripping over toes and glaring at anyone who got in my way
When I finally got on the plane I was completely agitated. I couldn’t seem to kick the energy that I’d allowed myself to pick up and – even worse – give off to others.
The guy next to me? Extremely calm. He smiled at me. He nodded. He slowly read his magazine. I was enchanted.
Knowing there was a lesson here, I introduced myself to this Super Calm Guy (or “SCG” as we’ll call him from here) and began this dialogue:
- Deirdre: “Wow, you are SO calm after all of that crazy energy from those lines and people.”
- SCG [shrugging pleasantly]: “Yeah, I guess I am.”
- Deirdre: “Do you mind me asking how the heck you did that?”
- SCG [shrugging pleasantly]: “Well, I travel a lot so I’m used to it.”
I shook my head, knowing there had to be more. After all, I travel a lot, too. And I work on this energy stuff. All the time.
After calmly and pleasantly thinking it over, SCG arrived at a few ways he manages the frenzied energy of others.
It was a simple yet incredibly useful list. And it turns out it can actually be used anywhere. With anybody’s energy. At any time.
Which is why I now present…
Super Calm Guy’s Three Tips for Staying Super Calm
#1: Prepare for Calmness
The best way to come out of a situation with calm? Go in with calm. And a plan to keep it.
Preparation is about doing what you need to do to enter a situation – whether a flight, a job interview or a family gathering – with your best, most centered foot forward. This could include anything from sleeping in to working out to eating lots of protein beforehand. And it almost always means giving yourself plenty of extra time to get to wherever you’re going.
It also means knowing that, even when you start at your best, there will be potential frenzy triggers…which means you need to think ahead to what those triggers might be and what you’ll do and say to yourself to keep calm when they happen.
#2: Don’t Make Assumptions
During the entire morning debacle I assumed that every extra second I took was annoying the heck out of the people behind me, which only made things escalate. Though irritable, I did apologize dozens of times and – without exception – they all smiled and said it was fine.
Of course, those smiles didn’t mean I should be disrespectful of others’ time. Nor did it mean I didn’t actually irritate them. But as long as I was doing my best it wasn’t for me to worry about the rest of it.
#3: Embrace Tunnel Vision
Sometimes the best thing to do when those around you are displaying frantic or negative energy is to get razor focused on something else. Anything else.
Put on your imaginary blinders, breathe slowly and turn your head away. Look down at your shoes, up at the clock, or at whatever your limbs are doing to complete your task. Drown them out.
Finish what you need to finish, then remove yourself from the situation, even if for a minute. (I’ll say it again: excusing yourself to go to the bathroom is an awesome “get away and get yourself together” tool.)
Do these tips work? Sure do!
I can say this because I practiced them during the frenzy of my return flight the very next day. And my frantic energy was nowhere to be found.
Even when dealing with all of this all over again…
Usually I end my posts by encouraging use of the lessons in the week ahead (which you still might want to do of course)
On this one I realized there’s a great opportunity for us all to help each other out.
Got a favorite SCG tip of your own? Let us know it. Please. We need it.
Thanks in advance. And here’s to calmer days ahead…
Now, go do good…and do it well.