• Maintaining proper composure and perspective, even when the stakes are high
  • Offering a steady and consistent approach in the midst of stressful circumstances
  • Reducing the stress in others while staying collected, despite external agitation


As we were preparing to discuss this week’s GuideMark, Calming Presence, we decided we wanted to take this in a different direction. Let’s face it, work can be extremely stressful. It is hard to be a calming presence for others, when you are stressed out with your own work. 

What is your idea of a stressful situation?  When I think of a situation that is stressful, I automatically think of the Emergency Room. The doctors and nurses are constantly in stressful situations, never knowing what the next minute may bring. Often people that work directly with trauma victims start losing compassion due to bottling up the daily stress. This is called Compassion Fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress (STS).

Although working with E-rate applicants is nothing like working with trauma victims, sometimes we can feel a little ‘calming fatigue’, just like in any other work environment. We can get so stressed by our work that we end up bottling it all up. It can be too easy to just go through the motions and lose all empathy for the situations others are going through. When we are stressed our productivity declines, it becomes very hard to think clearly, and our co‑workers notice the change in attitude.

In order to remain collected, present in the moment, and able to be a calming presence, we need to reduce the stress that is encountered in the workplace on a daily basis. Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of Success Under Stress, recently spoke with Forbes and offered 12 Ways to Eliminate Stress at Work. Strategies as simple as:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Identify Self-Imposed Stress
  • Prioritize Your Priorities

These things may seem simple and just common sense, when you are not the one stressed out. However it is so easy to become quickly overwhelmed and feel ‘calming fatigued’ when stressed, and these simple strategies may seem like a foreign language.

At Funds For Learning, we strive to have a healthy work environment that allows us to relieve stress and remain a calming presence. One way we do this is by working in teams, sharing the work among groups of people instead of individuals and allowing us to be a calming presence to each other as well as our clients.


Key Words and Phrases

Steady and collected; Not agitated or disturbed; Steadiness of mind under stress; Composed; Peaceful; Cause to be calm; Collected; Abate stress.

Opposite Terms

Agitation; Commotion; Disturb; Stir up.


GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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