• 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

It may seem weird, but I keep a mallet in my office. I really don't have a need for one, but I still have it. I've named it 'Calming Presence'. While this may seem like an odd name for a hammer, oddly enough, I sometimes feel calmer when I carry it around. The thing is, I am not certain that others necessarily feel the same way.
The concept behind the GuideMark 'Calming Presence', is quite different. It says that right there in the definition: 'Reducing the stress in others while staying collected, despite external agitation'. Being a 'Calming Presence' means being a calming presence for others. An example of this is a 911 operator. When people call 911, all kinds of 'exciting' things are usually happening, but the operators are able to remain calm and help the caller, all while coordinating an emergency response. The very act of their calm, deliberate response can help the caller throughout the ordeal, and typically results in a favorable outcome.

Are you a calming presence? I think a good place to start is by asking yourself: Do my actions help calm those around me, or am I just keeping myself calm? Does your presence bring a sense of calm, or do you often just 'stir the pot'? You might think that you're doing just fine, but the way you respond, and the way others perceive your actions might actually be making them less calm.

You might be thinking: why is it important to remain calm? Good question! When you are calm, the decisions you make, and your actions, are usually more deliberate and better thought out. Conversely, decisions we make when we are not calm can be rash, instinctive or simply reactive, and can have later repercussions or require you to solve the problem all over again when you figure out that your first response was not sufficient. Taking the time to determine the best solution will save you a lot of future work and anxiety.

Well, that's all well and good, but what can I do to make sure I'm a Calming Presence? Like our 911 operator in the example above, there steps you can take to help you remain successfully calm. Those include having a plan and practicing using it. Having a well thought out plan can inform the decisions you need to make and can provide you with the steps to follow to make successful choices*. And when you practice, it helps re-enforce following our plan and builds confidence in the results you can expect. All that can go a long way to reduce the stress you are feeling when things go sideways, because you know what the outcomes will be.

So, unless you are up against a giant gorilla lobbing barrels at you while you try to run up a scaffold, using a hammer may not be your best choice to be a 'Calming Presence'. Maintaining your composure and acting from a place of knowledge and confidence will bring you much closer to that goal.

* This sounds a lot like being Proactive too.
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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