"I don’t know how he does it… ", Tom said to his wife. “He never seems to get flustered, never agitated. Even today – with all the drama going on, with so many unexpected disasters that directly affect him and the company, he remained as steady as a lighthouse. I mean – if it were me, and my business was under such dire threat, I would have lost my cool more than once. At least 3 people would have been fired today, if we had any other boss but him. And he still somehow has time to stop and say a word or two to us as he passes by – completely calm and relaxed as far as anyone can make out. And look in his eyes – as absurd as this may sound – is joy… ”
Tom paused for a long moment, reflecting. Eventually, shaking his head, said “I really don’t know… he must have been born like that. Some people are just made differently I guess.”
Little did Tom know, his boss was not always like that. Just a few years before – he was considered the most arrogant, difficult, highly strung, short-fused person around, by everyone who knew him. He was fantastic, of course, at what he did, a genius… But everyday someone was leaving his office in tears. The air tensed up when he walked past, people dropped things, forgot what they were going to say. Then one day something happened and everything changed. Those who knew him before were completely baffled. But the fact was – now people lit up when they saw him or thought of him. Even more startling – he was even better at what he does, got even more done, had more respect, had become many times more powerful in so many ways. A mystery!
It is not really that much of a mystery. The man in question came to a crossroad in his life. He had to make a choice. He chose to take make a change. And in order to do that, he created a strategy that would support that change. He replaced some old habits with new ones – habits of mind, habits of perception, and habits of lifestyle. He reinforced that with intelligently chosen resources (the right people to support him, great tools, useful information). He committed to some simple daily practices. And followed through on his plan - 1st with determination and persistence, then with growing confidence, eventually with joy. He practiced every day. And still does, just more so.
There are many, many people standing at that crossroad in their lives right now. Some will continue on the road they already know well. Some will make a choice to change. For those who choose to change direction, it will require commitment to a strategy and plan that will ensure the success of their decision.
A steady, coherent, unshakable presence is a matter of practice like any other skill or craft. For those who wish to acquire that, they must build that into the equation. The decision to change is one thing. The change itself is a completely different thing. That is when practice becomes even more important. Any dancer or martial artist will demonstrate that. Practice again and again and again… until it becomes reflex.
If you are one of the few that has made such a choice, make sure to support your new direction with a smart strategy and the right combination of resources, to successfully actualize the change. Become the person who causes everyone in their path to light up.
Dr Janeshree Govindasamy, MBChB