Grace Under Fire

When he said it, it struck deep like a sword on fire.

Youre such a wimp.

Me. A wimp. Me, who has paddled thousands of miles in Canadian wilderness. Me, who has led a six-week canoe trip in remote Ontario. Me, who has planted trees in rugged, isolated camps for weeks on end, living in a tent. This was years ago when I was a young woman discovering the world. I was perhaps naïve.

But I was no wimp.

I felt the rage and indignant fury swell within me. I just seethed, turned to him and said, I. Am Not. A. Wimp.

But the damage was done and the relationship was on a fast track to crash and burn.

What he had meant to say was, Im frustrated. I want something different. Maybe we need to go different directions.

Thats what happens when we lack self-awareness and a lens of compassion through which to see the world. We let our words loose, unfettered and barbed. People are hurt, including us. Our reputation and esteem can be irrevocably scuppered.

No one wants to be the leader who drops pooh bombs.

What we all want as leaders is grace under fire. This is the ability to respond rather than react, to feel our feelings and let them go.

Composure starts well before we enter the room. Like an athlete who lines up at the start of race, all the work is done beforehand.

1. Our attention to our personal energy – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and intuitive – lays the foundation for a calm inner and outer demeanour.

2. Our intentions in engagement with others keeps us on a positive track, like a rudder on a boat through choppy water.

3. Awareness of self and perception of others as we interactwith them is a critical people reading skill that keeps us from launching pooh grenades inadvertently.

4. Lastly our movement and steadiness when we talk with others will either lure them in, or send them running.

Lets be the one they turn to, not run from.

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