By Anna Jankovich
“How to keep calm in an argument is one of those lessons in life we should have been taught in school,” a client of mine recently said, as he struggled with a colleague at work. Helas, most of us find out the hard way by actually not keeping calm and letting the argument spiral downwards leading to a negative outcome.
His remark struck an instant cord with me, as I have been one of these emotional, lashing-out types, which I have blamed on my Russian blood and my French impatience (need to blame it on something!). When I flared up, I was convinced of what I was saying and the louder I got, the more I thought my message would be stronger. Then a few years ago, at the same time I was discovering Life Coaching, I was on the receiving end and being lashed out at. I was struck by the nastiness of it and actually felt empathy for that person. I began seeing an argument from another angle.
Arguments can happen anywhere; work, home, families, taxis, shops, airports, restaurants and in any language. Arguments don’t work; they are destructive, negative, exhausting, emotional, unresolved, hurtful and SUCH A WASTE OF TIME!
Take a moment and think back at an argument you had and remember that feeling. Step into it – what was your body language? How did you sound? What emotions were stirring?
Life Coaching has helped many of us tremendously in the last years to look at an argument from a different angle. Instead of the familiar “emotional, lashing out perspective,” I now automatically choose the “calm perspective.” On the rare occasion I feel a heated discussion rising, I am immediately aware of my own being and I know how I want to be.
Here are 10 Tools to Help Keep You Calm
- Breathing: this gives you a few seconds to be calm, listen and gather your thoughts.
- Listening: if you are thinking what is the next thing you want to say, then you are not listening.
- Hearing: Hear your own words and listen consciously to what you are saying.
- Never Shout: when shouting you lose control and it is hard to think clearly.
- Body Language: stay open like your mind, sit/stand grounded, look at the person in the eyes, avoid crossed arms, frowning, pointing, keep your focus on them (TIP: if looking in the eyes is difficult for you, look in between the other person’s eyes…it looks as though you are staring right at them, but you are not!)
- Avoid Scolding: insults are the ultimate tool of ignorance!
- Space: hold that space to let the other “get it all out.”
- Drop Your Ego: forget your ego and aim for a “win-win” situation, which could be compromise
- Your Captain (read more http://annajankovich.com/2014/10/captain/): what is your inner authority telling you?
- Permission: ask permission to not be interrupted while you speak
Two More Things to Remember:
- Don’t use a present argument to list all the misconducts from the past, do you want to be dragged back in the past?
- Lashing out is a way of someone expressing how they really feel and shows a total lack of self-control. By staying calm, YOU empower yourself.
Who do you want to be in your next argument?
I am passionate about Life Coaching and empowering people to live their lives from new perspectives, both professionally and personally. I partner with globally minded people who are navigating cross culture exchanges, at work and at home. They are overloaded by competing demands and are seeking lasting solutions for their challenges NOW. These transitions can be so profound that they positively impact those surrounding their lives.
I completed an intense training at the Coaching Training Institute, in London, UK. This program is part of the ICF accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) and currently I am completing CTI’s Certification Program.
You can contact Anna at: http://annajankovich.com