Upload Calm

by Ryan Krzykowski

For most of my life, certainly my adult/coaching life, I’ve had a particular issue that from time to time causes me to say or do something I later regret.  The fact is, my default is to take things far too personally and have far too short of a fuse.  So a couple weeks back when I had the chance to listen to a brilliant presentation given by Jill Molli of Conscious Discipline, I was fairly certain I’d get something useful out of that time.

Did I ever.  Jill was fantastic, and while these ideas might not sound like earth-shattering insight, something about the message that day hit me in a way that I’d never really thought of before.  Jill talked about how other people’s behavior, even bad or inappropriate behavior, is rarely designed to hurt or offend us, but usually is an attempt to communicate something important.  This is especially true in young people, who are typically not as capable or experienced in understanding their emotions.  I began to realize that over the years when an athlete, student, or one of my own children did something “bad”, I was often guilty of compounding the bad situation by reacting with anger or disgust.  Jill’s point was not that inappropriate behavior ought to be excused or swept under the rug, but rather that our response to the behavior goes a long way in either escalating or deescalating the issue at hand.  Even as I type this, the idea seems incredibly obvious and that a mature adult ought to intuitively understand how all this works.  So to all the students, athletes and sons of mine who have seen my angry face as you burned up my short fuse over the years, please know I’m sorry for lacking the maturity and self-awareness to stay calm in the midst of our adventures together.

Jill spoke a phrase in her talk that has stuck with me — “when dealing with someone behaving badly or losing control, we must upload calm to ourselves so that it can be downloaded to them”.  I love that, and it reminds me of a couple ideas from Scripture:

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.    Proverbs 15:1

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Galatians 5:22-23 (bold added)

I know I will never do this perfectly, but I can be intentional to upload calm when dealing with bad behavior rather than reacting in anger and taking things personally.

Let’s Coach With Purpose.