Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On

Every time I see that quote I imagine the Queen sitting quite properly on her throne while the citizens in her country are surrounded by chaos. I always chuckle at the incongruity of that picture in my mind, thinking that this idea of Keep Calm and Carry On is based on complete denial of reality.

Until today.

I recently had a situation that caused immediate and overwhelming distress. It turned out to be no big deal in the end, but it was a real moment of upset. Have you ever had one of those? Things are going along just fine and then some unexpected twist in a scenario or a rather unfavorable bit of news comes your way. The emotions rise, tempers flare, panic sets in and things suddenly seem out of proportion and unmanageable.

Well today my first impulse went to panic, frustration, irritation and annoyance. I could hear myself saying “Keep Calm Kathleen” and “Breathe” – all of those things that I normally count on to help me stay in the moment.

As I started to get up to take action, I heard my inner voice say, “Be Careful.” I have heard this voice before and am acutely aware that its time to settle down.

So I walked away and gave myself some time to cool off. Yes, breathe. Already it feels better. I reminded myself to Keep Calm. A moment to reassess the situation.

And the then, Carry On. The act of continuing my work that was initially at hand was key to changing this highly charged disagreement into a peaceful settlement.

By doing the “carry on” part of my day I was actually able to give myself and the situation space and time to let my creative subconscious begin to work out a solution to the dispute. It was not a denial of reality, but rather a chance for new ideas to percolate into a resolution. With relative ease and efficiency I saw my way through the heat of the confrontation.

When we gathered together later, I chose my words with care, finding out what each person needed and offered up options to everyone. At the end of the exchange, all the parties had most of what they wanted and were able to see the situation from the view of the others.

Whew, that was close. What could have been a wreck of relationships turned out just fine with each person going away feeling satisfied.

So what were the turning points?

Keep Calm – walking, breathing and taking a moment to pause.

Carry On – complete the work at hand to let the situation settle and allow the opportunity to generate a solution.

Hmmm, maybe the Queen is right after all!

When you find yourself in the heat of the moment, try it out. Keep Calm and Carry On – see if it works for you.