Finding Grace Under Pressure

By Cindy Waxer

Your car broke down on the way to an important client meeting; you just found out that a prospect you thought you had in the bag has been signed by your archrival; and that promotion you were up for has been handed to a sales rep with half your experience. You’re ready to explode, to scream, to throw caution to the wind and tell competitors and clients alike what you really think of them.

But wait. While it’s true that sales professionals often find themselves in extraordinarily stressful predicaments, that’s no excuse for losing your cool. Linda Larsen, a professional speaker, keynote presenter and author of True Power-Get It, Use It, Share It (Brandywine Publishing, 2000), offers these action steps when you’ve had about all you can handle.

Get out of the room. Don’t just glare at your anger-inspiring opponent. Nor is it wise to smirk, snort or stomp out. Instead, make an excuse and politely remove yourself from the room. Saying something like, “I need to think about this. I’ll be right back,” can provide you with the time you need to collect your thoughts and calm your nerves.

Repeat your release mantra. A release mantra is any phrase that commands your subconscious to let go of the intensity of unreasonable anger – emotions that could lead to irretrievable words and plenty of regrets. Keep repeating your mantra until your heart rate slows down and your breathing returns to normal.

Move your body. Collect yourself by putting your body into action. Start pumping some oxygen to your brain and some relaxing endorphins into your body. Walk, run up the stairs, jump in one place. Do something physical.

Go back and deal with the issue. While responding angrily will only make matters worse, ignoring a problem won’t make it go away. But now, when you do return, you will have calmed yourself down and figured out exactly what you want to say.