The Staying Calm And Doing Superb Work When Something Big Is At Stake Approach

There are many ways to find your strengths. One approach is to focus on the specific activity where you stay calm and do superb work when there is something big at stake. Let’s explore these themes.

Staying Calm

What are the specific activities where you stay calm? Different people do this in different situations.

Some people seem to do this naturally. They seem to have more time to do things than other people. They then apply their strengths to do superb work that delivers success.

Some great athletes do this on great occasions. Staying calm whilst others are frantic, they clarify the possible routes forward. Reaching into their repertoire, they then pursue their chosen strategy to deliver great performances.

The paramedic stays calm when arriving at the scene of the accident. Seeing the whole picture, they recognise what must be done to help people recover. Picking their way through the wreckage, they take the necessary steps towards saving lives.

Some people develop this ability over the years. They may explore many kinds of work and, whilst they may be successful, they may take some time to find their main strength. 

Looking at my own work, for example, I spent much of my life running workshops for teams. These often involved following frameworks that worked and providing people with practical tools that delivered success.

The workshops were enjoyable and exciting. They also involved spending a lot of time being on stage. Sometimes this could be both exhilarating and exhausting.

During my fifties I began doing more one-to-one mentoring. I loved everything about the sessions. These involved preparing properly, clarifying the person’s agenda and helping them to achieve their picture of success.

There was one surprise I got when mentoring. Whatever the issue we were tackling, I felt calm, clear and able to offer practical ideas that helped the person to achieve their goals.

Let’s return to your own work. Can you think of a specific activity where you stay calm and do superb work when something big is at stake?

You may be facilitating a coaching session, giving a keynote speech, solving a computer problem, working in Accident & Emergency or doing another activity. What do you do right then to do your best when performing the specific activity?

Superb Work

Imagine that you are doing a specific activity where you stay calm even when there is something big at stake. You may then aim to do superb work.

Different people take this step in different ways. Bearing in mind the results they want to achieve, some people focus on the following themes when aiming to achieve success.


Such people build on their strengths and compensate for any weaknesses. They also aim to follow their successful style of working when working to achieve their goals.

Strategies That Work

They study what works and aim to do what works. Bearing in mind the goals, they follow the strategies most likely to achieve success. They then apply themselves fully and deliver consistently high professional standards. 


Such people keep reading reality. They keep building on what is working and tackling areas for improvement. They then do their best to achieve the picture of success.

You will have your own approach to doing superb work. Sometimes this will also involve pursuing your own way of managing the following challenge.

Something Big At Stake

Different people use different strategies for managing situations where there is something big is at stake. Here are some ways that people describe their approaches.

“I aim to stay positive and follow my principles. The biggest thing at stake for me is my integrity. It is to do what I believe in and do my best to achieve the goals.”

“I tell the sports team I coach to follow the advice given by Bill Walsh, the famous American Football coach. Providing we deliver the required standards of performance, the score takes care of itself.”

“Whatever the size of the deal, I focus on helping the potential customer to achieve success. I take this approach rather than trying to sell something. Paradoxically, this often results in making the sale.”

Many years ago I had an experience that mirrors some of these themes. A large technology company said they wanted a programme where people could build on their strengths.

The first contacts went well and several strengths workshops were arranged. But then the company made another request which threw the plans into chaos.

They had recently purchased an online training tool that was geared to people focusing on their weaknesses. Bearing this in mind, the company asked if we could change the workshops to match the training tool.

The contract was worth more than £250k but there were other things at stake. These involved following certain principles. I suggested they should go with the online training tool and maybe find another supplier who could support it with workshops.

The company promptly did another U-turn. They said they really wanted to do the strengths sessions and would find another use for the online tool.

Looking back, the conversation could have gone another way. But the company continued to use myself and several colleagues for the next five years.

Let’s return to your own work. Looking ahead, can you think of a situation where you may aim to stay calm and do superb work when there is something big at stake? How can you do this in your own way?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

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