Trevor Stockwell Leadership Development Services

Chaos or Calm? 
You Choose 
Pt1: Internal Chaos

28 June 2024
Chaos or calm? Return to a state of calm.

So, chaos or calm, what feels more real? It's time for a reality-check to ensure our time now and ahead is productive and enjoyable…


In today's fast-paced world, leaders often find themselves in a whirlwind of responsibilities, challenges, and expectations. 


Would you describe your life as chaos or calm right now?


Could your leadership be evaluated as producing more chaos or calm? 


Which word would your team use to describe the culture, chaos or calm?


If chaos is the answer to any of these, check whether the root is primarily internal (your emotions and thoughts) or external (circumstances and relationships).

Perspective is often a victim of chaos. 90% of our life can be going well but with just 10% being chaotic it can feel like a whole lot more than this!

Once you have ascertained where the chaos predominantly resides, you are better placed to confront and overcome it. In addition, the line between our personal and professional life can easily blur, so get clarity about which aspect contains chaos. But there is hope! Amidst the storm, there lies an opportunity - a choice for chaos OR calm.


Chaos or calm internally

Let’s explore simple ways where you can take charge of your internal world, transforming it into a state of calm, and ultimately lead a more fulfilling and productive life.


Internal chaos is often the root of external turmoil. It can manifest as stress, anxiety, anger, self-loathing etc. and causes a lack of clarity, clouding our judgment and impacting our decision-making. This inner chaos can stem from various sources: 

  • bad thinking causing bad emotions, 
  • unresolved conflicts, 
  • confusion, 
  • fear, 
  • or a relentless pursuit of perfection.


You can be your worst in the best environment…have you ever been laying on a beach, experiencing the warmth of the sun on your skin, accompanied by the gentle sound of the waves lapping the shore but spent the time ruminating about a current scenario that makes you tense or afraid, or something you know is ahead that feels daunting? In reality, you are in two places at once!


Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions while also empathizing with the emotions of others. High EQ is crucial for healthy and consistent self-leadership, as it allows us to address any factors that cause internal chaos with greater ease. Here are some strategies to enhance your emotional intelligence:


  • Reflection (for enhanced self-awareness): Regularly take time to reflect on your feelings and identify what triggers your emotional responses. Journaling can be a helpful tool for this practice, so too is talking with a trusted friend or Coach. Identify how best to address these triggers and review your effectiveness. 


By understanding our emotional patterns, we can begin to anticipate and manage them more effectively.


  • Mindfulness and Meditation: There are many approaches to express these practices which significantly reduce internal chaos. 
    • Mindfulness involves staying present and fully engaging with the current moment, which can help reframe the perceived reality and reduce anxiety about it and the future. Explore mindful practices and implement those that feel more authentic to you.  
    • Pausing for stillness and meditation: developing a habit of pausing even if just for a few minutes a day, or at multiple moments throughout your day, focusing your mind on something pleasant and keeping it trained on this for a few moments can bring a state of calmness and improve your mood, giving you the opportunity to reinforce the reality of the power you have to self-lead and take action, and adapt as necessary. Even when under pressure from an impending deadline, taking just a moment to change location or posture, and think on something completely different can stop the momentum of pressure building. Usually under great stress the last thing we think we have time for is a break but taking even the briefest of pauses helps us to move closer towards a state of calm.


Chaos or calm? Stillness empowers clarity.


  • Emotional Regulation: Learn to manage your emotions rather than being controlled by them. Techniques such as controlled and deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or simply taking a pause before reacting or speaking can help us maintain control. Whilst we all experience adverse feelings at times, when we consciously look for positive attributes in life (mixed with gratitude), we re-size negative experiences which gives us a more balanced view to address them and make changes for improvement.


  • Empathy: Developing empathy allows us to connect with others on a deeper level. Attempt to see and feel the world from their perspective. And what it is like interacting with you. As we understand and acknowledge the emotions of those around us, we can communicate more compassionately and create more harmonious and effective relationships.


3 Factors to Minimise Internal Chaos


  1. Prioritize Self-care: Our physical well-being is closely linked to our mental health. Ensure you get adequate sleep, maintain a balanced diet, engage in regular physical movement / activities, and do something regularly that is fun!
  2. Set Your Boundaries: Learn to say “no” when appropriate and protect your personal time. Overcommitting can lead to burnout and increased internal chaos as we struggle to please others and look after our own wellbeing.
  3. Receive Support: Don’t hesitate to seek help from a friend or appropriate professional, (mentor, therapist etc.). Getting an unbiased external perspective increases our options and can provide clarity and direction.


Feelings of calm are never loud within us, whereas chaos looks to shout and dominate our attention and thinking. But the reality is that we have calmness residing within us (even if it feels absent or suffocated). Taking control with intentional self-leadership gives the power back to us.

What thoughts and feelings are you experiencing that relate to chaos? 


What are their root causes?

Finding that Better State of Being

Success is more about how you handle stuff than what happens. Being calm does not equate to inactivity, but is about your state of being.


You may still have to navigate some challenging people and scenarios, but when you approach this from a calm state, you will think clearer and be more aligned to recognise and follow your intuition. 


Would your friends and associates describe your life as chaos or calm?


Chaos or calm? Return to a state of calm.


We lead ourselves and others more authentically when we approach life with intentional self-leadership and confidence in our ability to overcome whatever life holds. So, chaos or calm, it's your choice!


Residing in, and operating from a calm perspective whenever possible is the goal to healthy self-leadership and wellbeing.

Living from a state of calm will also enable you to avoid creating or increasing negative, anxious, chaotic experiences for yourself and others. Now that is worth thinking about! 


Always remember that you have the power to produce chaos or calm wherever you are.


We look at calming the external chaos in the next blog, read that here


Remember, I believe in you, and I believe in your potential


TSLDS ©2024

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