I try to live by the five-by-five rule: If it’s not going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes being upset by it. This has served me well. Chaos is part of business and life, but perspective goes a long way. Not every problem or stumbling block is an emergency.
—Ann Noder, CEO and founder of Pitch Public Relations
In all honesty, I don’t even try to maintain any sense of calm. My brother is calm. My husband is calm. My CFO and my business coach are calm. I hire people to be calm for me.
—Jenette Goldstein, founder and CEO of Jenette Bras
As someone who sees mental and physical illness daily, I often remind myself that I have my health, and my family is happy and healthy. This makes me feel beyond blessed. It grounds me and gives me calm.
—Sheila Nazarian, CEO of Nazarian Plastic Surgery
If you want to maintain a sense of calm, it’s all about slowing down inside your head. I practice noticing and naming emotional states or physical responses. For example, if I’m on a heated call, I slow down my thinking and try and articulate my emotional state accurately to myself. At the same time, I start breathing slowly through my nose.
—Tiana Laurence, partner at Laurence Innovation
Know it won’t last.
Growth comes from times of chaos and discomfort, so I welcome a fair amount of chaos when it arrives. In the midst of chaos, I know that it won’t last forever, and when it ends, I will have new tools to streamline my processes and grow my business.
—Avery Carl, CEO and founder of The Short Term Shop
Develop healthy coping mechanisms.
First, stress is not necessarily bad. It’s a coping mechanism that makes us sharper. The key is finding the best stress outlet that works for you. Personally, a good run helps me relax and organize my thoughts. This is why I am in the best shape when things are hectic.
—Haggai Levi, CEO of SetSail
Keep your eye on the prize.
My strategy for staying calm during moments of turmoil is to keep my eyes on the end goal. What am I trying to achieve in a year? In five years? Chaos is a moment in time and I’ve always viewed this venture as a marathon, not a sprint.
—Gerald Wluka, CEO of Compilerworks
Focus on the present.
I work with a coach, which allows me to structure my thinking when things get chaotic. I also meditate and do activities throughout the day where I focus on being present, like taking my dog for a walk on the beach.
—Rune Hauge, co-founder and CEO of Mentorcam
Reach out for help.
As cliché as this might sound, remaining calm for me is all about realizing that I am not alone in the chaos. I receive a lot of comfort in knowing that I can always ask for help and my situation is probably not unique.
—Chelsie Kugler, vice president of business development at CFOshare
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo by @jennyteo/Twenty20