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The Power of Still

"Standing still teaches us composure and poise. Stillness helps focus the risk-taker, enabling her to regulate her emotions and discern the right course of action." - Bill Treasurer

TaiChi, KungFu, Yoga and other activities have become wildly popular in recent years, and yet they have been practiced for centuries. So what is this phenomenon that is causing people to be attracted to these very quiet, introspective and 'still' activities? I suspect that in a culture where hurried knee-jerk reactions, instant responses and 'no-holds barred' opinions, people realize more and more the contrast of being quiet amid the noise, and their own need to be still.

Especially in leadership there is a very important power in the body language of someone who is still. Standing still, a leader can project indifference, confidence, intellect, authority, or even disappointment. Standing still keeps all your power to yourself, and gives none of it away. Movement is energy expended, but standing still is potential energy; it is energy that you, a leader, release only when you're ready to, and only once you've made up your mind how that energy is going to be used. Standing still holds everyone's attention.

But, as a leader, you must not only be cultivating this skill within yourself, but you must be modeling and teaching it to your team as well. The power of still in one of your customer services team members can be the difference between an upset client and a satisfied customer. The power of still can equip your clerk or receptionist to defray an escalating situation, and keep control of a public space when your reputation is on the line. The power of still may make the difference between closing a deal or losing the sale.

Research has shown that standing still enables deep breathing, allowing for clear thinking during stressful moments. Modeling and teaching standing still to your team can empower them to use this technique to remain productive and centered throughout thier day, keeping thier stress levels managable. But more than just relaxation therapy, you and your team can use the power of standing stil to 'project' a sense of calmness and control to those around you. For example, an office manager who is being berated by an upset patient or client can project a sense of control and helpfulness to that person. Rather than crossing her arms, shifting her weight and rolling her eyes, all of which will escalate the situation, she is still and not dispensing nervous energy. She is giving an impression of concern and power rather than defensiveness and fear.

Like any skill, standing still must be practiced. You must learn how to stand still so that there is some muscle memory and reflexiveness to the 'action' of standing still when because when you need it most is likely when you will think the least to utilize it. Watch some webinars, observe some public speakers that you enjoy, watch how they use their body language, even the act of standing still, to communicate. Think about how YOU percieve them when they are standing still. Learn how to use this skill to your advantage in various situations in your daily life. Even with an upset friend over lunch, practice being still, and see how it affects not only you but those around you. Leaders understand that they can affect change to the world around them. Leaders understand the power of standing still.

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