“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” – Publilius Syrus

But are the seas of the corporate world ever calm? Especially in the last couple of years, with the coronavirus outbreak and geopolitical tensions, the waters are more turbulent than ever. 

However, while we don’t have any control over these events, we can manage how we respond to them. 

Building 3Qs of the Agility Quotient can be an effective solution for leaders to deal with chaos. But while a lot has been mentioned about the importance of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ) in leadership, the Spiritual Quotient (SQ) seldom receives that level of importance. 

The Indispensible Role of SQ in Leadership

Leadership and spirituality share a deep connection. Being spiritually motivated as a business leader could prove highly rewarding in terms of improved agility, productivity, commitment, satisfaction, and creativity. These aspects play critical roles in helping you become a better entrepreneur. 

A core concept of spirituality is calmness. Being calm and even-keeled in the face of uncertainty is what is expected of you as a decision-maker. It is also something you need for taking decisive actions when the world around is brimming with chaos, and you have people relying on you to navigate them through the storm. 

Calmness: A Virtue for Outstanding Leaders

According to a study by TalentSmart, 90% of the top performers are able to stay calm and better manage their emotions during stressful times. The study shows that calmness is imperative to performing well under pressure as it enables you to think clearly and be more careful with your actions. 

And this is not the outward calm I’m talking about. 

While the fabricated display of optimism when we’re not confident about our actions has a role to play at times, being a calm leader is more about the inward calm you cultivate with time. It involves tranquillity of mind and inward peace that improves the quality of your life and sharpens your entrepreneurial skills.

How to Keep Calm Under Pressure?

Some stress is normal. But if you often find yourself in stressful situations where you panic or feel overwhelmed, you can benefit immensely by mastering the coping strategies. The calmness will also aid your spiritual journey and supplement your efforts in being an emotionally intelligent leader.  

Here are some coping strategies that you can try-

  • Start with Deep Breathing

When you breathe deeply and slowly, the vagus nerve signals the nervous system to lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol- the primary stress hormone. Moreover, when you’re focused on breathing, it’ll also take your mind off of the stressful situation. 

Here is a simple breathing exercise that has worked wonders for me- breathe in deeply through the nose and hold the breath for up to three seconds before exhaling through the mouth. Repeat 5-10 times, twice daily, and whenever you feel stressed. 

  • Think About the Positives

Do you find yourself contemplating irrational worst-case outcomes in every scenario? This behavior is clinically known as catastrophic thinking and can cause a feeling of panic and anxiety. 

While as a business leader, you should be prepared for the worst, there is no need to dwell on the negatives and bring more stress and agony. Instead, build a more positive mindset and practice gratitude to keep things in perspective and eliminate the irrational fear of what could go wrong. 

  • Meditate

Clinical studies have proved meditation reduces stress and changes the structure of your brain. Over time, it puts you in greater control of your emotions and helps you stay calm in stressful situations. 

Moreover, you don’t need to spend hours sitting in a cross-legged position chanting a mantra to reap the rich benefits of meditation. You can start by sitting quietly and concentrating on your breathing for a few minutes daily to be calmer. 

  • Sleep Well and Exercise Regularly

For a stressful mind, there’s no medication better than a good night’s sleep. Studies have proven adults who sleep less than eight hours every night report higher stress levels than those who do. In other words, not getting enough sleep could wreak havoc on your bid to be calm. 

The same goes for exercising. Studies show that being physically active changes our body’s hormonal response, enabling us to handle stressful situations better. In addition, exercising also impacts our neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which influence our mood and behavior. 

Calm, Composed, and Confident: The Ideal Leader of Our Modern Times

Slowly but steadily, we’ve started realizing the importance of SQ in leading a successful and rewarding life. As calmness is a core principle of spirituality, it deserves your utmost attention, especially in the current volatile and uncertain times. 

If the ongoing pressure and upheaval are getting the better of you, it’s time to adopt coping strategies like the ones listed above to improve your SQ and be a calmer and happier leader.