Be the Calm in the Chaos

As I got to the stoplight, I could see the on ramp onto the highway. It looked like a normal freeway entrance, with the exception of the truck upside down on its roof. You could tell it just happened as other vehicles were stopping to assist. Luckily, a few cars back from me was a police officer, who quickly made his way to the scene.

Within a minute, another police car went flying by. Traffic was stopped to allow for emergency vehicles to access the on ramp. Since we were within a half mile of the hospital, an ambulance was also quickly dispatched.

The ambulance got my attention, though. As it turned directly in front of me, I could see the EMT in the passenger seat, with one foot on the dash drinking a Diet Coke! How could someone be so calm? You’re about to respond to an accident with who knows what kind of injuries! And you’re drinking a soda looking so relaxed?

As the ambulance stopped, the EMT calmly got out, grabbed a bag, and walked quickly over to the person who had just climbed out the truck window. After exchanging a few words, she rubbed the driver’s arm and slowly looked him over. Never did I see her run, point at people or yell. Every move looked calculated and deliberate. Even if in her mind it was a crazy situation, she never showed it on the outside.

When there is chaos in project, which there inevitably will be, how will you react? Will you run around, busily getting people worked up? Or, will you be the one having a Diet Coke, calmly talking to your team and figuring out how to resolve a tough situation?

My suggestion; be the calm in the chaos! There will be enough people around you who are not.

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