Leadership Dynamics: Handling Your Max Q

In aerospace engineering, the maximum dynamic pressure, often referred to as max Q, is the point at which aerodynamic stress on a vehicle in atmospheric flight is maximized.  It is an important factor in the structural and mission design of rockets, missiles, and other aerospace vehicles which travel through an atmosphere; the flight envelope may be limited to reduce the total (potentially destructive) structural load on a vehicle near max Q. (Source: Wikipedia)

In human dynamics the equivalent of max Q is the maximum stress factor that a person can endure without experiencing a stress-related burnout; an incapacitating condition where the only cure is taking a complete break from just about everything for a period of 6 – 12 months.

The ‘crisis a minute’ culture we live in, a super competitive marketplace and the need to keep up with the onset and rapid evolution of new technologies impose daily challenges on leaders and decision-makers that bring many to the edge – mentally, psychologically and emotionally.

Care Study
Danny (not his real name but a very real story) is managing a big hospital, responsible for some 1000 doctors and 3000 nurses and most importantly, the treatment and recovery of a yearly inflow of some 1.5 million patients. His worst nightmare and greatest source of stress: Inevitable medical accidents resulting from mistreatment/misdiagnosis. The combination of minimal resources, super high-intensity and no respite from crisis as the daily norm creates dangerous levels of stress factors. “I know that in my profession the risk of getting a heart condition is not a matter of if, but when…”

Danny is one of many, in a wide range of occupations across the whole spectrum of living that experiences his personal max Q often on a daily basis. Do you happen to be one of those?

Every one of us has his/her way of coping with their unique kind of max Q: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, time out, creating space for engaging in relaxing pastime activities, spending quality time with family and friends. These processes are indeed vital to our well-being and yet, the most important ‘overlord’ capability that defines how we survive our personal max Q is how we handle and manage ourselves at the point of action, how we perceive what is happening and how we respond as against react.

It revolves around where a person comes from in oneself. There are many present and possible inner locations in us: From the hard to the soft; from the crowded and noisy to the quiet and still; from debilitating doubts to depth of belief. One of the greatest developments is to find that place of inner stillness and learn to stay there, no matter what.

That intangible place of inner stillness is connected to superior perception and energy dimensions that bring about inner atmospheres and a quality of being, refined intuition and the availability of higher intelligence that maintains a person’s sanity, intactness, mental clarity, focus and the ability to respond rather than react to challenges and exigencies.

Finding the Quiet Zone
“How can I discover that place in me” you may be asking. It begins with taking a side-step and doing something that may prove to not make sense to some and be quite a challenging exercise to others: Nothing. Yes, it begins with training the whole of you to be able to do: Nothing. BUT, and it is a big BUT, not in a slouching, nothing kind of way but in a quietly exploring, contemplative way. This obviously calls for some explanation.

It is about learning to open yourself to allow the vibes of stillness – “the sounds of silence” – to reach you and find a home in you. It may sound like some ‘Zen’ or new age stuff but it is not. This is a fundamental human development insight that belongs with a range of basic personal development practices that are designed to help individuals into greater self-realisation and lead themselves through the grind of modern living especially when leading self and others.

Not all in life can be summed up in formulas such as: ‘Nine steps to be a powerful individual’. Or, in an extensive diagnostic process that firmly locates you in a given grouping characterised by recognizable behavioural characteristics. There is a big and crucial dimension to living that lives in the worlds of the unwritten, the not yet discovered, the unknown, the not yet created. It is a VAST world that makes life the immense thrill that it is and that it can be.

Discovering this world, in and outside of ourselves requires us to step into it in its way, not by imposing our conditions that are nothing more than mental shackles.

Take a Sidestep
Find the time to take those sidesteps for a few minutes a day and more if you can to practice stepping into the ‘Quiet Zone’. One of the best ways to do that – there are many – is to think about your values, what you really want, what you really believe in, what you need and what is needed, without putting any pressure into the process or exerting any kind of demand upon yourself to get somewhere. Or, just do something you love doing. It is all about relaxing into an open state that facilitates entry into a much bigger world – human development-wise – than you may currently occupy. Think about the qualities that you are developing today and now. Pay attention to little clues, to ‘little inner voices’ in your mind that are constantly trying to tell you things; to your instinct and intuition and listen to yourself regularly. Your self is your greatest teacher – always and forever.

Response is chosen. Reaction is mostly – but not always – compulsive behaviour. The way to develop our response-ability is to connect to the parts of ourselves that can perceive, think and feel to the exclusion of anything that prevents us from being in charge of ourselves and maintaining a clear focus and make intelligent decisions.

The dualistic way we function, such as constantly alternating and harmonising between the human doing and human being states – being one of the fundamental natural principles that govern the human capability – releases elevated levels of energetic dynamism, mental and physical, through the development of inner stillness: The stiller a person inside; the more dynamic and versatile outside. Think about it.

With best wishes,
World Copyright 2011 © David Gommé

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