This week at Thomson Reuters Elite’s VANTAGE Worldwide Conference in Las Vegas, the amazing Mike Staver, international speaker and coach, provided the keynote on “How to Stay Calm Under Pressure.” His rapid fire presentation style and amazing storytelling kept our attention from start to finish. Here are a few key take-aways for those who weren’t able to attend VANTAGE, from a brief interview with Mike prior to his keynote.

What do you hope the attendees will walk away with today?

Staver: Staying calm isn’t about stress management it’s really about choosing where to invest your energy. We are all asked to do more and more each day. The value of the work or the value of what we can do with the money from our work (to support yourself or your family) is what gives us energy. So pick what gives you energy and invest less in what doesn’t. I’m not telling you not to do your job, but maybe invest yourself deeply in the things that help you maintain energy and align with what you value, and let those other things become tasks to do and get done and check off the list. It’s not easy, but it is simple.

Could you give me an example of someone hitting the wall and what you tell them as a coach?

Staver: I have a C-level that I coach that called me one day and said, “I hate my job, I hate my team, I hate my company. I just don’t know what happened today but everything is just bad.” I reminded this person that you are just a hater today, and there are days like this. Close your office door and work on projects. Don’t make any big decisions. Perhaps it’s not the job, the people and the company, but you. A few days later I got a call, and sure enough the job was fine, the team was good and the company was great. The hater was gone and the top CEO was back. This can happen to all of us. We get stressed out. It’s important to know that stress can be good for you. It makes us stronger. We work out to stress our bodies and make it stronger – stronger legs, heart, cardio. Distress weakens us.

Stress is healthy, but distress is not?

Staver: Remember, it’s not “the thing” that stresses you out, it’s the way you process what stressed you out. Everyone thinks they should be comfortable and happy. That is unrealistic, sometimes you just won’t be. Try to prioritize where and how you spend your mental energy. Keep perspective on what you allow yourself to stress over. Everything isn’t a crisis or problem to be solved. Be greedy about your energy. Use it where it matters most. We need to learn to not give circumstances our power. But this isn’t easy. It is simple, and it takes practice.

Staver’s most recent book, “Do you know how to shut up?, provides the best of his blog posts. You can also his Mondays with Mike videos.


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