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[GUEST BLOG] Turn Chaos into Calm

Turn Chaos into Calm

By Holly Duckworth

Our world went from hitting the “pause” button to hitting the “fast forward” button, totally skipping over the “play” button. If you listen closely, you can hear that screeching sound–what you hear when you play audio too quickly. Is that screechy loud sound that you are hearing in your office the sound of teams trying to get back into the swing of things? All the demands of return-to-work energy have leaders and employees feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. I asked our clients to share the one area of growth, a growth zone, if you will, they are experiencing. With zero hesitation, they are saying chaos is growing exponentially. It seems the rapid rate of change experienced in 2020 and 2021 is here to stay as we move into 2022. Change sustained for more than 18 months has become chaos for many individuals and organizations.

Pre-pandemic we thought we had a lot on our plates. There were many systems that we knew just worked, and we took these for granted. As both staff and members execute their own return-to-work initiatives, systems we once took for granted are now broken. For example, if you are a leader that travels a lot for work, I would bet your travel process is a little out of practice. I can’t be the only one that is leaving a key cord or charger in the office while I’m working on the road? Perhaps your HR or financial functions now operate a bit differently with more tasks going online. It can be chaotic. You may have once heard “but we always did it that way”. Not so much anymore.

Here are three ways to turn Chaos into Calm:

  • Take A Moment to Breathe – When you see something new or unexpected happening, don’t let your brain hijack you. Empower yourself and often the other person or persons in the change. Take a breath and remember you will get through this together.
  • Become Aware of What is Happening in Your Body – Did you return to your closet only to find your work wardrobe a little dusty or too tight? These little hints are an out-picturing that what is happening outside your body is also happening inside your body. If your body feels stress, anger, or worry, name it so you can choose to claim it and tame it.
  • Share a Little Kindness – It seems we have seen a few too many flat-screen Brady Bunch windows. Remember that people are just people peopling right now. A simple moment of authenticity and kindness can often solve for chaos. 

Our world pre-pandemic wasPandemic Recovery Button unsustainable with the 24/7 news cycle and growing work expectations. Now it seems we are all on “fast forward” to return to that life. Does it have to be this way? Does your organization have to return to work and bring back not only the former state of chaos but also the additional chaos? We don’t think so.

When applied, these three actions: breathe, scan your body to release stress, and share a bit of kindness are all mindful practices. Mindfulness is so much more than a buzzword nowadays, not only used by yogis and meditators, but it is also a critical skill for executive and leader success. Mindfulness is the secular and neuroscience practice of being present in the moment and being in that energy without judgment. Leaders who are applying mindfulness report better emotional intelligence, greater sales, and a much more resilient and productive company.


Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP, CWMF, is CEO of Leadership Solutions International, where she unleashes human potential through mindfulness techniques.  As a teacher, author, and Certified Workplace Mindfulness Facilitator, Holly’s work transforms business culture, customer experiences and offers personal success strategies. Holly is a New York Times contributor, host/producer of The Everyday Mindfulness Show. In 2021 Holly co-founded the American Mindfulness Association as the professional association to advance mindfulness as a strategic business practice.  Invite Holly to speak at an upcoming conference or workshop. 

The first week of every month Leadership Solutions International offers a mindfulness mini-course called the Chaos to Calm Challenge. Participants report walking in stressed and a bit skeptical, but after a few short practices, they are living examples that mindfulness matters.

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