One of the first tests in determining a level of your own personal emotional security is your proficiency in handling stressful and pressure packed situations. To create a successful communicative working atmosphere and a harmonious home environment, you need to maintain a level of emotional self-control when challenged with difficult decisions, tasks, and personnel interactions.

What is the danger of “losing it” in the workplace and at home? The primary consequence is a serious deterioration in communication between all individuals involved in an emotional meltdown taking place. If you are part of an organization where leaders and colleagues become emotional volcanoes when faced with stress and difficult decisions, constructive communication immediately declines.

The behavioral culprit that spurs this decline is typically verbal abuse and is a key indicator in evaluating your ability or inability to handle situations in a mature and professional manner. Think about it…how can a person think clearly and respond rationally when he or she is being verbally attacked? The person can’t, and as a result, any chance of proactive communication is gone. In addition, the desire to avoid further communication with the attacking individual is initiated because no one wants to be on the receiving end of verbal abuse.

Whether this occurs at work or at home, a consistent series of events takes place: Subsequent to the verbal abuse being initiated, communication deteriorates and the flow of information breaks down. If the flow of information breaks down, how could any organization be efficient, productive, and profitable? They can’t. On the home front, why would a child want to listen to a parent if that parent has the tendency of belittling and verbally humiliating the child? They will not. As a result, the child avoids and turns off any desire to listen, and typically responds with the same tone and degrading verbiage as the parent. Thus, the child learns to handle stress and conflict in the same manner as the parent, resulting in a new future verbally abusive parent.

Show Your Inner Strength
Former Saturday Night Live star Cheri Oteri would humorously say in one of her skits, “Simmer Down.” Performance under pressure is the key to determining your inner strength, confidence, and emotional stability. I define “performance under pressure” as “an indication of one’s professionalism,” and I define professionalism as “emotional patience.” It is paramount that your behavior reflects a high degree of professionalism when dealing with conflict, stress, and pressure. The key is being patient with your emotions and how you react to them. This emotional patience stems from your security with your personal core values, which provide the inner strength to be proficient at handling difficult situations.

For example, if you squeeze a tomato, what comes out? Grapefruit juice? Apple juice? Orange juice? Of course not! Tomato juice comes out. The same is true with human beings. When a person is squeezed (i.e. put under stress and pressure), what’s inside comes out. So if an individual is internally frustrated, resentful, discontent, and jealous, to name a few destructive characteristics, I doubt seriously that the individual would display a kind, loving, and compassionate demeanor when put under emotional pressure.

Patience is still a virtue, and emotional reactivity to any situation is the barometer in evaluating your success with that virtue. Personal core values provide the building blocks to solidify a foundation of strength against life’s pressures and stresses, and to maintain a high level of professionalism that demonstrates superior leadership. Have fun, be that positive example, and enjoy the stress relieving benefits of simmering down.

Author's Bio: 

Jay Rifenbary is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant who provides expertise in the areas of personal and professional development, leadership, and communications. He is president of Rifenbary Training & Development and the author of two books, "True To Your Core - Common Sense Values for Living Life to Its Fullest" and “No Excuse! – Incorporating Core Values, Accountability and Balance into Your Life and Career." Visit for more information.