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How to be more composed

There are many situations in which you may want to remain composed, even if that is not your first instinct.
3 min read

Learn to call upon the composed mindset

We all have mindsets that feel natural to us—so natural that they may seem to be our only options as we move through our days. But if you rely too heavily on your most comfortable attitudes, you end up seeing the world in a biased way. You don’t realize that your instinctive reactions are not your only choices. With knowledge and practice, you’ll be able to see the wide range of possibilities for how to react in any situation, and you’ll develop the ability to choose the best path.

Composed is one of the eight Everything DiSC® Agile EQ mindsets. If it is one of yours, gain more understanding in the article Your composed mindset in Agile EQ. If it is not, keep reading to learn how to practice a composed disposition, even if it takes more effort for you.

We’ll talk about the how, but first: the why and the when.


Why do it?

Practicing the composed mindset has specific benefits for people of different DiSC styles. For example, D styles can choose composure to keep from overwhelming more reserved colleagues, and i styles can help safeguard relationships by not giving in to strong emotions when that is not appropriate for the situation. For C styles, lack of composure doesn’t usually manifest in big emotions or outbursts, but may shine through in a dissatisfied tone or eye rolls, communication styles that tend to shut the conversation down. For S styles, composure helps create a calm and harmonious environment.

The ways in which the composed mindset can help each DiSC style meet its goals are examined in detail in each personalized Agile EQ profile.

Situations that may call for the composed mindset

As you work on developing your agile emotional intelligence, you’ll be better able to distinguish which mindsets to call upon in which situations. In general, you might need to be composed when:

  • avoiding rash decisions in the heat of the moment
  • de-escalating tension
  • discussing a sensitive topic
  • allowing space for careful thought and consideration
  • keeping those around you calm

Employing the composed mindset

Recognize your thoughts

Lack of composure manifests differently in different DiSC styles. An iS style may bottle things up, ruminating and assuming the worst, while a D style may lash out or push harder. So much of developing your emotional intelligence is recognizing the automatic thoughts that drive your behavior without you even realizing it. (We discuss this more in the article For productive conflict, reframe your thoughts.) To stay composed, you may need to battle inner voices telling you:

  • I have to act on this now.
  • The way I feel right now is how I will always feel.
  • I’m just calling it like it is.
  • I can’t believe they care so little about my feelings.

Set goals

The Agile EQ profile provides a personalized “Where should you start?” section with beginner, intermediate, and advanced goals based on your DiSC style, your EQ assessment, and your effort meter (see sample Agile EQ profile). Example goals for the composed mindset, which vary in difficulty for different people, include:

  • I understand the things that tend to set me off.
  • I know the consequences of losing my composure and I keep them in mind when it counts.
  • I know how to talk myself down and maintain an even keel in most situations.

Start practicing

The learner assesses their comfort level for the statements listed in their profile, then moves ahead with the action steps to practice getting more comfortable. Depending on your own natural mindsets, here are some tips for staying composed:

  • Step away and revisit the issue later.
  • Think about a situation beforehand, if you know it might be tense. What response might you be proud of? Create a plan for sticking to that response.
  • Identify your triggers.
  • Learn how to maintain control by relabeling your emotions. Does it change how you think about yourself when you are excited rather than flustered, or passionate rather than angry?
  • Learn the signs of emotional exhaustion, in you and others.

Agile EQ goes into detail on each of these, and others, with steps for daily practice and ways to measure your progress. If it takes a lot of effort for you to have a composed mindset, that is not going to change overnight. But like any skill, you can incorporate practice into your regular routine.

See also: Your composed mindset in Agile EQ


Avery Harris-Gray

SC style, NY based. Writing about Everything DiSC and The Five Behaviors since 2020. Leadership style: humble. EQ mindset: composed. I always have snacks to share.

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