Tuesday, September 25, 2012

why we should all be more 'phlegmatic'

(this blog first appeared as a guest submission on RubyStar as part of their series on words defining 21st century business - thought I'd share it in light of all the colds that people seem to be suffering with at the moment!)

Phlegmatism (phleg-mat-ism)

I know – it sounds like you’re full of a stinky cold, oozing unmentionable fluids from nasal cavities, and generally in need of emergency Beecham’s powders*, but it was once used by the founder of one of the most successful PR consultancies in its day by means of praising my performance whilst in his employ.

With business today becoming more and more like the PR industry that I remember from all those years ago (ever-shortening deadlines, increasing expectations from clients, things going wrong at the worst possible time…) my contribution to this RubyStar series is that word of personal recognition I once received: ‘phlegmatism’. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Greek and Latin, but today it means to be calm, composed and self-possessed. In times of increasing stress, we need to try and remain calm and carry on – we need to find ways to be more ‘phlegmatic’ in how we approach our businesses. For me, that’s about perspective – I was once employed in the health service, literally holding peoples’ lives in my hands; the implications of being even 2 minutes late back then is nothing compared to what it would mean for me today…

*(other cold remedies are available…)

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