Being poised; finding our inner diamond.

A simple line drawing of a diamond

What is it to be poised?

If more people felt poised the world would be a much better place. Feeling poised means having balance, feeling secure, being sure-footed, enduring with ease.

It comes from having confidence, mastery and inner strength.

And it allows humility, resilience, serenity, authenticity and wisdom.

Poise is not just about how we stand – it’s also about what makes us stand well.

It’s not just about the words we use – it’s also about the thinking behind those words.

It doesn’t just lead to confident behaviour – it leads to effective behaviour and good judgement.


A  simple line drawing of a diamond, illustrating being poised.
We are all diamonds underneath

How do we develop it and why should we?

When we understand how our emotions work, we can control what we do about them.  Fear in particular can hijack us. Getting to grips with our fear allows freedom from it. See this post for more information about how this happens.

Understanding how our brains work gives us the liberty to respond effectively and efficiently. Difficult situations, like giving a presentation, become much easier. Managing staff becomes more effective as we grow a wider management toolkit. The ability to manage change increases as we develop flexibility and agility. Resilience, the ability to bounce back from stress, grows.


The perfect version of ourselves is like a diamond; tough but shining brightly and perfectly matched for the job in hand. But we can be covered in stuff that weighs us down.

Being poised is about finding that inner diamond. Through developing mastery, knowledge and confidence. My job is to facilitate that. To teach about our inner workings, how the brain functions and how our emotions impact on our behaviour.


Crew Log: Swanage to Lyme

View from Polly B, Portland Bill to the right.


Crew Log – Janet Webb

Sailing yacht Polly B with full sails.
Polly B doing what she does best.

Boat – Polly B, Westerly Centaur

Skipper – Jonathan Webb

Journey – Swanage to Lyme via Portland

Date – 16.07.22 to 18.07.22

Engine hours total – 3hrs

Swanage to Portland

After spending two days anchored at Swanage, we headed to Portland with plans to use a marina. At this point we had been at sea and anchor for 8 days. Consequently, our supplies were a little low and we were a little in need of civilisation!  A cracking sail put us outside the harbour mouth in the early afternoon and a call to the Harbour Office confirmed that they could accommodate us.  A call back as we entered Portland Marina established our berth for the night.

The facilities were top notch and the staff were polite and helpful. We made use of their local knowledge – the best time to round Portland Bill, where the nearest supermarket was, who sold the best Fish and Chips; all the important matters.

In the morning the crew (i.e. me) got some essentials from the local Lidl: milk, bread, Kit Kats. I resisted the urge to buy a catering sized pack of stuffed olives, a novelty BBQ set and a pneumatic drill.

Rounding Portland

After taking on water and fuel, we headed off to face the dreaded Portland Bill; we were going via the Inner Passage in order to avoid The Race. For information regarding the dangers of sailing around Portland feel free to look here.

Rounding Portland Bill By The Inner Passage,

Fortunately it was a beautiful day; there is nothing like a bit of sunshine for reducing perceived danger.

View from Polly B, Portland Bill to the right.
A lovely day to tackle Portland Bill.

With the Berthing Master’s wise words ringing in our ears we knew that timing was crucial. There is only a small window when you can get round and if you haven’t timed it right then you will be stuck, battling the oncoming tide and so forced to retreat. Hence, the skipper was unusually quiet (not that he ever shouts in a presidential way.)

There were three boats all standing off, waiting for their moment, waiting for someone else to make a move, like a watery slow bicycle race. As it turned out, we all sailed through the Inner Passage with no drama, the beauty of Portland Bill passing by within meters to starboard.

Portland to Lyme

Sadly the wind died away and we were forced to motor the last bit to Lyme. A swell was forecast and we didn’t fancy joining the yachts we could see moored up in the harbour mouth. The wind was blowing straight in, the harbour walls offering no protection, and so they were swinging about frantically. If we had to be hurled about all night there seemed little point in doing that with the added noise of a dozen other boats.  So we anchored off Lyme, with the bright lights of the amusements on Lyme beach as our backdrop.

And what a night. The noise was not a problem. The experience of being tossed about was. Not the gentle rock of a cradle; more the frenetic back and forth of a Titan’s washing machine. Great for our core muscles. Not so good for sleep. At 5am we gave up and were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise.

Sunrise through the clouds over Lyme Bay
Lyme Bay after a tough night

Lyme had one more Joker to play; we had a struggle to get the anchor up. Our beloved shipmate, a 10Kg Lewmar Delta (with 25m of chain and 15m of rope) held a bit too firm, presumably stuck in a rock crevice. (We now employ a tripping line to deal with this.) With some wiggling about we eventually slipped free at 6am and headed for our next stop; Dittisham, Dartmouth.

The bacon sarnies tasted particularly good that morning.

Tom Cunliffe gives an excellent overview of Portland here.

What happens when you get it wrong can be seen here.


As Easy As Drinking A Cup Of Tea – it’s complex

We take drinking as a very ordinary thing. However, what is happening is quite complex and based on a mass of learning.

Our hand grabs the cup. This is quite a sophisticated action requiring us to:

  • judge distance and pressure
  • work out a specific placement on the cup so as not to knock it over, or miss all together.
An empty mug used for tea.
Janet’s tea cup – sadly empty

We lift the cup at the speed, learned over a life time, that doesn’t swill the liquid out of the cup but is fast enough to satisfy our desire. Without looking we touch the cup to our lips. Then we judge the level of tilt required to deliver a reasonable amount of fluid, without sloshing a deluge up our noses. We brace ourselves for it to be too hot and we take evasive action if it is. We respond if someone knocks us mid-swill and we adjust position to deal with this.

Judgement as sophisticated as this takes a lifetime to develop.

Taking a drink of tea (or anything else) requires extensive experimentation and learning though our lives. Without realising it, we develop the skill to analyse, measure and adjust in a rather refined and unconscious way. All this in order to be able to drink a cup of tea effectively.

Is it possible, therefore, that actually we aren’t all experts on what to do during a more complex situation, like a pandemic, for instance?

Is it conceivable that people with the responsibility of making the best decisions on a situation far more crucial than drinking tea, are quite possibly doing a good job? Even if it may not look like it? Maybe what is happening is complex and so we will have no idea what the “right” choices are until the whole thing has blown over? At that point, and only at that point, we will be able to analyse the outcome? Could it be that currently we really have no idea?

Could it? I rather suspect it could.