Poise is really for advanced adventurers, because it develops as a result of previously successfully confronting and defeating a fear. Poise is one of those really cool battle scars you get, and it’s what allows you to summon up more courage as you go further down the road.
For me, the definition of poise is “courage that is not controlled or dependent on emotion.” Poise tells me that I’ve seen something like this before and defeated it. Poise is the ability to remain focused and courageous under fire, because you know going in that you have the ability to face the fire. That’s why you’ll rarely hear younger people referred to has having poise, and when they do display it, people remark about it.
Some psychologist claim that poise allows you to multi-task, but I disagree; I think that poise is used for focusing on a single task because poise allows you to know what your true priority is. Poise utilizes your optimal energy and your confidence in a way that doesn’t lead to arrogance. If it were possible to be more “focused” than “focused” poise would be the reason.
In my experience, poise really does come with age, and when people tell me that they’re worried that they’re too old to start their own business, I tell them that they probably have poise in spades. Poise has been one the strongest weapons I have, and I’ve used it countless times to keep from devolving into an emotional wreck. When I’ve dealt with a nightmare client, poise kept me from falling into despair, and it made it possible for me to speak with her while resisting the temptation to reach down her throat and pull her lungs out. Where anger tells me that a boundary is being violated, poise helps me to take out any unhelpful emotions from the equation and see the larger picture.
Some research has suggested that poise comes from the Right Brain, the conceptual problem-solver that usually gets second billing to our more logical Left Brain. I’d agree with that because I think that poise allows me to see the bigger picture without judging it (Left Brain activity), and using my Right Brain as a crutch to solve everything. The Left Brain holds your “gut” that gives you information without relying on facts, and as far as I’m concerned, neither emotions nor facts are the end all for making decisions. You’ll need your gut to make intuitive decisions, like whether to work with that company that hasn’t bothered to Skype you back for days. You start to wonder if they’re flaky and if they’ll actually pay you on time (if ever). You don’t have solid proof that they’ll stiff you, but you can’t shake that feeling. That’s your gut, and your Right Brain will give you the ability to keep your poise and make the best decision for you.