Look for the good in bad
I’ve been writing a book over the recent months about crisis. It seemed like the right thing to do when so many people are trying to cope with how the events of the past year and a half have affected business. I wanted to share what I have learnt as it might help others to move forward.
‘I don’t deserve this’
Our reaction to crisis is very similar to our reaction to grief, in fact the parallels between the two are marked. I was reflecting on the grief cycle and how coming to terms with the loss of a loved one is a journey. The absence of the comfort and familiarity of their presence in our lives eventually makes way for something else. But it is by no means instantaneous.
It seemed to me that there is also a road to walk when we are faced with completely unforeseen events. Although we’ve done nothing wrong, the tables have been turned violently and unexpectedly on us. And, learning to walk again, albeit by using different methods, is a choice we must make. The good news is that we human beings are resourceful and resilient and we can recover from crisis and rebuild our lives.
Here is the grief cycle (I have found several variations of it but this is the most detailed):
1 Shock and denial,
2 Pain and guilt,
3 Anger and bargaining,
5 Reflection and loneliness,
7 The upward turn,
8 Acceptance, therapy
Here is the crisis cycle as I have experienced it:
As with the grief cycle, the first part of the process is actually denial. Crisis shocks us when it hits us. Even if trouble has been brewing, when it strikes it takes us by surprise. The situation at first appears like the very worst has happened and it’s a normal reaction to feel as if we are drowning in such an abnormal situation.
A crisis also means that change is coming and you can use it as the catalyst. It can be an opportunity to do something new and different.
We have to start dealing with the fallout even though we are bowled over by the shock and surprise of its timing. We need time to process this crisis and the period of shock gives our senses time to adjust. And, we need to draw on our experience to respond rather than react.
We need to get uncomfortable to begin to lessen the impact of the crisis. It’s the warm up before entering the race towards change. Preparing ourselves for endurance, the journey ahead to make a transition from how we used to be. We have to remind ourselves of our mission and make a decision to leave the old ways to inherit the new world.
You need to acknowledge that the crisis has hurt you. There’s no point pretending it doesn’t. The pain is, unfortunately, part of the process, it’s the pain that creates momentum. Take care of yourself! Be patient with yourself, but also be deliberate in daily choices that bring health and healing. Pain is a sign that you are alive, even when you feel dead on your feet. Talk it through with someone you trust.
Pushing through means learning to deal with uncomfortable circumstances and not allowing yourself to camp there and adopt a victim mentality. It will take mental, physical and spiritual insights to push through but you’ll create new levels of resilience, as well as resolve and new relationships.
You start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s where hope is painting a new picture and the shadows begin to retreat. You start to believe that you can regain your life again. Eventually, you step out into the light and embrace your older, wiser self.
Now you are in the zone and seeing the change, making choices that are aligned to your destination. You have the conviction, the clarity and confidence to make strides in that right direction.
This is what happens once you’re through, when you’ve grown and can share how the victory was won. It’s important to not only share the story but also get the timing right. You might not need to share all the details of the trouble you have had, but time is a great leveller. You emerge from the process a stronger and wiser leader with more experience and a few scars.
The crisis cycle allows us to embrace the flow of change. As with any change, we’ll go through a journey and out of our test comes a testimony. Your human experience is something that can help someone else even through the toughest of times.
If you’d like to hear more about embracing crisis as a catalyst for change why not order my book? Pre-order available now.