This morning I was thinking of all the new crisis generated by the Coronavirus and the related outcome in many areas of life and business.
And thought of this question: do you know of any emergency, difficult situation, unexpected stuff, or even a crisis, popping up at a convenient time?
Most of the time things just happen; even the most relevant experts are not always ready or prepared to see and predict all of the things coming up. And of course some of the things are more anticipated than others, and the world is more prepared. Yet overall it is not necessary about how well we anticipate a specific crisis that is probable to happen, but how do we keep ourselves prepared for whatever happens and how do we react when things don’t go as planned or the unexpected pops up, out of nowhere.
The current crisis is a result of a virus, that is dangerous enough for governments all over the world to take very drastic measures. Now, I am not a doctor nor a medical expert so I will not comment about how dangerous this is or is not, what the death rate is or why this shall be more serious than a season cold epidemic. I will just trust the experts in the sense that something may shift into the near future to create a bigger crisis and that prevention is always the best.
This being said, it still remains the situation as it is right now. In most countries we see not necessary a lot of death cases as a result of this virus, at least not at the time I am writing this, non the less there is a lot of impact on overall life and business. Schools getting closed which create an issue for parents, and finding solution for kids. Meetings and events rescheduled, which create a big issue for people who have been organizing those for months sometimes. A big list of ongoing projects on hold because this may not be the best time to move forward in time of uncertainty. And definitely much less travels which makes the airline and travel companies all over the world being the sector that would suffer the most in a first phase.
Now this in itself could be enough to be concerned about. Yet there is a big difference between being concerned about something and being panicked or even worried about it.
The main difference if that in a state of panic or worry, the mind is not functioning at the best of its ability. That makes sense because when in panic the human mind freezes so instead of finding solutions it goes into creating more catastrophic scenarios to add to the panic. And giving a change we all would love to tap into our full potential when expose to a crisis isn’t it.
As I usually explain there are 2 type of fears, one that is helping us survive which is exposing a sense of danger that pushes our brain to find a quick solution and react, and one that is slowly killing us. The first one appears when the danger is real, like a fire starts next to you, or someone is holding a gun to your head or similar. In that case you may find that running away is saving you for example. Stay with me on that one, I am not saying what is the best idea I am just saying that the mind will immediately come up with something to fight the danger. In a second case is the fear of a fire that will start in your home right now. No matter the probability for that to happen you may know people living in that fear of a fire starting in their home, or an earthquake or something similar. Now, the point is not to say how ridiculous that could be, but to explain a fact: to those people (and btw we all have our own “fire” fears expressed in our own ways) any logical approach will not help. They will act or be overwhelmed by a fear they sense as real. Except that in those situations, as the danger is not imminent the brain does not know how to react to move you away from that fear. The only thing the brain does is to add more catastrophe scenarios and developed even a higher fear, and that can go into panic attacks, or more not to name here.
The entire purpose is that: while the first type of fear is helping us survive and the fear will go down as we move away from danger, the second one will not allow us to live, and it will increase no matter how much logical explanation we used for that.
Why is important to establish in which case of fears we are? Mainly in order to know what we are doing next. The key here is that the second type of fear, the one linked to what may happen, it will manifest prior for the danger to actually be produced. Have you noticed for example that we are afraid of let’s say an exam or a doctor appointment, a public speech, etc before we go, and as soon that starts we forget about the fear and we concentrate on what we have to do?
That is an important point in dealing with fears, and eventually worry, anxiety and panic attacks.
Why we speak so much about this, because in the case of coronavirus we see a lot of people worrying and getting anxious about it. Which is understandable considering most people are not necessarily worried about themselves but in addition they worry about their kids or their elderly parents that could be more at risk in such a situation.
Now like I used to say it for a while now, worrying about something has no effect on how that situation will unfold tomorrow. The only effect it has is on how ready we ‘ll be when or if that risk happens.
Ok, so let’s say you are worried, ok, it makes sense, so what, now what?
You see as soon you turn it into action you may realize there is more to do than just lie in a bed covered in anxiety and waiting for you to die, or for the coronavirus to contaminate you and your loved ones.
There are opportunities that show up. Why not reflecting on those for example? Someone will have to. Why not you?
When a crisis happens, the current models are challenged, and we talk not only about current business models, but also thinking models, ways of living, things that happen without us thinking of them, that have become natural or habits.
And it is not because they are ours and feel so natural that they are not to be challenged, reconsidered or that they are still relevant in today’s world.
The beauty of a crisis is that it forces us to see things differently. It pushes us into admitting that whatever it was working so far can not longer be applied in the same way. We can no longer play the ostrich, the crisis is here, something must change.
There are a few questions you may want to ask yourself to face the situation:
1. What is the opportunity here? Now, I do hear you, the situation is challenging what the heck she is taking about opportunity here. And when you have a deeper look, there are opportunities here and people already listed a few of them. The only difference is who can see them; is not the person who is in panic mode but those who are open and ready for something else. The biggest opportunity here is on an environmental side, with coronavirus already having such positive impact on the planet, to start with. The second is an opportunity to change the business model, like working remotely could take a different meaning from now on, and we could realize how much more we can do when we save time for travel for example. Or how much more productive we can be when focused on the task and not losing time in traffic, etc. The 3rd is the opportunity for the entire world to focus on a specific topic, adding a multitude of diverse minds focus on solving an unique problem; and how the world could collaborate without necessary going into never-ending meetings, and doing them based on videos conference and other media that are forcing people to be more focused and straight to the point. And I am sure each of you can come up with ideas linked to your own environment.
2. What is the panic or the anxiety adding to my life, or differently put how is this helping me? And if the answer is “nothing much, it does not help”, maybe this is the time to create a new projection for yourself. Why not creating a story that helps you instead of a horror movie that is freezing you. And that can also be created while writing or putting together a vision board of something that looks completely different than your fear today, something that you are excited to move into and experience.
3. What is your intuition telling you? When you go into time of crisis, you want to get as much aligned with yourself. In order to be aligned we use different type of messages. We have messages that are coming from our logics, messages that are coming from our emotions and messages that are coming from our intuition. Now what we aim for is to give all these messages space to be heard. When we overthink, we only hear the messages from our logic, when we are overwhelmed by fears or other emotions, we only hear those messages. It takes balance to give space to each logic and emotions to be heard and messages to be received and by doing so, allowing the intuition to come to you as well. We all know inside ourselves when we are at peace what are the things to take seriously and what are just exaggerated projection of our logic or our emotions.
Now, for those who are part of the millions of people who must already stay confined home and or have to change all their schedules, here are 5 things you may want to explore:
1. Providing you are with your kids or loved ones, why not enjoying it. When was last time you had time to just be with them all around you? What a joy to actually be there with them and have time to enjoy, right?
2. Providing you are by yourself, what an amazing opportunity to grow. In today’s world we always lack time. Now this is your time to learn something, or to rest, or to watch all the Netflix you want without feeling any guilt. I know some of you are now looking forward to have that time for themselves.
3. Providing you are a business owner, what a great moment to take that time away from your business, to have that helicopter view that is taking you away from day to day operations and allow you to see the bigger picture. And you also have some time to do that laser focus approach, to take a problem and think about solutions for 10 15 minutes. Asking yourself what is the root cause of it, and go deeper and deeper; there is a beauty in having time for this kind of exercises, when no calls or emails are coming in, because you may get answers that would be unavailable to you in a day to day situation.
4. Providing you are a consultant I think that is one of the greatest position to be right now, to assess the world and think of a different ways of doing business. Critical thinking, business design, are the areas where most businesses will need support, and this is almost the perfect time take out to allow us to think about solutions. The world will need a different way to do business and consultants (to use a general term) could be at the top of that different way of doing business; providing they will take time to think and challenge the existent instead of looking within today’s world to find solutions for a complete new situation. This is no longer a time to compare and look for best practice but more a time to assess and invent (like an internal disruptor) what could tomorrow solve the problems most businesses are facing today. You can definitely start by putting on a paper what are the challenges you, your clients or a business are facing today. When a problem is well structured a solution starts to be seen.
5. Providing you are a coach, people will need your more than ever. Take this opportunity to address topics that are needed for any of us, like what am I doing in this article, address fears, address building opportunities, address community when at distance and any topics that are helping people to see a different world out there; something to look forward to instead of something to be worried about. The world needs you and in a situation like this you as a coach have access to all the social media that is providing the means of communication to touch as many people possible.
Hope this is giving you a different perspective no matter where you are in the world and how the crisis is unfolding for you right now. Those who will survive will be those who will adapt faster to the new reality. Those who will see the opportunity instead of obstacles. Those who are using this time to reflect and find new ways of doing and being. Us as humans can go behind and above any situations, we just need to tap into this collective awareness and creativity and allow ourselves to create a new way of thinking. The great news is that we as an evolutive community created the current one, to begin with. So, we already know how to create a thinking model that works. And I can’t wait to see what this will bring to each of you.