It is so hard to maintain perspective when you have to suddenly deal with a stressful situation or crisis. As the boxer Mike Tyson once said “ Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth “ The biggest challenge is to be able to see things as they really are and not the way you would like them to be. We are all susceptible to this type of unrealistic thinking at the moment because of Covid 19. As people scramble to get their head around what is really going on and what is likely to happen next, they are being hit with information overload and not all of it is balanced and accurate. There has been a lot of false rumours going viral on social media which preys on people’s fears about how bad the pandemic could get. Equally there are many well intentioned but overly optimistic opinions being offered about how quickly our lives will go back to normal. Neither approach represents a sensible way to assess the current situation. In reality, in times of crisis, things will not turn out as bad as we might fear, but equally it will often take longer for the crisis to be over than we might be hoping for. The point is that the crisis will be over eventually . What has come today, has not come to stay , it has come to pass. The problem is, that when you are in the middle of it, it can be challenging to keep calm and rational. It is very likely that we are going to be restrictive mode in terms of social interaction for quite some time yet. Most likely we will all have to continue to adjust our work practices and our lifestyles for as long as takes to find a vaccine. A typical timeframe for that is 12 to 18 months from the start of the outbreak.
In order to be effective, proactive and productive in a time of crisis, you must take the time to get your thoughts about it organised in your head. Ask yourself the following questions :
- How serious is the situation ?
- How likely am I to be affected personally ?
- How long is this crisis likely to last ?
- How long can I survive financially if I cannot work ?
- What are my basic needs ?
- What can I cut back on right now ?
The answers to these questions will help you to cope with the stress and formulate a workable plan to get through.
If you are business owner you have got to ask these questions :
- What are the risks ?
- What are my fixed costs ?
- What is essential and what can be deferred or eliminated
- How can I continue to serve my clients ?
- How can I reach new prospects ?
- How can I sell my products and services ?
There is no doubt in my mind that in my mind that, in times of crisis that a lot of people tend to panic, become overly negative and end up making the problem much worse in their heads than it actually will be in reality. They end up paralysed by fear at just the wrong time. What you must strive for is balanced judgement, informed optimism and decisive action. Assess the gravity of the situation first and then take the appropriate steps to help yourself and those around you.
I struggled for quite some time myself with the crisis in my head when I was going through my financial meltdown. Thankfully I found the metal strength to gather my thoughts and I started to visualise a better future for myself and my family. Every morning I wrote out my goals on paper and I focussed on images in my mind of a new successful me , with abundant health, wealth and happiness. To manage the crisis in my head I thought about what I had, rather than what I did not have and I expressed gratitude for those things. I thought about what I wanted rather than what I did not want and I asked for those things to come in to my life. Even though I was completely and utterly broke, I thought about what I could leverage to help me overcome my problems. I constantly reminded myself that I was still a capable, determined and innovative person and that I could succeed at anything that I set my mind to. I kept those thoughts in my head as I formulated my plan to get going again in business and I kept looking for opportunities to use my talents and skills.
It is never a lack of resources that will hold you back, it is a lack of resourcefulness. This positive and action-oriented mindset will serve you well and it will help you to eliminate or at least minimise the crisis in your head and set you on the road to recovery faster.