Let’s talk about Crisis
The big event, the big moment, the goal you’ve been working towards for a long time is fast approaching. Just when everything feels right, life decides to throw you a crazy curve ball that knocks you so off balance you just want to be swallowed up by the ground and whisked away to another planet… Unfortunately for you, Narnia doesn’t really exist and the storm will only get worse if you don’t face it head on.
You see the thing is, God really does give his biggest challenges to his best soldiers, the catch is, you only qualify as one of the best soldiers once you’ve completed the challenge. So that means you have to pluck up the courage to walk through the fire, no matter how scared you are, no matter what crazy pictures you’ve painted in your mind of how bad things are going to turn out, you’ve just got to go.
A host of different things brought on this blog post, including seeing people close to me go through some very testing times. Coincidentally, I’ve just finished reading Alistair Campbell’s ‘Winners and why they succeed’, and in a chapter on crisis, he talks about his time with Bill Clinton when he went through the Monica Lewinsky saga (I know, makes your so called ‘crisis’ seem a little pathetic right?). He particularly highlights Clinton’s mentality during this testing period. As far as Clinton was concerned, he had a job to do just like any other person in the world, and that was to run the country. Even though at the time, the media talked about him being a traitor, the public was disgusted with him and pretty much the whole world grabbed a bowl of popcorn and booked front row seats to see the demise of the most powerful man in the world, it didn’t exactly work out that way. Bill Clinton is still one of the most respected US Presidents’ of all time, even though he went through one the biggest scandals.
Now I know this example may seem a bit far removed and perhaps you cannot relate to it, but the principles for leadership, success and crisis management can be applied across fields.
So as always, I’ve got three gems to give you:
1. Focus on the task at hand – Alistair Campbell talks about Clinton’s unerring focus on his job at that the time, so much so that he argues that Clinton made some of his most crucial decisions as President during this period. So stick to your job and do it well. No matter how bad a situation is, when you do your job well, whatever it is, no one can discredit you.
2. Stick to facts – He didn’t sensationalize the situation by listening to the little voice in his head that was probably telling him his life was over. Nor did he take people’s opinions and criticisms as truths. Ever noticed that when things get really bad, the voice in your head get’s louder? That’s because that voice is an opportunist, and it can smell blood, so it will pounce on you during your weak moments. Separate the facts from the bull; it’ll help you find direction.
3. Finally, take one day at a time. Whether you’re the most powerful man in the world, a student, an admin assistant or fresh out of a break up, you should only focus on what is in front of you. Anything else is irrelevant as it is out of your control, you just need to be present. Time heals everything.
There are some amazing examples of real crisis’ people have been through, and although they have come out battered and bruised on the other end… They emerged as winners. And that’s the most important thing, you’re in this to win right?
After David Beckham got sent off in the 1998 World Cup against Argentina – the whole country turned against him and his family’s security became a cause for concern. But by focusing on doing what he does best, he was able to come out bigger and better on the other end. Captaining his country 115 times, winning 19 major trophies and selling over 10 million football shirts over his career, I think it’s safe to say Beckham not only survived, but he thrived.
On a personal note, I remember what it felt like to fail my A’ Levels miserably, I had to get into University through clearing and I had disappointed my whole family. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this crisis was simply a test of character for me. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday, your mind kicks into gear and you develop this tunnel vision focus. My first port of call was to make sure I got into uni, then to make sure I passed first year, then get a placement and get some experience under my belt, then before you know it, you and everyone else around you have forgotten about that so called crisis and you’re hunting down a First Class Degree.
The point of this is not to be cocky, but to give evidence of the fact that life goes on, no matter how bad or how big, the clock will still tick and the sun will still rise. So at no point should you make decisions based on fear or based on emotion, cause both are a temporary fix and the come down will be much worse.
Like they say, ‘no pressure, no diamonds’