There’s nothing greater than a crisis to create a powerful breakthrough. I believe a crisis is an opportunity to set us in a new direction we wouldn’t have taken otherwise.
Oh, trust me when I am in a crisis, I don’t relish it, but I have learned and observed that my most significant changes and progress have been made as a result of a good crisis.
Fifteen years ago, I was really sick and on disability. Depleted from a draining job and not taking care of myself, I was fifteen pounds lighter and barely able to stand. During those weeks my apartment was robbed, a person very close to me died, I had to change apartments but couldn’t lift my head much less a box, and I was arrested by two Chicago female police officers –a story much too long to write here.
In summary, I was in a crisis. I was forced to take some bold actions, and in hindsight, it was the wake-up call I needed. It was a gift and the beginning of a whole new life.
If you ask most individuals about their greatest breakthroughs and then you ask what preceded them, you will almost always hear it was some sort of crisis.
~ Trina was a high-powered executive who wanted to change her career for years. Two years ago she was diagnosed with cancer. The health scare moved Trina to finally pursue the dream she had put off for 20 years–to own the successful business she runs today.
~ John inherited and ran his family business since he graduated from college. He did not choose his line of work, but it had always rewarded him handsomely. When the industry took a hit due to changes in technology and the economy, John was in crisis. With help, however, he identified work he is passionate about and today runs a thriving business that makes him excited to get out of bed daily.
The most powerful thing about a crisis is that it moves you to do something you wouldn’t have done before, because you have to.
Michael J. Fox states in his memoir, Lucky Man, that his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease was a gift. Michael states, “The unexpected crisis forced a fundamental life decision.” For him it was to choose to embark on the journey and be present in his life. He considers himself lucky to have had the crisis.
A crisis simply means that nothing is working or you are not being rewarded for what you are doing as you once were.
Maybe your crisis is you have lost your job, lost a relationship, or a loved one. Maybe your business has tanked, you have become sick, or you simply woke up and realized you are not where you want to be.
If you are in crisis, here are Five Top Crisis Pitfalls you need to avoid.
1. Falling into guilt, shame, regret. Give yourself a specific time frame to grieve and regret. Mark the date. Then, move on. Whatever happened was supposed to. Now it’s time to move to your next opportunity.
2. Telling yourself self-limiting rut stories. Steve Jobs had the choice between two stories: either he believed he was given up and discarded by his biological parents or chosen by his adoptive parents. The rest is history. Choose the story that supports where you are headed.
3. Trying to go it alone. Get help from the experts. Trying to re-invent the wheel costs time, happiness, and money. Be willing to invest in yourself and accept receiving support.
4. Turning set-backs into give-ups; shutting down. Fail forward, every successful person failed on their way to the top. Look at what you missed in the last round and be sure not to make that mistake again—in that way it is never failure.
5. Procrastinating and excuse making –this isn’t the time or there’s no time. Fact: waiting for a perfect time guarantees you will never get started. Take one small step that moves you forward in the next 24 hours. If you don’t have an action, you are stuck. Get help.
The Point: Some of the most powerful transformations occur as a result of really difficult times.
To move through your crisis, remember to embrace and remain open rather than shut down. Ask for the help you need. With the help of others we do our best work and get there more quickly.
It may be hard to see now, but you will thank your crisis one day.