Leading in a time of Crisis*

I am privileged to know and have Dr. John C. Maxwell as my mentor and friend and to be a part of his Maxwell Leadership Team. Over the 20+ years I have known, read, learned, and studied from John Maxwell, he repeatedly makes his content relatable and simple for anyone who is teachable to learn from and put into practice.

This month, I would like to take a page from his “Leading through Crisis” work and talk to you about eleven principles you can use when you find yourself in this situation.

You already know this to be true. There was a time when you could not ride a two-wheeled bike. You were off balance; you may have even fallen off and skinned your knees or got a bump on your head. But with practice, you overcame your imbalance and became proficient at riding a bike. 

We are not given a life of ease. We are given a life to overcome and succeed.

Who do you know who always seems to find a solution, no matter the complexity of the problem or challenge? Yes, we all know these outside-of-the-box thinkers who never throw in the towel. These are the leaders who move forward and have people who follow them for this very reason. The difference between leaders who are successful and those who are not is simply this:  “How they think!”

When you come to the end of your own resources through trial and error, massive google searches, and other means, you are left with just one thing – YOU. This is the point where you find out who you really are. You probably think that YOU can find and solve anything that is thrown at you, and you are proud of that fact. Is that true? What does your experience tell you are true?

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right. Do you know where this comes from? Well, it is actually not from Henry Ford but the book of Proverbs in the Bible. This truth has stood the test of time. Your thoughts do determine your behavior. 

No matter what your faith is if you continue to practice that faith, your will inevitably crowd out your thoughts and fears with the positive attributes of your faith. I am speaking here with a broad stroke. Positivity fuels faith, just as negativity fuels fears.

When you stay on the happy side of things, as we mentioned above [there is always a solution], you will find life and work look very different from the doom and gloom of your nightly news broadcast. To stay in perpetual negativity is to live a life and work in despair. 

You have heard this before, “Turn that frown Upside down!”  This is true; if you let everything trigger you into being afraid, negative, and sarcastic, you will set deep creases in your brain, and those become your default emotional response to basically everything and everyone around you. You then become the negative person whom no one wants to be around!

Why do you think “Today Matters?”  Any ideas? Well, it isn’t hard to figure out. If you do not start to understand that what you begin to do today will be the way you begin tomorrow, then you will never change what you are doing. You will stay in “crisis” mode from today forward. Our purpose here is to help you understand that changing one small thing today creates a new habit for you to immolate tomorrow. If you begin your day by brushing your teeth, showering, getting dressed, eating a meal, getting all your items gathered together for the day, and taking yourself and your things out to your mode of transportation for the day, then you do have a habit, a routine and you those items you do daily “matter,” so you do them every day. 

When do you find yourself “reflecting” on something? Is it after you return from a weekend away? Or perhaps after a great vacation as you look at your photos? This is the same thing you can do when you find yourself smack up against something you do not like to do, think about, or go through. Instead of going down that dark path, instead, STOP and ask yourself, what are the other alternatives that I might take? How did I get to this place of adversity? Did I make a poor choice somewhere else in my life? Upon your reflection, most likely, you will find out that somewhere in the past or even momentarily past, you made a decision that put you squarely where you are today.

You’ve heard it said: “He/She is a relatable person.”  What does this mean in your world? Most likely, it means people are naturally drawn to the person, and there is something that is familiar, inviting, honoring, and they have charisma. When a person is relatable in an adverse situation, they become the neutral place, and the group or persons involved say things like: “I can get through this if so, and so can get through this tough time.”  That’s relatability. When was the last time you experienced this type of result in a crisis?

It is natural to stay in the moment and only see what is directly right in front of you. But, what if you simply stepped out from the fray and looked down the road for a bigger positive outcome? The entire situation changes! This is a skill anyone can master. Think about a small child who thinks they can do anything! Invest in this mindset and do it.

When a person encounters adversity or a crisis often enough, and they adopt the skills and mindset we have discussed earlier in this post, they GROW! A person grows and matures in their life, decision making, in their professional life, and in indeed every area of their lives. And other people notice. When they do, you might hear this: “Something is different about you. What changed?”  What a great compliment to hear! I know you will stand taller and puff out your chest, even if just a little.

*A Word About the word “CRISIS.”

What determines a “Crisis” to you may not be a “Crisis” to another person. For our context here, I would like to define the word “Crisis” so you understand its real meaning and not what you believe it is or what the world says it is in today’s culture.

Crisis – noun –

  1. A stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; a turning point.
  2. A condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change.
  3. A dramatic, emotional, or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.

A “CRISIS” is also a dysfunction of some kind in a relationship [see definition 3]. Something or someone gets in the way of how you determine things “ought” to be. Something in the relationship does not feel right. You then have a choice of what to do or say next. The tension you feel heightens your awareness of the dysfunction at that moment. When you ignore the dysfunction, or you or the other person thinks that saying nothing will “fix the situation” or the “dysfunction/situation will simply resolve itself and go away,” It won’t. 

Dysfunction may be expected, but it should not become crippling in a decision or relationship. If the dysfunction/crisis becomes detrimental to your health, it is time to exit and get into a healthy stay of being and mind.

Healthy honesty will not hurt you.

My name is Janice Bastani. My business is Janice Bastani Coaching. In 2023 I am accepting new clients, and I have limited availability. If you are interested in becoming a client in 2023, please email me at: janice@janicebastanicoaching.com