On March 23rd 2020, the World Health Organization reported 332,930 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 14,510 deaths globally. As the pandemic case count continues to grow exponentially, life as we know it has come to a sudden halt.
In the past week, I’ve heard from so many friends and colleagues who are facing significant risks or dealing with massive financial setbacks. It’s heartbreaking to see the impact on so many families, especially those that have lost loved ones.
Under such circumstances, even the best laid plans can fall apart. Whether you are a corporate professional worried about the impact on your job, or a business owner dealing with a cash flow crisis, adapting to change quickly is the only way forward.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, here are 5 steps you can take to navigate risk and uncertainty:
1. Change Your State
It’s hard to be creative and resourceful in solving problems when you’re in a poor emotional state. The fastest way to change your emotions is to get physical. Avoid being sedentary even though you need to stay at home. Find ways to increase your physical activity whether it’s exercising, dancing or simply walking around the house. And remember to breathe!
2. Shift Your Focus
Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your focus to what you can. Assess the situation objectively as it actually is, and not worse than it is. Define the problem in solvable terms or make a big problem smaller. Then, take inventory of the resources, skills and capabilities available to solve the problems. Finally, consider the upside of the current situation and be grateful for what’s going well.
3. Mind Your Language
Be aware of disempowering thoughts and words. If you say you can’t, then you won’t. Trust that you will find a way no matter what challenges you face. Even in the midst of a crisis, there is opportunity, if you are open to new possibilities. Replace limiting beliefs (Why can’t I…?) with empowering questions (“How can I…?”) that help you unlock new ideas and solutions.
4. Explore Your Options
Lay out a range of scenarios so you can anticipate the best case and worst case. Reflect on how you made it through difficult situations in the past, and tap into the same creativity and optimism. Explore and document all ideas and solutions for each scenario. Map your strategy so you have a game plan no matter which scenario occurs. You’ll be in a better position to respond quickly, if you are ahead of change.
5. Tap Your Tribe
Your community is a source of support and inspiration to get you through difficult times. When faced with challenges, be open and vulnerable in sharing your challenges. Most people are eager to help, so all you have to do is ask. By tapping into the collective intelligence and resources of your tribe, you can overcome any obstacle in your path, and then be in a position to pay it forward.
Take Action Now
Indecision and inaction breeds more fear and anxiety. To break the downward cycle, craft a 30-day action plan that helps you generate momentum. Identify categories that require attention and action, and determine what steps you need to take. Then prioritize the steps to identify the most important things to do. Finally, choose ONE single step and take action immediately. And remember, no matter what, you are not alone!
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise”
– Oscar Wilde