Consider life has always been uncertain, in constant transition, and constantly changing.
However, with the global pandemic, stock market crash, closed schools, banned travel, and cities or countries going into lock down mode with physical distancing, life's uncertainty is now in your face. It's difficult to go anywhere, do anything, or talk with someone without touching on this topic of how you're faring in these uncertain times.
Institutions and systems from which humans have operated are no longer relevant as old models are breaking down and new models are already in motion to set the new norm for the next decade.
Yet, now more than ever, is the perfect time to rise up and start to examine within yourself of what matters.
Here are 3 steps to transform crisis into opportunity.
1. Assess How You are Dealing with Fear
There are four ways human beings typically face fear. None of them are better or worse, just different variations of response. Typically we can relate to more than one response.
In the last two weeks, which of the following responses did you experience?
Fight: People who fight might be fighting reality by denying there's any problem, talking about how people are freaking out unnecessarily, and maybe even making it known that this is all temporary. You might fight the facts by turning off the news, or not bothering to research the numbers and data, and just call all of it fear mongering without preparing for the long term future.
The other way to fight is literally on the ground, providing relief and aid to hospitals, school lunches, doing food drop offs and more. You are exhausted by the end of the day but keep fighting through it, living in the short term telling yourself, I'll make it. I can survive this.
Flight: You take all the news to heart, paying heed, and reacting to the situation by running away, overstocking on supplies or masks just in case, with your attention mostly on you and your family needs, feeling panic, and maybe even getting sick from the stress. You prepare and are upset with anyone who doesn't prepare the way you have.
When you talk with others, you might even spread the fear emotionally. But you can't help it, you're in panic mode.
Freeze: You are stunned by what's happening and continue to watch and observe taking no new action. You simply wait it out trying to survive the situation. You suffer silently and are not in communication. You don't seek answers, new actions, and simply watch everything around you. This too shall pass, expecting things to go their normal way hopefully in a few weeks.
Flow: You feel afraid and face it by realizing the magnitude of impact of what's happening and immediately start preparing life for the short and long term. Yes, you're human and still have emotions to manage from others around you and within, and you keep allowing fear to be without trying to deny, fix, or indulge in it. Your are clear this is the opportunity of a lifetime to leverage as a leader who will stay calm in the eye of the storm and take actions now for both the short and long term.
Now, honestly assess yourself in the last two weeks.
Did you fight, flight, freeze, or flow? Perhaps a mixture of all of them or some of them.
Ask yourself is that the response you want? Be sure to acknowledge and have compassion for yourself and your response. This will help bring your consciousness or self-awareness up a notch.
If not, what kind of response do you want and what are new actions you can take to align with that response?
2. Take new action.
While no one has a crystal ball, the data from World Health Organization is pointing to that this new normal will last for another 4 months optimistically if not 18 months to 2 years realistically. Don't bury your head in the sand.
Some possible actions as a business owner or entrepreneur might include:
3. Embody certainty through magnifying your presence offline first, then online.
People follow confidence and flow towards certainty. Now is your time to shine.
Yes, you'll need to quickly determine what you are now offering, package, price, and market those offerings.
More importantly, you'll need to create your daily practices to stay grounded and embody the confidence of your new direction. By focusing first on your day to day energy management and double downing on your own well-being, this will be the natural fuel for you to shine from the inside out to develop strength and courage for reframing your business to then sell online.
Here are a few ways to ground yourself day to day while physical distancing:
Now is Your Time
If you picture fear and uncertainty like a huge tsunami wave, instead of fighting, running away, or freezing--what if you could surf the wave? What would that look like? What would be required of you to become to ride the wave?
This requires FACING the fear and utilizing that energy to flow above the noise and ultimately turn this time into the biggest opportunity where you look back and think, "Wow, that was worth my time." Inquiring into and meditating on that question is a healthy way to channel all the energy arising from uncertainty, that can unlock your brain's creative potential.
You have a choice. Crisis is merely accelerating the next 6 weeks as a hyper window of opportunity. What might normally take years to dismantle as far as old institutional models are suddenly broken overnight as new models for business, schools, home life are now emerging creating the next billion dollar industries of our time.
While you cannot control your environment or what's outside of you, you can focus on creating certainty in yourself through facing your fear, choosing to flow, taking new actions, and embodiment by being present and grounded.
This will create resiliency and trust in yourself to adapt to a life that was always uncertain and unknown. Every time you make that choice, you become the leader this world needs now more than ever. What makes this crisis an opportunity is how many chances you get to keep choosing to face the fear collectively and within--and instead, embody your values in co-creating a new future and a new decade on our planet earth.
Anna Sun Choi