clock March 26, 2020
author Chris Sopa

How to Navigate Change in Times of Crisis

Disneyland is closed. The N.C.A.A. canceled March Madness. Major League Baseball has halted spring training. Ireland cancelled all St. Patrick’s Day parades (WHAT!?).

New York is banning gatherings of more than 500 people, including Broadway shows. The U.S. stock prices are as bad as they were during the 1987 crash.

The corona-virus outbreak has sent pandemonium to all corners of our lives. Even though as humans, we are hardwired to resist uncertainty, the good news is our minds are flexible and can be taught to thrive during change.

During times of change, there are many things you can do, both personally and as an organization, to thrive during change:

  • Focus on what you can control. Make a list of the things that ARE in your control. If you are an organization, make this list with your employees. For example, with the corona-virus, you can control washing your hands, your attitude, where you go, what you watch on the news, what you think. You cannot control the virus, other people, etc.
  • Communicate the “why.” If you are an organization that must implement travel bans and cancel events, communicate why you are doing so. When people know the why, they are more informed and do not have to guess (or gossip!). When people know the why, the what has more impact.
  • Enroll people in the options. Whether it is your family or work group, include people in the conversations and decisions about what needs to change and how the changes should occur. When people are involved, they feel empowered.
  • Be there to listen. When someone is afraid, sometimes they need to talk it out. Having people available to listen to concerns, even if there are no solutions yet, makes all the difference. During times of crisis, who you are being (your intention) is more important than what you are doing. People remember what you do, not what you say.
  • Respond instead of reacting. Fear is the lowest vibration feeling we can have and when it is activated, we tend to react from old, patterned behaviors in our subconscious mind. These behaviors happen without us thinking because they are habits. Pause when you feel fear and are about to react. Think and take a moment to figure out the best way to respond instead.
  • F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. Remember above all else that YOU have control over what you allow in your mind. YOU have control of your thoughts and what you do with them. Eighty five percent of the things you fear and worry about never happen! Pay attention to the stories you are telling yourself and change the ending. 

You are in control of your choices…be an example during these times and exemplify strength, calm, control, and above all compassion. We all react to situations differently. Be there for your family, neighbors and co-workers. Listen, encourage, and know just because we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel does not mean there isn’t one. Let’s all just be human.

By Dr. Chris Sopa, stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. Feature photo from Pixabay.