As a global community we have watched the global disaster that is Covid-19 unfold one country at a time. First there was China, with our trainers and staff experiencing various quarantine measures and empty Chinese restaurants all around us; then came Italy, first with school closures and then school closures a d self quarantine, and now, less than 4 weeks later we have multiple countries in various stages of lock down.
As I write this post today, it sort of feels like a runaway train, before you get a chance to see what stop you want to get off at, it has already sped past. One minute we are laughing at people panic buying toilet paper and the next minute we are facing the very real prospect of not being able to buy eggs or flour. Events are being cancelled at an alarming rate, people are self isolating and EVERYONE is worried.
So, what to do?
As coaches we are faced with a rare opportunity, one that benefits ourselves and the people around us. In amongst the fear and panic, this is actually our time to shine. We need to bring our best selves to this crisis. We need to do what we do best, which is to sift through the outer layer of panic and fear and help people get clarity and take action on the things that are actually important. In other words, we need to respond and not react.
How to RESPOND vs REACT
As we know from the ICA Power Tools, when we are in a place of reacting, we are most often being “triggered” by something rather than working through an issue and formulating a response intelligently and calmly. Here are 6 simple steps to help us move from reaction to response.
Step 1: Acknowledge the Fear
Fear is not something you can ignore. In fact it has a way of silently growing bigger inside you the more you ignore it.It is important to acknowledge the fear and its causes, especially when there is so much of it. In this case the fear is well founded.
The prospect of a failing health system
The stress this virus is placing on the health system is a very real and people have reason to be worried, especially if they are elderly or have a pre-existing medical condition. We have all seen those letters from Doctors being sent around on social media. If the Doctors are worried, why shouldn’t we also be worried? Even if you don’t have Coronavirus, now is not the time for a broken leg, or worse, an asthma attack
The prospect of running out of food
Most of use have never bee through a war, or lived through a famine. We don’t grow our own food or carry our own water. The possibility that we wont be able to get enough food to feed our families is frightening, and the images of empty supermarket shelves being posted on social media just serve to fuel that fear.
Loss of income due to loss of work
Most people are going to be affected in some way by the rapidly falling stock market, with lack of confidence comes lack of spending, so anyone in business has valid concerns. but those in casual or freelancer jobs
These fears are all very real, and need to be acknowledged.
Step 2: Be Informed
The best antidote for fear is information. The problem is that good information is hard to come by in a crisis, and the traditional news sources are not always the best or fastest at getting it out. In fact this crisis has shown that the social networks (twitter, facebook, medium, youtube etc) have been better and faster at helping us make sense of the virus than traditional newspapers and TV broadcasts. here are some ways to make sure you get the right information during the crisis
1. Be Sceptical of Social Media
Due to the way the algorithms work, our social media feeds are generally full of views and opinions that align with our own. In much the same way you see an advertisement for lawnmowers minutes after you searched for “lawnmowers” you also see content that aligns with your existing values and beliefs. You feed is also full of self proclaimed “experts”
2. Do the Research
Go digging for the sort of information you need. Look for reputable sources both in and outside of mainstream media. Look for longer articles that have references, or are written by people who are specialists in their field. Where possible go to the primary source – such as The World Health Organisation or Elsevier’s Coronavirus Information Center or The New England Journal of Medicine
Joe Rogan Podcast: Michael Osterholm (March 10th)
Michael Osterholmis an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology.
Step 3. Develop Your Self Awareness
As coaches we are in the unique position of being “aware of our awareness” In other words, we already know what self awareness is, and how important it is. Now is the time to ramp up our self awareness.
Be your own Emotional Investigator, ask yourself what you are feeling. Ask often and ask deeply. Some of the feelings you will be experiencing will have nothing to do with the Corona virus, it is important to know what those are, to acknowledge them then let them go.
Be aware also of your strengths and weaknesses. How is this crisi bringing out your strengths, how is it activating your weaknesses? Seek to know yourself more fully and more deeply. Who are you in a crisis? is that who you want to be? What do you need to do differently? What support do you need to be the best version of yourself at this time?
If you already meditate, maybe add an extra session per day. If you don’t meditate maybe look for other ways to be more ‘present’ during your day. Maybe keep a journal, or take a walk. Notice yourself as if you are standing outside of yourself. How do you look? How are you acting? Look and notice others around you, take an inventory of your environment
Entrepreneur and Business Coach Tod Herman recently spent 14 days in self isolation. During that time he interviewed 29 CEO’s to unpack their psychology, plans, and current experiences around the Corona Virus. What he found was that they generally fell into 3 groups
The FEAR-FOCUSED CEO’s – this group was the most emotional, most concerned and most overwhelmed.
The UN-FOCUSED CEO’s – this group was the one still uncertain on what to do, playing wait and see, and most dismissive.
The STRATEGY-FOCUSED CEO’s – this group was the most focused on taking what it’s given and using it whilst focussing on growth/opportunity.
The 3rd group – the “strategy Focussed CEO’s” were 9 times more likely to be shifting product/service offerings, they were 4 times more likely to have already made changes to their teams and they used the words ‘action’ or ‘opportunity’ 6 times more than the other groups.
As coaches and as business people, we want to fall into the third group. Start thinking about how you can leverage the knowledge you have to take more of your services online. Is there opportunity for you to help your clients do the same?
5. Take Action
6. Be Calm & Positive
Finally, we all know that we cant change the events that unfold around us, we can only change the way we respond to these events. By staying calm and positive we have a much better chance or responding vs reacting. It is important to remind ourselves of the following
1. We Can Detect the Virus
Scientists already know what this virus is and how to detect it.
2. There is Global Awareness & Willingness to Take Action
Although goverments might be getting criticism for being slow to act, people are not. All over the world people are willingly self- isolating in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
3. The virus can actually be wiped clean