When everything goes wrong, what do you do? We’ve all had moments where the metaphorical rug has been pulled from beneath our feet. Moments where it seems like all hope has been lost.
Most people don’t have a plan. So when everything goes wrong, they panic. And then they either do nothing, or pick some random, emotionally-driven action and hope it pays off. The problem is, those random actions rarely (if ever) pay off. Without some simple pre-planning, it is almost impossible to keep your composure and act appropriately when you need to course correct.
Here’s the easier way: Follow the process outlined in this article. And remember, when crisis strikes: You have a second. You really do. Take a moment and follow the process.
Step 1: Zoom Out
This is one of the ONLY times we advocate disconnection and disassociation. Instead of getting more absorbed into the problem, get less. Zoom out. Become more disconnected. View the entire situation as if you were watching from a 3rd person perspective. And then take a moment to think:
“Is there even a problem here, or are there just a lot of big emotions that I need to be with?”
“What advice would I give this person?” (Remember, you are thinking in 3rd person, so “this person” would actually be you)
Take a second to really think about your answers and come to an honest, truthful conclusion. The real answer may surprise you, and you may want to resist it because it doesn’t fall into your current worldview. Instead of you trying to inform the world of how it “should be”, let the world inform you. Trust the answer you have come to.
If you find this difficult, practice 'being with it'.
Step 2: Reset
Resetting means taking care of yourself, and resetting your nervous system so it isn’t stressed and in Defense Mode. This doesn’t need to take long. Just slow your breathing to a nice relaxed pace, and regulate it. 4 count in, 4 count hold, 4 count out, 4 count hold. Repeat.
After 30 seconds or so, your steady breathing will cause your nervous system to reset, which will cause a cascade of biochemical reactions that will allow you to think clearly.
Step 3: Troubleshoot
Now it’s time to get to work! Start the troubleshooting process (found here) and begin to diagnose the root of the issue. Notice that we still haven’t taken action yet. That’s because the wrong action will just make the problem worse, not better. Again, remember: you have time. Use it.
Step 4: Research
If you have the time, research the problem. Use the all-mighty google. Talk to friends and family. Ask the members of our AE+ support group. Get a second opinion. And a third. And a 4th. Make sure you understand the issue fully, and see lots of different perspectives. Trust your gut. And then do more research. A pattern WILL begin to emerge.
Step 5: Act
Notice the difference here? Most people skip straight to this step, but if you follow the entire process, not only will you know exactly what to do, you’ll be armed and ready to take on whatever challenges face you as you act.
Use this course correction process to ensure that when you do need to change course, you’ll know where to go and what to do.