A crisis can be overwhelming. Whether it’s a crisis of faith, a family crisis, or a global pandemic that has changed the world forever, crises shape us as people and as leaders. They show us what’s important and what’s not. They force us to perform under intense circumstances that can bring out our best or highlight our worst, depending on how we react. Either way, we can use that knowledge, that learning; to become better leaders.
No matter what happens, we will all be better for just living through this.
The key to becoming better through this, though, is to survive it mentally and physically. We need to stay healthy. We need to stay rested. An exhausted leader is never a great leader, and so far I have found the mental exhaustion and stress to be a far greater enemy than the virus itself.
Make it a priority to take personal time for yourself to reflect on this time and what it means. Sit in the quiet and listen to the inner voice that guides you. It’s impossible to hear it if you’re always moving, always speaking.
Don’t let the stress of this time become an excuse to let go of exercise and eating well. These two activities can help keep you feeling great and on top of your game, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.
Don’t let yourself succumb to the temptations offered by alcohol or other numbing drugs. Over-indulging is the fastest way to make more unhealthy decisions. Current data shows that alcohol and THC sales are up across the board with many people citing the stress of the shutdown as their impetus for increasing their consumption.
Now is the time for you to stay sharp, not the time to numb yourself. There are other ways to distract yourself from the stress of the crisis, which is important to maintaining your mental health. Reconnect with your family and loved ones. Reconnect with your faith and with your God. Reconnect with an old hobby. Connection is what we need right now, not the disconnection that alcohol and other drugs provide.
Return, as needed, to the seven love works principles as these can help guide you to become a better leader in a crisis.
• Be patient. Be patient with yourself as you adjust to these changing times. You are only human and will fail. The key is to get back up and learn from your mistakes.
• Be kind. Be kind to yourself when you fail. We are all experiencing historic amounts of uncertainty and stress and are not expected to be at our best throughout it.
• Be trusting. Trust in yourself, in others, and in God to get you through this time. It will all work out. We will get through this. Trust your team too. Show them you trust them by giving them more, not less responsibility right now.
• Be truthful. Radical truth-telling will help you manage expectations of yourself and others. Brutal honesty will bring clarity and lessen the confusion you and others are experiencing.
• Be forgiving. Forgive yourself your own failures and any sense of shame or guilt that is being felt when you know you are trying your very best. Act as if you are forgiven because you are!
• Be unselfish. God has blessed us with so much and it’s our duty to be unselfish with our gifts and blessings. This can be a simple thank you note, words of encouragement, or financial assistance.
• Be dedicated. We must continue to be dedicated to loving others in this crisis and show that we are the spark of hope to others.