It’s hard to make sound decisions during controlled chaos. Here are eight strategies to keep you on track during life – and career – crisis management.
Our brain operates differently during crisis management and those times of controlled chaos. Those chemical changes in the brain can both help and deter making sound decisions during these traumatic times.
As history – and the greatest lessons learned in life – have told us is that decisions fueled by fear, anger or ‘no-choice’ reaction often cause more harm in the long-run. They do provide quick relief at that moment – preventing you from happiness ahead of that moment.
I’ll walk you through how I helped a group of leaders through their controlled chaos. I’ll share how they made some very sound decisions during their crisis management by using eight strategies.
It all started with a letter.
Background – The Building of Controlled Chaos
In May 2014, I was hurriedly preparing to leave for Israel. I was working with three client leaders who were about to make some tough decisions.
Although I always seem to become personally invested in our client partners, these individuals were just so very much in my heart over the years.
My concern was them approaching these critical decisions with the wrong ‘fuel’ which would end up costing them – more in their emotional capital than anything.
I quickly put an exercise together with the letter below in the hopes of helping them regroup to build sustainable success and get happy. As I could not be there in person, I had it hand delivered while they were in the same location.
The letter represents not only the fundamental principles I live by but also the core of how Intelivate operates.
With their enthusiastic permission, I share the letter I wrote to them is below. My hope is that if you are in the middle of controlled chaos and trying to develop your crisis management plan, that you will be able to pull something – anything from this experience.
Making sound decisions during these times is both critical and incredibly difficult.
The Letter to Leaders
Dear (names left out),
When mistakenly perceived broken clouds combine with the right wind support, a perfect storm of brilliance forms.
In high school, I hated history.
Early, in my freshman year (around September of 1987…whoops I meant 1997) and in my still-then southern accent (I had just moved to Illinois that August from the deep South), I asked this question to my World History professor, Dr. Keizer:
Isn’t the point of learning history to figure out what to repeat and what not to repeat? Why does memorizing the people and dates matter?
I do not remember her exact words, but I do remember her message:
Yes, but it all depends on what life presents to you along the way and how to apply the lessons. Now shut up and focus on memorizing the f*&$ing dates and people.
My disdain for history classes continued, I still barely remember the date I was born, and I still hate memorizing useless crap.
However, her message remains very clear to me, and it is brilliant. It is the basis of the greatest lessons in life I have learned to get happy – and stay that way – especially during the tough times.
Wars largely define history. Battles define wars.
Although countries and cultures begin wars, they only end by the successful efforts of those individuals that neither started nor wanted a war – but passionately fought the battles.
To most people, the terms ‘war’ and ‘battle’ have such a negative connotation. Although it is easy to think of these as negative, it is very simple to think of them as positive.
Easy is different than simple.
Understanding the operational differences in these two defined synonyms has allowed me to prioritize my battles over the years.
Although one of the great lessons learned in life was not easy, it was simple.
8. Understand the Differences Between ‘Easy’ & ‘Simple’
Easy is lazy. I remain dumb around anything I strive to make easy. Anything that isn’t impactful is never simple, but it quickly becomes easy.
I am required to learn nothing about everything that I want to be easy. Easy requires no growth of me as a person.
None. One of the great lessons learned in life is that is alright – it is fantastic.
Simple is hard.
I become brilliant in anything I strive to make simple.
Anything impactful and worth doing is never easy, but it eventually becomes simple.
It evolves into instinct. I eventually don’t even know I am doing it.
I am required to learn everything about anything I want to become simple.
Read the sentence above several times. It is one of those lessons I learned in life that feeds into happiness and success. It cuts the clutter.
Simple is the only thing that has grown me as a person.
An individual’s life-long evolution is extremely complicated but is brilliantly reflected by simplicity.
Think about it.
In your individual way, you are simply brilliant. You do things daily seen as impossible to others, but they are simple to you.
To others, it appears to be easy for you, but you know now it is synonymously opposite – it is simple.
You are where you are today – personally and professionally – because you had to fight battles.
So you have won more than you have lost – or you would not be here.
Battles should never be easy. They should be simple.
7. Question Your Fuel, Not Your Purpose.
Answer the ‘why.’ YOUR ‘why.’
If I look back on the most notable ‘battles’ in both the world and my life, the variant for sustainable success is simple – fuel of purpose.
Those ‘battles’ that are fueled by a purpose of fear (or to create fear), revenge, anger, resentment, hate or are pure in self always end but are never completed; resulting in chaos, division (even if within self) and despairingly cause the question of
Those ‘battles’ fueled by a purpose of passion, love, and a goal broader, higher and greater than the self, never end but are always completed; resulting in peace, unity (even if within self) and fundamentally ANSWER the question of
The great battles are chosen very carefully, albeit most unconsciously.
A conscious purpose fueled the great battles. The fuel was passion and love.
Tons of it.
ALWAYS question your fuel and NEVER question your purpose. Your purpose has always been the same – it has never changed and should never change.
The variant for sustainable success is always the fuel.
The right fuel will bring you sustainable success and more importantly it will bring you lasting happiness.
Battles with the right fuel build happiness.
6. Define & Focus on Your ‘Happy.'”
Happiness brings success.
Professionally, I want each of you to be successful. Personally, I want each of you to be happy.
It is the chicken or the egg debate, but the answer is a resounding “YES!”:
Sustainable success only happens through happiness. It’s impossible to begin happiness through success.
Happiness builds through love and passion.
It has to start with the love of yourself and extends to the love of each other and sustains through nurturing. However, it starts with you.
My favorite shining memories of you as a team were when you did something that came from love – love of your team, love for your purpose and passion for what you were doing.
Your most successful battles won to date were fueled by love. Never lose that.
The proper fuel is simple. It is love and love is never easy.
5. Always Forgive. Never Forget.
Don’t repeat the bad.
Forgive history, but don’t forget it. Forgiveness is completely separate from forgetting. Forgiving and forgetting must always remain independent.
Forgiveness allows you to move forward, but forgetting will keep you in a cycle of now and never enable you to evolve.
Neither is easy, but both should be simple.
If sustainable success starts with happiness and builds through love and passion, then it is evident it starts with your heart.
The pieces of your heart you give are timeless gifts. Choose the receipts carefully. You only have so much to give.
Forgiveness allows your heart to repair. Never forgetting keeps you from making bad investments in the future. Both give you sustainable happiness, which leads to sustainable success.
When you think about it – this is the real reincarnation of yourself into everyone and everything which receives your love and passion.
It is simply brilliant. It is you.
4. Battle for Purpose – Not to Win the War
Battle to achieve your collective goal – not to win the war. That is key in everything we take on.
In reality, individuals define history – not wars – because wars are nothing without the battle.
You are responsible for the fights, so you are responsible for determining history.
History is nothing more than our universe.
War is life.
Battles are all the people whose specific purpose bridges back to life and collectively defines our universe.
3. Always Be Thankful.
This is INCREDIBLY hard during chaos.
I am such a very blessed individual. Dr. Keizer taught me that in World History.
I could reflect on a lot of my history with self-pity, regret, and resentment but instead, I reflect on all of that history very fondly. It is the hard battles that I have fought that define my history and ultimately my universe.
I love my universe. The battles connect me to life which is why I feel so much love for each and every single battle.
Hell, knowing only part of each of your individual stories, the fact that you get out of bed every day is amazing.
You do not even think about it – it is whom you have evolved to be. It is very simple to you now, but it is never easy.
Embrace Your Battles
On a level – and you know this – you are very thankful for all the ‘bad’ things and history.
You are brilliant because you are full of absolute pure love. You are who you are today because of it.
Because of your battles, you are blessed.
Don’t try to forget them. Embrace your battles.
They are a part of your history.
They give you the strength and amazing heart you have today.
Love fueled your battles, and each one made you brilliant.
2. Protect & Fuel One Another.
Investments must be replenished.
The right investment means there is a constant refueling of that love.
A sound investment means that the love I have given not only surrounds me at all times – it ignites a brilliant passion when all the people and things I love share that love with each other.
It is a passion so bright and so hot that it can sometimes be overwhelming.
I am never in fear of this overwhelming love, although I sometimes have to soothe the fears of those around me since that passion can be rather overwhelming to others. It is something I am still working on today.
You all sit together in a room at this moment.
At times, you have been very fearful.
At times, you have felt much anger. That is ordinary, but you are extraordinary. Truly remarkable.
Talk about your history. Forgive it but never forget it. Formulate your battles around your collective purpose and make sure you use the right fuel. Help each other with that daily.
Always question the fuel. Make sure the fuel comes from your love and your collective passion of purpose.
1. Become Timeless.
The amount of love that you have as individuals is simply extraordinary. Now is the time for you to consciously and strategically combine that love collectively to become a blinding and hot passion.
It is going to make you brilliant as a team and extraordinarily happy as individuals.
It is what you have been working towards.
It is what you have been waiting for.
It is what you deserve. You deserve happiness.
You will earn the sustainable success that comes with happiness. Eventually, it will become simple,if you allow it. I promise.
The love that you collectively build will be timeless. It will be a constant reincarnation of you. It will together define the battles, your history and ultimately your universe.
It starts with you. It starts with your love.
Once you build it, it will spread effortlessly to your teams.
Why? Happiness inspires.
Because from your mutual love and passion, it means you will inspire.
It will be sustainable.
Remember, living your life to be happy is monumentally different from living your life in fear of not being happy.
Do the right thing – not what is right now.
Operate each minute with your legacy in mind.
Most of all, be happy.
With lots of love,