3 Ways to Act during this Crisis, or in any Stressful Environment


We are all in the midst of a crisis we’ve never experienced before. Today’s environment is not a result of something you said or did. Today’s crisis was brought upon us by a pandemic few could’ve imagined. As with any stressful situation, you are likely in a fight or flight mode and the stress hormone cortisol is flooding your brain and body.  When this happens, you get tunnel vision, you can’t think clearly, your creativity and ability to solve problems decreases and you aren’t as good at working with others. Awareness and understanding of what’s happening, allows you to take control of how you respond to those around you – the ripples you create. Below, I outline three ways you can act during this crisis – regardless of the environment and your situation.

Many of us are anxious, uncertain and possibly a bit agitated at the current “normal” in our places of work and in our homes – which for many is the same physical space. Maybe you haven’t worked remotely before, maybe helping your kids with distance learning isn’t your forte, and just maybe, you’re in an essential role and have to be at work.

STAYING CALM is one of the best actions you can take when feeling anxious, uncertain and restless during these stormy days. Some find it easier than others to remain calm on a normally stressful day, as well as during a crisis. Regardless, the current situation requires many of us to take a few deep breaths and remember how to stay calm.  For generations, leaders and many parents have advised us to “step back, take a deep breath and relax” during stressful times – because it works. If you don’t currently practice calming techniques, now would be a great time to start.  Begin with simple breathing exercises and build from there. If you have experience with mindfulness, yoga or meditation, now is the time to lean-in to your practice. 

During crises or times of stress, you may feel helpless, powerless or like your hands are tied behind your back. Public officials and other authorities are providing necessary guidelines and restrictions that are critical for your health and wellbeing but may be challenging to your normal business or practices at home. While following these guidelines and restrictions, this is not a time to show weakness, but instead, show control.

TAKE CONTROL over the situation even in unusual times. Whether it’s decision making for your company, your team or your family, now is the time to lead. Many around you may also be scared and feeling helpless or even weak due to their circumstances. You must first, STAY CALM in order to TAKE CONTROL. Taking control requires gathering information, being collaborative and showing empathy which are extremely more difficult when in fight or flight mode. Great dialogue with others involved will allow you to have what you need to TAKE CONTROL and move forward with others beside you.

Trying times often leave you feeling like you are not able to make decisions, are out of options or don’t have a choice of how to lead your company, your teams or even your family. During this pandemic, many choices have been taken away – maybe just temporarily. Regardless, you still have responsibilities to deliver so with each choice removed, you must make a different choice of how to move forward.

EXPLORE CHOICES – Start with the choices that have been removed and explore what options you have to do things differently. Challenge the status quo and look for new ways to accomplish what can no longer be done the same as before. Take this opportunity to innovate and find more efficient ways to operate that you can continue once this crisis is over. When you are exploring your choices, remember to STAY CALM and TAKE CONTROL.  By using the techniques outlined above, you are certain to open up a world of choices to explore.

Don’t allow crisis and stressful environment to impact the way you act, respond or lead. By creating awareness and mitigation strategies, you can STAY CALM, TAKE CONTROL and EXPLORE CHOICES to lead yourself, your company, your team and your family through the most turbulent times.


As The Impactful Engagement Architect, I can work with you to gain deep self-awareness of your leadership behaviors, architect a plan to solve your specific leadership challenge or help you build a cohesive leadership team. I would love for you to be highly effective during this crisis and other stressful situations in the future. I can help you know when, where and how to use your ripples so you can create a productive environment by STAYING CALM, TAKING CONTROL and EXPLORING CHOICES with those who matter the most.

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What was your biggest takeaway from this post?  I’m genuinely curious and will reply to every comment below, as always.

Finally, as you were reading this you may have thought of a boss, colleague or someone in your network that would find it useful, please share it with them – I would really appreciate it.