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Crisis Management 101

IMG_2269A few nights ago I was watching a Joel Osteen sermon online where he talked about facing life’s challenges. In his message, he talked about how what we focus on, magnifies. He suggests that when you face a challenge, it serves you better to focus on the good in your life and the good coming in your future. And when focusing on problems, it could possibly block the good (or solutions) that could come because your attention is in the wrong place.

While many could argue that his message isn’t anything new, it made me think about how spirituality frequently intersects with the research of science.

Many times before, I’ve shared with you the research on the impact that your thoughts have on your well-being. Our thoughts influence the way we feel (emotions) and the way we behave (actions). Chronic stress, depression, and anxiety have also been linked with debilitating medical illnesses. While we may know consciously that it does more harm than good to stay in a rut and feel bad about our current situation, sometimes it’s just too hard and maybe even feels impossible to be positive about life.

As a counselor, I know there is merit when you can experience your emotions fully. It is very important to acknowledge and witness our difficult emotions like disappointment, sadness, anger, and anxiety. Having an emotional container to allow feelings to wash in and out is an important characteristic of emotional well-being. But what are we supposed to do when the feelings become too much and there is no hope?

For me, Joel Osteen’s message was a reminder of how important it is to have hope during challenging times. While Joel mentioned the importance of knowing God’s promises for your life which provide hope, you don’t have to be religious to have hope and optimism about your future.

Coincidently (or not), I came across this blog post by Seth Godin yesterday. He states that you should make two lists – one list of all the wonderful things in your life. Everything good about yourself and your situations, encouragements, achievements, all of your best stuff. On the other list contains all the crappy stuff… all the stuff working against you, obstacles, and challenges that you have faced or are currently facing. When facing a crisis, you can only pull out ONE list and which list you pull out influences how you proceed.

We ALL face challenges and obstacles. Facing those challenges may seem like it’s the end of your dream or maybe even the end of yourself! But there is always a fork in the road after the crisis, where you choose to make the crisis the end of the road, a setback, or a SET UP for your future success.

Over the years, I have created an informal crisis management plan. After an allowance of wallowing, my inner Olivia Pope springs on the job to turn the situation around. My protocol consists of self-care practices including good food, Epsom salt baths, cry sessions with Boo, puppy/kitten YouTube videos, journaling, affirmations, and my go-to healing books. If I follow this protocol, focusing on the hope and promise for my future becomes a lot easier.

My challenge for you is to develop your own inner Olivia Pope Protocol (OPP!) for when you face a crisis. If you can get into the habit of following it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. that life hands you lemons, you will find you need less and less rebound time from life’s little plot twists.

I leave you with one of my hard core beliefs about the human experience… Challenges are not meant to kill, silence, or deter you from living your dream. Their purpose is to help arm, equip, and educate you about how to fulfill your Great Destiny. Take a break at the nearest rest stop if you need to, but never quit, you have a great purpose to fulfill.

To your amazing and hopeful future,


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