How are you all feeling? Are you a bit anxious or confused? Are you maybe feeling like your life is falling apart? Are you on the brink of a panic attack or emotional breakdown?
This has been a crazy time for all of us. Many of us have been told to shelter in place, and those of us who haven’t are doing so voluntarily to help stymie the Coronavirus pandemic. That means that we might be stir-crazy, laid off, uncertain about the future, short on necessary supplies, or all of the above. Some of you reading this may have even experienced the symptoms of this menacing sickness.
In short, what I’m describing is a crisis. Yes, it’s a global crisis—but it’s also quite personal.
The fact is that crises happen in life . . . but that doesn’t mean that everything has to fall apart.
If you want to make it through this difficult time with your sanity intact, then it will be imperative to maintain your confidence. But how do you do that?
Step One – Contain the Freak-out
What has been the single most useful tactic in squelching this pandemic thus far? Containment. Across the globe, governments that are wise are doing their best to contain this virus through social distancing and quarantine measures.
It’s the exact same process with your fear.
If you want to maintain your confidence for the foreseeable future, you’re going to have to contain your own personal freak-out.
Think of it this way: the moment a crisis hits, it’s as though a mental button is being pushed . . . and that button is telling us that our whole world might fall apart—it might even be telling us that we could die.
This automatic nervous system response spikes our anxiety and causes us to imagine the worst possible outcomes for just about every imaginable situation:
- Someone I love is going to die!
- My business is going to fall apart!
- I’m going to run out of money and food!
Every single one of those assertions leads only to a fear of death, ruin, pain, and loss in our minds. This, in turn, causes more anxiety, which makes our minds race faster, and the cycle continues on and on. The freak-out is completely uncontained, and we become contaminated with overwhelming anxiety.
So, how do we contain that fear?
Well, for a fantastic resource on exercises/techniques for calming and eradicating fear, I suggest you search through my channel to find various blog posts and videos on this topic. If you want something more immediate, however, there is one thing you can do right now, even as you read this post: focus on your breathing.
For many people dealing with anxiety issues, breathing is the most powerful tool available.
Breathing disrupts your pre-existing pattern of thought, refocuses your mind, and resets your nervous system in a quantifiable way.
For those who want a structured and detailed method to follow, try researching Wim Hof breathing techniques, guided mindfulness/breathing meditations, and “box breathing.”
If that isn’t working for you, try to consider the fact that you CAN handle this situation—your circumstances will not destroy you simply by existing. When a new “What if” pops up, simply shrug it off without a second thought and tell yourself, “I can handle whatever happens.”
Step Two – Decide the Next Right Thing
Now, I’m not going to lie: I got the phrase “next right thing” from the movie Frozen II. Yes, I’ve been forced to watch it about 400 times with my kids, but that one song really stuck with me because the idea is not only practical—it’s calming.
Think about it like this: when we’re in a crisis, we tend to mentally spin out of control (e.g.: the fear/anxiety cycle described earlier). We let our minds go down a list of things that can go wrong, one after the other, each disaster depending on the one that preceded it. But when you only have to concern yourself with the very next thing on your plate, then all those other scenarios go out the window.
You can’t be worried about failing at Step #347 when all you’re focused on is solving Step #1.
So, you start to think about the list of seemingly insurmountable tasks and challenges before you—STOP. Instead, simply ask yourself what you can do RIGHT NOW. What is the very next step? And what is the right action to take?
What is the next right thing?
In addition, this would be a good time to slow down your thought process by verbalizing it out loud and using slow calm words. This is also a great technique to help us contain freak-out mode a bit. Simply repeat the question that is nagging you in your mind VERY slowly over and over again until your mind settles and you can actually focus enough to come up with an answer.
Step Three – Take Action
Once you’ve contained your fear and decided on the next right move to make, you can’t just sit around and wait for things to fall into place on their own—you must act.
This isn’t the time for procrastination—your situation will only continue to feel more hopeless if you refuse to let yourself become triumphant.
Maybe you need to connect with a mentor; maybe you need to make a pivot in your career; maybe you need to rethink your business strategy; maybe you need to cancel an event. Whatever your “next right thing” is, you need to do it without hesitation, starting now!
Step Four – Get Feedback and Course Correct
So, you’ve gone all the way through Step Three and you’ve taken bold action to move past a harrowing challenge . . . but it didn’t go exactly as planned.
No matter what happens in life, not only can we handle it, but we can often tweak our actions just a bit to get exactly the results we want.
Let’s take an example from real life:
Recently, I was going into the final stages of planning my Supremely Confident Conversation Master course, which was an in-person event that I’ve been advertising and looking forward to for months. Unfortunately, it was scheduled for April 17th-19th, and it required travel and close contact with others—so, obviously, there was no way we could responsibly go through with the live event.
I was devastated! I even began to freak out. But then I reminded myself to contain that fear and work through the problem: What was the next right thing?
Well, the right thing to do is to help people and to continue to contribute to my community! So, instead of canceling altogether, we decided that the next right thing was to turn Supremely Confident Conversation Master into an extremely powerful live event. Then we took action: we changed all of the online event information, and informed all registered participants about the change in format.
At that point, however, we still had a bit of problems to solve: what platform do we use? How do we organize the seminar? How do we make it even more powerful than a live event? This involves problem solving, applying feedback constructively, and course correcting for the ultimate solution.
Ultimately, we came up with a plan that allows us to keep pushing ourselves and our participants to our greatest achievement level while also boosting growth and taking our confidence game to the next level.
No matter what your crisis is, you have the ability to work through it and come out even stronger on the other side.
Use these four steps to help you maintain your calmness and confidence: contain the freak-out; decide the next right thing; take action; and get feedback/course correct. You can choose to freak out and let the anxiety overwhelm you if you like . . . but how is that helping you?
Fact: it is not serving you to flood your nervous system with stress hormones.
Not only does that agitated frame of mind produce poor decision making, but it also negatively affects the health of your body and your personal relationships. Wouldn’t you rather keep a level head and use this time to your advantage? This is possible for you, and I’m here to help you make it happen!
Please leave your thoughts, concerns, and questions in the comments below. What problems are nagging you right now?
How has calming your mind helped you? What actions are you taking? We can continue to share with one another and inspire each other through this tough time, so let’s all get involved and connect as often as possible!
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.