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Don't Waste This Crisis!


Written by Adrian Koehler, Leadership Engagement Expert

Welcome to the new world of Covid-19.

This is a total shit-show.

You're most likely unbalanced from the upended routines, feeling powerless to ensure all of your loved ones are safe, and desperate for a stabilizing sense of the future. It may seem there's no way to turn the negative into a positive. 

You don’t know what to do with yourself.

Life as you knew it is now gone.

The whirlwind between your ears and restlessness in your gut will make you want to jump out of your skin.

In this moment, as you read this, whether you're recovering from the coronavirus or healthy in quarantine, you are safe, but that won’t stop you from DISASTERBATING: obsessing about all that can go wrong.

So much of the experience of being a human is well understood by neuroscience. One principle we understand now is that the world IS as we see it. By this I mean, each of us react to the world as it OCCURS to us. Think through your reaction or response to the coronavirus pandemic. Now think of how your friends or family are reacting to it. Is there a difference? Some are reacting out of sound engagement with the news as it comes in. Some are reacting out of fear, gobbling up all the canned goods and toilet paper at the supermarket. Same facts, same pandemic, same risk profile…different reactions. How come? Because the pandemic MEANS something different to them than it does to you.

If this is true, then wouldn't the more empowering option be to own it and respond accordingly?

What I am asking you to consider is that while we are in quarantine...what you decide the pandemic means is wide open. If you can look at it without judgement, there is no good or bad to it. It simply is.

It is a circumstance. You decide right now and a thousand more times a day if it is good news or bad news. I am, as each of us, affected by the circumstance. The effect produced by the circumstance is up to me.

You can merely hold on, fight to recover or to not get sick at all, take care of the essentials, watch 300 hours of news, YouTube, or Netflix. No problem. That’s what most people will be doing, because it is justified. When the circumstances in life are not what we want most of us hunker down, resist new reality, recruit sympathy from other sufferers, and survive until those circumstances change.

When we are in survival mode ("resisting what is”) our oldest parts of our brain are in control.

In this state, internally we may find ourselves marinating in:

  • Self-pity
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Stress

In this state, externally we may find ourselves practicing:

  • Complaining
  • Controlling (manipulative) Behavior
  • Shutting Down
  • Over Indulging (over-drinking, over-eating, over-thinking, etc)

Hear me, this is not a character flaw or a moral issue. No shame here. This is our brain doing what it is wired to do--help protect the spacesuit.

I’m writing to invite you into a new possibility of how to engage this experience.

"A person with a vision can never be held hostage by circumstance." - Dan Tocchini

If you merely survive this crisis you will have wasted it.

This is why I’m inviting you to NOT WASTE THIS CRISIS.

Consider...What is now available for you BECAUSE of this crisis?

  • More time with a significant other
  • More time with your kids (if you have them)
  • More space to consider your future plans
  • Less noise from the day in and day out franticness that most of us practice

Now let’s dive even deeper. What conversations have you used the busyness of life to avoid? Stop and think.

Are there any areas of your life that you have been tolerating?

If you are quarantined with a significant other, what conversations have you been pointing off due to the previous “lack of bandwidth” or the “crazy schedule”?

What is your vision for this relationship? Is there anything standing in your way?

That, right there.

Whatever came up for you. You might have noticed it was something about yourself, some old pattern that keeps showing up, something you don’t like about them, or an outside challenge. Whatever it is for you, I invite you to bring it to the other in conversation.

Most people will use this pandemic to avoid the life that’s right in front of them.

Some, maybe me, maybe you, will step into this moment heroically and come out on the other end clearer, stronger, and more engaged than ever.

This is possible, but only for the brave.

In a future piece I will illuminate a step-by-step template displaying how to bring up and generously engage in a difficult conversation.

I wish for you the very best in this time.

May we be grateful.

May we be honest.

May we be generous.

Vitality for all,


About the Author:

Adrian Koehler is a leadership engagement expert at Take New Ground. He coaches executives and entrepreneurs in the art and science of personal engagement for themselves, their teams and clients in order to create new, unprecedented results and experience fulfillment in their work. In the process of developing his craft he has worked in multiple contexts: Higher Education, Start-ups, Multinational Corporations, Small to Medium-sized Businesses and Healthcare. Over the last decade his passion for human performance has taken him around the globe to partner and serve organizations that are committed to being their best and making a difference in the world.

For more on this topic click navigating relationships during quarantine


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