Our world has been rocked; our sense of security has been altered, and for some… we’re experiencing tremendous loss.
Although this is my first experience with a global pandemic of this magnitude, it is the 4th major economic disruption I’ve endured as a serial entrepreneur. I also lived through a Category 5 Hurricane (Andrew-South Florida), and multiple tornadic events over the last two decades in Texas.
What I’ve observed is that each crisis followed a similar pattern… three phases: Stabilize, Organize and Recover.
Once a crisis hits (i.e.tornado, car crash, or global pandemic), those affected are rocked to their core, in what feels like an incredibly disorienting blast. Depending on the magnitude of the catastrophe, we stay in this dizzying state for days and sometimes weeks (as we all experienced in the first few weeks of COVID-19.)
I can recall this same sensation when I was in a horrific car crash as a teenager. I was knocked unconscious and woke up to neighbors trying to determine if I was alive.
After the event, we slowly come to our senses, and enter Phase 1: Stabilize.
The human psyche has an amazing ability to find stasis. After the initial shock wears off, the brain takes over and goes through a series of check points in the Stabilize phase: Triage, Assess and Learn.
This first phase ensures we assess the situation and determine what to do next. Depending on the magnitude of the crisis, this first phase can take weeks. Dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, we’re (thankfully) nearing the end of this first phase.
Once stabilized, we enter Phase 2 where we begin to Organize by focusing our efforts and planning the best course of action.
For example, most families have adjusted to the combination of home-schooling, work-at-home, and the limitations placed on us by social distancing. Most businesses have determined a course of action, which can be anything from shutting down and starting over, or implementing a recovery plan.
Once we Organize, a large portion of us will move to Phase 3, which is Recover.
In this phase, we integrate the benefits of the changes we’ve experienced. Even through hardship, those in the Recover mode will look for the good that came from it and savor the insights.
It’s in Phase 3 that we truly evolve our lives.
Phase 3 can also be characterized by the graphic known as The Comfort Zone (below). Although I have not found the originator of this masterpiece, it truly represents what sets apart those who learn to thrive, rather than merely survive.
So, take advantage of Phase 2 – Organize – which many of us are entering now during COVID-19.
Focus actions on moving forward. Keep an eye toward what you can learn, as well as who you can become through the process.
If you do that…you’ll truly grow and THRIVE from this historic event.