Action Instead of Reaction: Overcoming Fear

So many of us are scared right now. And, when we’re afraid, we want to blame people. Whether it’s this damn virus or the economic crater it will leave in its wake, it’s human nature to point the finger when the news is bad. In fact, I’ve got a list of people I’m waving my finger at right now. In the moment, it feels good to blame because the pint up frustration can be unleashed on someone else. The high doesn’t last. The problem with blame in the face of fear is that blame is reactive, not proactive. If you’re constantly in reactive mode, you’re letting the crisis control you instead of doing what you can to manage the crisis. So, save the blame game. A crisis requires bold action; bold action that keeps you well and the people you lead well too. Tired of reacting? Read on.

Leaders understand that it’s impossible to address every issue and eventuality when there’s a crisis. Instead, it’s vital to choose a few areas for action and do “those things” with passion and purpose. I, for one, have targeted a few action items that will keep me mentally and physically sharp in the face of this dumpster fire. For starters, I had Amazon deliver a few pieces of exercise equipment last week. With my building’s gym on lockdown until further notice, I recognize that I need to maintain my exercise in my home. Maintaining my work out routine keeps the endorphins flowing and keeps the body poised to deal with illness should the virus knock on the door.

I’m also taking advantage of fresh air and scenery while I still have the opportunity to do so. I’ve convinced my hubby, to use the electric scooter to propel us through the city’s streets until public transportation is viable again (and now just for the essential shopping trip). At times I feel like Will Smith in I am Legend – traversing a city with no one on the streets – but I recognize that the cloistered alternative will negatively impact my mood and productivity. Take a walk, ride a scooter, or at least sit on a balcony or rooftop when you’re able. You’ll thank me later.

Did I mention books, articles, and digital media? Another proactive step in this time of crisis is to double-down on what you know and learn some new things too. While I continue to engage WSJ, HBR and the Times for work-relevant economic and leadership material, I’m also reading and watching pieces on fascinating topics like the history of the New York Subway. Building more neurons in the brain is always a good use of time.

Bottom line, people… You need to be well so you have the drive to keep your people well. While I care for my own body and mind, I’m also checking in with my team to ensure that they are caring for body and mind too. When we get through this – and we will – I want to hit the ground running and want my team to be in a position to do the same.

We’re all scared. Let’s not let the fear control us. This too shall pass. On that day, you’ll be grateful that you parked the blame and focused on some things you could actually control.