Probably, somewhere in your career, you've already been in a situation where there is so much happening and so much chaos that you don't have any idea anymore on how to get through it. You're actually being lived by everything around you and it seems as if you can't get grip on anything anymore. Then what do you do?
If you've not yet been in such a situation, then be happy but also be prepared, because chances are very high that it will happen someday.
Perhaps you've been in such a situation, but getting out of the situation was as surprising as tumbling into it.
In both cases it's interesting to read on, and discover how you can manage the unmanageable.
Such scenarios where things are suddenly completely out of your control, where things start to happen and pile up like an avalanche, can have both a positive and negative background. Unfortunately in such situations you don't feel the difference anymore between good or bad things happening. In your perception there is no difference between things running out of hand because of for example a certain product, service or company that went viral and things running out of hand because of for example you being accused of things you didn't do. It's running out of hand, that's the only thing you see and experience. It's like an uncontrollable chain reaction, and you are completely in the middle of it.
Now there's only one important question here: how to survive?
I once had a lecture of Steven Martens very shortly after he resigned as CEO of the Belgian Red Devils because he was accused of financial fraud. It doesn't matter whether the accusation was right or wrong, the fact is that he was suddenly in an uncontrollable media storm.
The biggest lesson he shared about how to weather such a storm was: "don't try to fight it!
Once you realise you're in such a storm, the situation already lives a live of it's own and you can only undergo it. Trying to fight it will only exhaust you, and because it is uncontrollable, you will lose anyhow in the end.
This brings me to 3 specific points you should keep in mind to manage the unmanageable:
- Don't fight it, don't resist, just go with the flow.
It's unmanageable, so let it be unmanageable. Surrender yourself fully to the situation, and just move along with the current of the waves.
- Focus on those small things that you still can do.
Even in an unmanageable situation there are things that you still can do: those small steps that you immediately can take up and those items that are right in front of your feet.
- Keep taking care of yourself and stay very close to yourself, to what is really important for you. Eventually the storm will pass (...someday...).
The primary reaction of every living organism, and the basis of every first aid course: make sure that you are safe first! Only then you will be able to help others, or able to focus on finding a way out.
So if you are sucked into a very chaotic, overwhelming situation, look at it as if you are a drowning man that is thrown out of a ship during a heavy storm. Then you will have to keep yourself safe, do those small things that could eventually lead to your rescue, and especially don't fight the power of the waves because it will exhaust you.
A step you can always take if things are getting rough, is to start talking about your situation with someone. If you want to use me as your sparring partner, then feel free to reach out to me. I help ambitious leaders who want to reach more in an easier way. I do so by offering in-depth one-on-one coaching, focussed around the "How?" question: How to reach my goals? How to overcome this situation? How to get where I want to go?
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