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Crises and survival strategies. Sounds like a perfectly logical combination, right? I guess there’s no need to argue on that. The only question is: is your survival strategy empowering or self-limiting? I’m pretty sure, if you chose without paying attention, you picked the wrong one.

Proven strategies

Why? We all know the drill. When we experience extreme pressure, stress, anxiety or discomfort, we tend to go back to our habitual behaviour. When times get tough, we revisit the proven strategies that made us successful in the first place: for most of us that means working hard, doing things ourselves as much as we can, striving for excellence and perfection (and raising the bar even more), adding lots of value, making a difference, and much more.

Good intentions

The above behaviour serves one goal only: survival. For business owners: to keep the business running. To avoid having to lay off people. Or to avoid being declared redundant yourself if you work as an employee. So we work even harder. Making sure no one can question our drive, our knowledge, our involvement. We do what we do best. We tap into our core qualities and demonstrate them. As much as possible. Survival.

A matter of ‘must’

The conclusion: you must do the best you can. You must demonstrate why you have the right to be here and why you need to remain here right now. Now more than ever, we want to be seen. To be heard. To be asked. To be hired. To be respected. To be recognized. To be needed. To be of value.

The perfect trigger

As logical as the above may sound, in fact what’s happening here is that in this context of survival we all tend to exaggerate demonstrating our best qualities. Everyone that is familiar with Daniel Ofman’s theory, the core quadrant, knows that too much of your quality, no matter how good the intention may be, undeniable leads to one place only: your biggest pitfall. And that’s not such a positive trait at all.

Allergy and rejection

When we look at most existing survival strategies, ending up in one’s pitfall is what’s most limiting about them. The result? Instead of being valued and praised, we get a negative response from our environment. As you work so hard, people may feel as if you are not giving them trust or space, what makes them feel unappreciated in return. Or you are not being seen at all if your preferred strategy is to work hard in silence, especially nowadays working in your home office. You might be perceived as a know it all, as hard as you do your utmost best to add value. An einselganger. Impossible to work with. Not listening. And I can go on. The response is nothing of what you hoped and worked so hard for.

Be consciously competent

It is the ‘what got you here won’t get you there’. In times of crises, don’t jump into old behaviour. Skip the old beliefs and patterns. Lean back, confident and take a good look at your intention and behaviour. Are they aligned? Does your behaviour support or contradict your good intention? Know what you do and why.

The antidote? You are already good enough

Stop proving your worth. Just be your most resourceful self. Slow down. Don’t work harder. Now more than ever, delegate instead of carrying (as in taking) all the responsibility yourself. Make sensible choices in your visible behaviour. Choices that support the goal of creating success for yourself and for your business. Without ending up in those annoying, not serving anyone, allergy-provoking pitfalls. A perfect combination of demonstrating your core qualities and moving towards the behaviour that might be more challenging for you, as there is slowing down, maybe even lowering the bar a bit, let others add value and make the difference.

And that in times of crisis. Good luck ;)

About me – Being a certified executive and personal coach, I am associated to the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching team and owner of the global executive coaching practice BigFish4.me where I am working on an ambitious scale-up plan now that I’ve learned to ‘not having to do it all on my own’. Next to that I’ve co-founded thehouseofgrowth.org in December 2018 and started working some hours a month for my old love, the Adecco Group (LHH) as well as for one of the biggest Dutch coaching practices in Amsterdam. My passions include playing my quarter grand piano and messing around with acrylic paint on large sized linen canvas. When I’m not catching some proverbial Big Fish, for now I’ve replaced the gym for my 29-er bike and I am loving it. But then again, I am still luckiest doing what I do best, challenging others and myself to perform at ‘our’ best

If you feel the need for a high level sounding board, or an ugly and honest look in the mirror, feel free to contact me or my team. We work face to face and online via zoom. A timeslot can be booked for 1 (online only) or 2 hours