Crisis? Ask yourself these four powerful questions! by Allie Pleiter
My online class next month deals with survival tactics to keep your creative self alive and well when life’s chaos is giving you a beating. Here’s a taste of some of the things you’ll learn if you join us—the power of asking yourself the right four questions inspired by leadership guru Michael Hyatt.
Question #1. What’s possible now?
When crisis hits, our brain kicks into totalitarian thinking, cataloguing everything wrong about your situation and blinding you current possibilities. After giving yourself a few minutes to react—shock, anger, annoyance, frustration are all natural and can’t be avoided— deliberately force a shift of thinking toward what IS possible now? The good news is that the more you practice this shift, the easier it becomes. Sure, I’ve asked “What’s possible now?” through gritted teeth. Sometimes it is genuinely hard to drag my brain off the negative. I’ve found, however, that even the tiniest possibilities make coping much more possible.
Question #2. What’s not possible now?
Many of us get into trouble precisely because we refuse to recognize the true limitations of a given crisis. If your spouse’s car accident injuries will pull your time and attention from your tight book deadline, own it now, not 48 hours before the book is due. It’s not easy, and it often feels like surrender, but it’s far better than denial.
Question #3. What do I need right now?
The “right now” is the crucial part here. At the start of a given crisis, you may need simply to get calm. Or at least calm-er. You may need someone who understands the process ahead of you better than you do at the moment (especially true in medical crises). Our “what if” writer brains gallop off in a dozen long-term directions, churning today’s problems into tomorrow’s catastrophes. Yes, the larger picture is important to consider. If we can train our brains to focus on the next solvable step, however, survival comes more easily.
Question #4. What do I want right now?
We often think of crisis as “survival mode”—only needs, not wants. It’s not necessarily true. You may need to eat, but you might also want someone to help you talk through your situation. Resist the urge to cast aside what might feel like “luxuries” until life calms down. Non-essentials that make you calmer, more comfortable, or a bit more cheerful are not selfish, but a wise form of self-care that can bolster your endurance or clarity at a time when you need it most.
These four questions can offer you the foothold you may need to get through the first hours or days of any crisis. I find these questions work for any size dilemma—from missed flight to a parent in emergency surgery. If you can shift your thinking from the knee-jerk of “EMERGENCY! PANIC!” to “What’s possible now? What’s not possible now? What do I need right now? What do I want right now?”, you will discover your coping abilities can be far stronger.
Want more great coping skills? Join me for the online workshop beginning October 1.
About the Presenter
An avid knitter, BBC Television geek and French macaron enthusiast, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction, working on as many as four novels at a time. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy bestselling author of over two dozen books, Allie spends her days writing, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the Midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced a fourteen-year career with over one million books sold. In addition to writing, Allie regularly speaks on faith, the creative process, women’s issues, and her very favorite topic—time management for writers. Visit her website at www.alliepleiter.com or her knitting blog at www.DestiKNITions.blogspot.com to learn more.