How to Pivot From Panic To Production During the “C-Virus”

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modern-day crisis

Susan Dean

I’m not going to use the ‘c’ word in this blog. After all, you’ve probably heard the word thousands of times this week. You know the word — the one sounds like a beer but rhymes with iris at the end.

I’m not going to tell you what to do during this time, as you’ve been inundated with countless reminders about washing your hands and social-distancing. I’m also not going to discuss the terrible impacts on the economy or the shopping scandals.

The reason, I’m not going to do all these things is because if you’re like me, you know them back-to-front and inside-out already. You’re trying to do everything you can to remain positive in an unpredictable world that you sometimes think may have gone mad (think physical brawls over toilet paper).

As the great writer and speaker Dr Wayne Dyer said, “You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”

So, given his wise words, I am using this time to control what I can. To focus on the inside.

Now, as you may know, a large portion of my job entails flying interstate and overseas and being in large conferences and workshops. Because that is no longer viable, I am quarantining my mind into positive production and action. I am doing all those things I put on the backburner. I’m dusting off my list titled ‘Will do this one day’ and turning it into ‘I will do this today.’

After speaking to many global trainers, coaches and speakers about the new set of circumstances we find ourselves in, not to mention the loss of revenue and customers, I have noticed the natural resilience of some people. The ability to pivot instead of panic. The ability to stand up and be a leader instead of lying down and being a victim. (Naturally those with the c-virus can actually lie down – I recommend it).

But like many leaders have said, it’s in the trying times that you discover your depth and character.  In the Chinese language, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters,
one representing danger and the other, opportunity.

So perhaps this modern-day crisis lends itself to that translation too. That a crisis does indeed have two parts: danger and opportunity.

I am personally taking this opportunity to grow and learn. And I am fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most resilient people in Australia — our authors

Experts in Resilience


Let me start with the queen of resilience, Jess Van Zeil. A 21 years of age, Jess was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer called Conjunctival Ocular Melanoma. This cancer inevitably took her eye. But it was how Jess responded that inspired so many. Instead of spending her days hiding from the world and growing body-image complexes, she did the opposite. She embraced herself and decided to become “powerfully positive and ridiculously resilient.” She decided to rock the world with her most dazzling set of eye-patches and give the world the best of herself.

Now, here’s the thing. Embracing this mindset didn’t make her problems magically disappear. Sadly, Jess was diagnosed again with cancerous brain tumours. But…what did she do? She did what she always did – used her mantra of “powerfully positive and ridiculously resilient.” She used her days and months in the hospital for self-development and gratitude. She found things to be grateful for even when it felt she had nothing to get grateful for. Jess attributes her resilience to these things. (And if you’re stuck at home in self-isolation, I suggest you read Jess’s book Eye Wonand enjoy the jewels she so candidly offers).

Another author of extreme resilience during challenging times is Sarifa Alonto-Younes. A young orphan with nothing but a dream to become educated. After losing her parents at a young age, Sarifa felt terribly alone and lost. There was only one thing that helped Sarifa during these times – she taught herself to read and write. She morphed her heartbreak into something extremely valuable, something that would pay dividends in the long run — her own growth and education. Her story Love Your Obstaclesis not only powerful, but inspiration. It’s written in a simple way to lift people out of their despair and into their dreams.

I believe that we all have these resources inside, that it’s not until we’re tested that these dormant forces come alive inside and drive us in a new direction. My hope is that we can all use these challenging times to do the same. To awaken our deeper inner resources (like hope, courage, resilience and strength) and use them for good.

It could mean to use these times to educate yourself more, to read those books you’ve always wanted to but never found the time. It could be to get organised and finally clean up those messy drawers and pantries. It could be to write that book you’ve always dreamed of.


My question is: how can you use these challenging times to pivot instead of panic?

Don’t be afraid to make a list and write them down. I’d like to share idea with you.

Write down the panic you are feeling and think of positive ways you can shift that to something productive. Something that will actually benefit you in the long run.

For example:

Feeling isolated

Call people for that long chat you’ve always wanted

Join in some webinars or online learning programs

Join some positive chat forums and share your ideas

Use social media

Don’t know what to do

Read some books from people who have overcome obstacles

Complete all those old jobs around the house

Clean up those messy cupboards once and for all

Work out in your home gym

Feeling anxious about the future

Begin planning your future now.

You’ll feel much better making plans than worrying.

These are just some basic examples but make your own list and turn your fear into something more fearless.

The ABCDE Plan – Pivot From Panic To Production

I’ve had a lot of friends recently call me to discuss their worry and fears. They are stuck in uncertainty and afraid of what may happen. And though, I totally understand these feelings and have had some similar moments myself. It’s important that we band together and provide for each other in new ways. After you pivot yourself, it’s important to ask:

What can I provide for others?

Now, this doesn’t just mean “things” – like toilet paper for example (but that would be awesome, right?!)

Perhaps you can provide positivity, hope or a new idea for them to pursue. Perhaps you can provide others with your words of wisdom or a business idea they could utilise in the future.

Over the last couple of days, I have thought of a simple action plan. One that I utilise if I fall into mild panic or concern. I am suggesting for people to follow a simple ABCDE plan. It has helped me pivot from panic to production overnight.

A = Assess – What you can control and what you can’t – focus on what you CAN.

B = Breathe – Slow down and breathe

C = Create– Create a moving-forward plan for your future

D = Decide– Decide what you will do and when

E = Execute– Get sh*t done – execute your decisions and plan.

Now, I’m suggesting this simple plan will give you immunity from unforeseen forces like an episode of Survivor, but I am suggesting that it will give you something productive to focus on when you’re left stranded in uncertainty and confusion. It moves you toward something more positive than fear, worry and anxiety and gives you a sense of certainty. There may be many things you can’t be certain of right now, but you can be certain in what you do and the attitude you carry with you every day. Let’s do our little bit to create more smiles and hope!

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