Crisis - Don't duck, Learn from it

Crises are everywhere; sometimes big, sometimes small, sometimes in a small circle, sometimes nationwide. This is my story about a very personal crisis. MY takeaway: Don't duck when a crisis hits you. Stand up and be prepared to learn.

I want to begin my story with a clear message. Whatever happens, whatever mistakes you make, or whatever challenges you have to face, always take it as a gift of life to strive for a better version of you. 

My Crisis:

Many years ago, my family got into a serious challenge: a financial crisis. As families always should, my sisters in the US, my parents, and I stood up together to fight our way out of it. All of a sudden, I found myself in a leading position to manage these heavy and demanding times, even though I am the youngest of our family.

During those years, I often had to run out of meetings at work to manage the situation, to answer calls, to ask favours of someone I didn’t even know, and to negotiate in between stakeholders, creditors, banks and lawyers. For a few years, most of my salary and bonuses were eaten up in order to avoid total disaster. It was long and it was tough.

That was at a time when my team and responsibilities were growing, and I was offered a great professional opportunity to move forward within my organization. But because of my private situation, I chose to say no to the next career step offered to me.

However, incomparable to the amount of money and material possessions we lost, I “earned” much more:

A deeper empathy for people, gratitude for what I have and an ability to lead myself.

Since then, I have a habit to think twice before judging anyone and any situation. There might be a reason when some of my friends choose not to come to a dinner gathering or if one of my team members when he/she disappears during working hours or seems distracted. There is a possibility someone can be hurt by my vacation story regardless of my intention especially if they are not in a situation to take their family on a nice holiday.

Since then, I appreciate the things that I would have taken for granted more than if my crisis had not happened. I am grateful that I had a leader at that time who respected my decision of turning down a great career opportunity without judgment and continuously supported me, I am grateful that I had such a trustful and capable team, I am grateful for the crisis that has given me the ability to see other perspectives and I am grateful that I am fulfilled more from a healthy body and mind rather than material well-being.

Since then, I trust that I have enough resilience, optimism and belief to get through any challenges. I didn't lose track of my goal even though I had to deprioritize my career progression for a few years. In fact, my vision and life purpose of doing something meaningful for the other people got even more clearer during that time. 

A few years later when everything was settled, I took a decision to come to Germany adidas HQ to accelerate my career. Working with colleagues and leaders from all over the world for the last 5 years has taught me lessons I could never put a price on. In parallel with my work, persistent effort and time have been invested in my personal dream to get closer to the vision of my life. Now I am kicking off a new chapter as a coach and consultant! I cannot describe how happy I am and proud of myself to lead myself upto now.

Key takeaways:

  1. Don’t judge too fast. You never know which phase of life someone is going through. Have companionship with your employee. Give them space to unblock themselves from their personal situation. Even if it may take a moment, when they come back with a free mind, you will find a clear win-win situation as a leader. They will hunt for business and be your lifetime supporter. More importantly, they will become a true leader to others as you were to them.
  2. Unpack the gifts you receive during a crisis, and share them with others. Look carefully into your personal crisis. Try to see what is left as gifts and share them with others. In my case, I committed myself to share the respect, trust, and honesty that my leaders and my team showed me during that time.
  3. Be a leader of yourself. In my podcast with Guy Bloom, I talked about being in the driver’s seat. Yes, be a leader of yourself, even in overwhelming situations. In the pouring rain, a driver never takes off his/her hands from a steering wheel. If any of you reading this article are going through a stormy part of your lives, stay in the driver’s seat, hold your handle tight and you will get through it.

To end my story, I want to deliver my sincere appreciation to my friends, family, colleagues and leaders who went through that hard times with me. Special credits to my former leader, @Neelendra Singh.

Though I am thankful that my crisis is now history, I will welcome and appreciate whatever storm is waiting for me in the future.

I hope you find some part of this story that resonates with you, and if so, please leave me comments or/and PM. I would love to connect with you.

In one of my next blogs, I want to share with you more about my "driver's seat" story throughout my career.