Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to Survive a Crisis, Even a Shipwreck

High waves surged at the small fishing boat. The first one swamped it. The next one turned it over and dumped John Nevarez, his brother Elias, and their friend, Rebecca into the Atlantic Ocean.

For three days they clung to the upside down boat and a cooler with some water and Gatorade in it.

What important priorities did they put in place to survive? “Get rid of all fears,” came first. Next order of business? Tell blonde jokes, favorite lines from movies and share happy times with family.

On day three they were rescued, dehydrated, badly stung by jelly fish and in excellent spirits.

With the stock market crashing like a big wave, oil spilling, Koreas threatening – well you’ve got the picture, sometimes it feels as if we are all afloat in heavy seas.

Will the Nevarez’ approach work for you? Get rid of fears. But how?
Here are the questions I ask myself and coaching clients that dredge up the limiting beliefs that hold fear in place:

1. What are you afraid of? Get really specific. When you deal with fear, the devil is in the details.

2. Why are you afraid of that (whatever your fear focuses on)? Of all the feelings your could have, why fear?

3. What are you concerned would happen if you were not afraid? When we are afraid, many times we are reluctant to feel better. Somehow it seems as if fear will help us and keep us safe. It does not. Awareness of danger helps but it does not require fear.

Happiness helps.

When you face a challenge, even a great big one, instead of scrambling about to find a solution attend to your emotional well-being first.

That’s what those capsized guys did. After they calmed down and cheered up, their creativity kicked in. They took turns tying one person to the top of the boat to rest, rationed that Gatorade and figured out how to survive to fish again.

On the third day a boat spotted them and called the Coast Guard.

May you survive every crisis, be happy and flourish!


PS: My YouTube Video, “Why You Want Everything” just showed up with a Hungarian translation. What a kick!