6 Ways to Work Through a Crisis (And See the Beauty in Plan B)

July 2015

Maureen's garden last week.

Maureen’s garden last week.

Life and business intersect at every turn. Last year at this time, I had great fun in a post drawing a parallel between the burgeoning bounty in my backyard garden and our flourishing startup, Twirling Tiger Press Inc.

When this spring’s frost cleared, I had new plans to plant what I found to be the big producers and most likely consumed veggies. It was a period when I was easily able to manage my time, work and life.

But all plans were disrupted when my daughter’s scheduled spinal surgery unexpectedly required a second surgery within days of the first due to a surgical site infection, which, I’m told, happens to only one percent of patients.

As a business owner with important clients, my work had to continue. My daughter’s room at Children’s Hospital Boston became my new workplace for almost two weeks. (Thank goodness for my little, but mighty, MacBook Pro!). My usual balance of life and business had to be tipped in favor of my daughter’s needs. In a not-always-graceful manner, I applied many business-related tips to surviving a personal crisis.

1. Say no.

Saying “no” to life and business demands is a way to take control and mange your workload. Set priorities and delegate to elevate yourself.

2. Find your new balance.

Be aware of how much time you spend on any one task. Expend your energy evenly on priorities.

3. List your goals and set a schedule.

Whether for the hour, day or week, a list of goals will help you create structure during a topsy-turvy time. And you can use your list of goals to create a schedule for tasks.

4. Learn.

When thrust into an unfamiliar situation, open your heart and mind, and learn all that you can. Make many connections to people and benefit from their expertise and kindness.

5. Relieve stress.

A sharp contrast is realized between a relaxed state and anxious state when a crisis hits. For me, walking outdoors and stretching restored mind and body if even for a few moments.

6. Look forward.

Imagine days in the near future where all is as you planned.

I am fortunate and happy to report that my daughter has recovered. I am also very pleased with the outcome of the work I created while camped out at CHB. I made new connections with all types of people, and we are richer for the experience. And my garden has become a Plan B. While lamenting about the hideous crop of prevailing weeds, my daughter pointed out that it looked quite beautiful.

She’s right.

—Maureen