Finding meaning during crisis requires an answer, not a question

Times of crisis require a change of perspective and a call to action.

Geoff Wilson

So, here we are, weeks into a bizarre world of isolation, uncertainty, and pain.  If one thing is likely, it’s that after weeks of responsiveness, you may now start to see real signs of resignation and capitulation.  But, you may also see signs of opportunity and–dare I say it–optimism.  My sense is that both mindsets are probably “right” and “ok.”  This is no self-help blog.  I fully believe that there is plenty to fear in the environment beyond fear itself.

But.

I also think it’s important to realize that in times of crisis or trial or despair it’s our imperative to reflect and chart a course.  That course may be brand new and different, or it may be a retreat to the tried and true.  In either case…it’s a course.

One of the more influential books in my life is Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Frankl was a Holocaust survivor and influential thinking on how people find meaning in life regardless of experience.  His experience in the Auschwitz death camp sparked a globally influential view of how individuals find meaning in challenging and even hopeless circumstances. And, he made it simple.  In his words:

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”

In other words, the search for meaning isn’t about asking “why me?”  It’s about asserting “what’s next…” In this simple little flip of the mindset is found the difference between individuals, professionals, companies, and organizations who succeed and thrive during despairing times and those who capitulate.

You are probably sitting and reading this from a position of considerable uncertainty.  I am certainly writing from one. Anybody who really thinks they know how the current environment will resolve trusts a little too much in their expertise and models.  You may have lost your job.  You may have lost your customer.  You may be about to.

The advice I can give you is to actively seek the answer to the question of what’s next.  Seek to beat back the fog of uncertainty and place a stake in the ground as to what direction you will go now.  If you need help to do that, drop me a line.

Finding meaning during crisis requires an answer, not a question.

What do you think?

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