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Three steps to making sound decisions during a crisis

Imagine getting a bucket of ice-cold water thrown at you unexpectedly. That’s what this pandemic feels like. And your very normal reaction is one of shock. It startles you and causes you to stop in your tracks.

Rick White

Your mind, however, is quite a different story. Your brain is racing to find all the things that could possibly go wrong and before you know it, you’ve lost your business, your significant other has left you, and your kids hate you.

This is where desperation kicks in.  You start making decisions and taking actions that hurt the long-term viability of your business. Why? Because you’re making emotional decisions; decisions based in fear.

The reason these decisions aren’t good ones is because when you’re experiencing fear, you’re emotionally and physically retreating. You’re going to make decisions that you think protect you from today’s pain because that’s all you see. And they might, but not without a cost to your long-term success. So, what should you do instead?

There’s a three-step process to making sound decisions and you’ve already got step one nailed. Yup, the first step is to react. This step is where you feel like the walls are closing in, that you’re doomed, and you’re going to lose everything you’ve worked so hard for.

This is an important step because it’s your mind telling you that there’s a threat, which is a really good thing. The issue is when you don’t manage your reaction, you could end up going down a rabbit hole that will be very hard to get yourself out of. Instead, set a timer for 90 seconds and embrace the fear you’re feeling.

Once your timer goes off, it’s time for step two — which is recover. I know this sounds hard, but it’s easy. All you must do is ask yourself four simple questions.

  1. Is this going to last forever?
  2. What’s great about this that I haven’t realized yet?
  3. What opportunities are there that I don’t currently see?
  4. What do I need to do NOW to take advantage of those opportunities?

The recover step is solutions-driven while the react step is problem-driven. You see, the recover step is all about using the power of perspective and looking at the same situation from different angles to find gifts, opportunities, and yes, even joy in the current situation. (An example of joy coming out of the current pandemic is being able to slow down and reconnect with those that I love. There’s so much to be grateful for.)

When you start finding solutions to your crisis, you start to feel empowered and in control. Next, come up with a plan of action based on the opportunities you found. And guess what happens? You start to feel better, even happier, just because you don’t feel helpless anymore. What a great feeling!

The last step is to respond. This step is where you put your plan into play. You understand where you are, where you want to go, and you have a plan of action, massive action, to get your there. You get everyone up to speed and start working the plan. You’ll feel even better because you’re moving and feeling forward progress.

But your plan isn’t going to be foolproof. You will run into obstacles and challenges. You must build in a way to measure your progress against what you believe is possible and modify your plan as needed to help you achieve your goals. You might have to try a few different ways to get the results you want.  That’s OK because you need to be flexible in your path and firm on your destination. What you will find in very short order is your business back on track better than before.  And that’s because you adapted and overcame the latest issue to impact your business.


Rick White of 180Biz is a business turnaround and growth expert helping shop owners go from struggling to stay open to being the go-to shop in their market. He has taught thousands to not only make more money than they ever thought possible, but also to have the time to enjoy it with their families. To find out more, visit

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