The Unexpected Career Crisis–Got the Stuff to Survive It? | 4 Essential Steps

There’s no escaping problems. They show up whether we’re ready or not.  Smart businesses have crisis management plans so they know what to do when calamity hits. So shouldn’t we?

I was invited to review Jim Moorhead’s new book, The Instant Survivor: Right Ways to Respond When Things Go Wrong, concurrent with its release. The advice and insights are terrific!

Gone are the cradle to grave careers. Routine upheaval is more the norm than ever before.

We start our careers with great optimism and then experience a shot of reality. We soon discover success depends on our ability to survive the curve balls that come our way.

The art of surviving

Jim Moorhead’s book looks at what we need to do when faced with the unexpected. His 4-step system for conquering professional and personal crises takes the essence of a business crisis management plan and turns it into a survival kit for us. The Instant Survivor puts the control back in our hands.

If you think that crisis will skip over you, Moorhead shares innumerable, fascinating and true stories about people like:

  • Robin Roberts, ABC’s co-anchor on Good Morning America, who publicly faced her breast cancer
  • Terry Francona, professional baseball manager, who navigated career highs and devastating lows, eventually winning the World Series twice with the Boston Red Sox
  • Michael Dell, who, at 27 went from having his company on Fortune 500’s “Best of the Top 500″ list to a stock plunge that nearly ruined the company

The crises we face are just as significant to us, and we need to know how to fight  through them.

4 Survival Steps

Problems can’t get solved until we start solving them. A simple process makes it easier to get going. Moorhead recommends these four steps in “Instant Survivor”:

1. Stay Frosty

Instead of staying calm (which is always easier said than done), Moorhead tell us to move forward calmly  while “freezing out negative emotions of fear, anger, and bitterness.”

He says to sort things out objectively:

Develop a crisis management plan with three stages:

  • Diagnosis (What’s the problem?)
  • Action (What can I do?)
  • After-Action Report (What did I do well and what could I improve?)

He tells us that being self-focused  is the way we can “stay frosty.”

2. Secure Support

It’s tempting to withdraw when a crisis catches us off guard. We may feel embarrassed, ashamed, and hurt–emotions we don’t want to air in front of others. Trying to shoulder a crisis alone is the wrong tactic. Support is essential. Moorhead says,

You can survive and even thrive by denying national and worldwide crises. Yet there is one crisis, whether current or incoming, that you cannot deny. Your crisis. You cannot deny it, and you must take immediate action to deal with it. Because if you don’t, no one will.

The support of others empowers us to lead our way out of the crisis effectively.

Moorhead reminds us that before we’re in a pickle, we need to create a crisis management team (professionals, friends, and business associates) that we can call into action at a moment’s notice.

3. Stand Tall

We need to get a grip on our next moves and that means crafting a written plan. Moorhead emphasizes the importance of getting your proposed actions down on paper and managing your way out of the crisis

He emphasizes the need to be flexible, monitor your progress, and maintain momentum. It’s your plan to turn your crisis around, so you need to own it proudly. He gives you a terrific set of questions to keep you on the right track and standing tall.

4. Save Your Future

Every crisis is a fabulous learning experience. Moorhead’s book is filled with inspiring stories of every magnitude.

He writes about what to do after the crisis is past:

Choose to build a different, brighter future.

  • Your past does not dictate your future–unless you let it.
  • Use calamity to gain clarity on what you want in life.
  • Give meaning to your disaster by helping others through theirs.
  • A life comeback is possible from any depth.

Surviving is a brand

Moorhead ends reminding us that what we do to survive and how we do it contribute to our brand identity. I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “Look at Pat, s/he’s a real survivor.”

There’s a survivor in all of us. We can either make it easy on ourselves or difficult. The Instant Survivor is your leg up.

2 thoughts on “The Unexpected Career Crisis–Got the Stuff to Survive It? | 4 Essential Steps

    • Hi! Kathy So glad you liked the review. I thought the survival strategy Moorhead proposed was so neatly presented that it was easily remembered and applied. I’m keepin’ on as best as I can…thanks for the encouragement :-)!

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