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Tip of the Day

Leading during Covid-19 – Tip #2

By April 12, 2020September 12th, 2022No Comments

Stress is considered the leading contributor to bad decisions and communication which negatively impact your people.

Reduce stress in 60 seconds. 


You need to practice this a few times slowly. Once you have the process down pat, I promise you it will defuse stress in seconds when you need it most.

Step 1: Get out of the quick sand

Stress attracts more stress. Therefore at the first sign of it, be okay with it. Right now, everyone is feeling it, it is normal. It is your reptilian (fright, fight, flight) brain, telling you there is a lion over there. Unless you are on safari or find yourself faced by an actual lion say to yourself “I am stressed and I am okay”. This tells your reptilian brain that you are no longer in danger or need to fly, freeze or fight. If you continue to say “I am stressed” (I also called this marinading in your stress) it becomes like quick sand and makes it worse! Tell your brain you are okay, which will help step 2.
Step 2: Turn on your smart brain 
Take 3 slow deep breaths. In for 3 seconds, out for 3 seconds. If you are in the middle of a discussion, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom (even if you don’t need to go!) After taking your 3 deep breathes, say “It is okay to feel stress, I am okay”. This helps to turn on the Neocortex or smart brain. The Neocortex is brain’s home for impulse control and helps you make rational decisions.

Step 3: Notice, be Curious 
Decide what it was that caused this stress response. What was your “Lion?” for example:

  • Learning how to use new technology
  • A difficult conversation delivered virtually
  • How to engage your team on a daily basis while working remotely
  • Mental health of myself and my team
  • Will I have a job or business next month?
  • Not knowing what to say to your boss, team or family
  • My kids needing attention while I work
  • Receiving or giving negative feedback
  • Letting someone down
  • Something else?

Look at the issue like a scientist looks a problem. Be inquisitive, interested.  This keeps your smart brain engaged and in control. Also called emotional intelligence.
Step 4: Re-engage  
Now it is time to face your Lion.
Maybe you just make one small step towards it. Break the problem down into smaller pieces. Ask for help in doing this if you are not sure.
You can also decide on something small you could do or say that is moving towards the problem or person. I call it my “5% move”. As even if I am moving 5% towards the problem, that is better than going the other direction. What is a micro step you can do today that will move you towards solving the problem rather than making it bigger. This could be:

  • Scheduling a 5-10 minute meeting with your team each morning
  • Letting team members know that you also feel you have lost a sense of control, but lets focus on what we can control
  • Going for a 5 min walk outside in between important meetings to clear your head
  • Drinking a glass of water instead of eating another biscuit (sometimes hunger is just thirst)
  • Asking family members to come up with what country they are going to visit for dinner tonight (get prepared maybe the day before, with ingredients and have everyone involved in the cooking of a dish from that country).

Be self-aware of how this pandemic is impacting those around you, while be willing to act in a way (self-control) that is aligned to your beliefs and values – like below.  This avoids behaving in ways that can make things worse (self-sabotage).

Give it a go! After some practice you can do the 4 steps in under a minute!
I hope this information was of value. However if you feel you need more assistance with Stress personally or a colleague, book a time with me below.
I help Leaders perform even during times of Stress. My clients then become confident, consistent and authentic Leaders who inspire others to reach their potential resulting in massive success.

Can I help you?

  1. Book and initial 15 min phone or virtual consult with me to establish if I am I the right person to help you or your Leader
  2. Yes? We then schedule a 1 hour “deep dive” chat (via video conference) regarding the key issues and desired outcomes.
  3. Allow me to provide a tailored plan
  4. We execute that plan together
Warmly, Margie Ireland
Leadership Coach | Psychologist | Speaker