Friday, 18 July 2014

Personal Crisis Management - How to Survive when Life comes a'kickin'

For some time now, I've been thinking about what I can bring to the Personal Development table. There are so many really good life coaches and NLP practitioners out there all of whom are well trained, very experienced and frankly, pretty damned good at what they do. It has seemed to me that I haven't really been able to add much value to the field.

Today, that changed. It occurred to me that there is one section, which doesn't get much coverage in Personal Development, but is something I know intimately - that of Personal Crisis Management. 

My life experiences have given me a unique perspective on Personal Crisis Management. I understand what it's like when Life pulls the rug out from under you, you hit the ground hard and then The Bastards start kicking you with steel-toe capped boots. I have stood outside at the 3 o'clock in the morning believed I was the only personal alive on the planet, awake and hurting. There have been times when I hurt so much I was frozen in place, I wasn't able to move from my chair. 

In those times, I would have done physical harm to the person who would have dared to give me the "it's all in your attitude", "it's what you attract" or "think positive to create the outcome you want" speeches. 

Don't get me wrong, I do believe there is value in those things, but frankly, they aren't particularly helpful when you are fighting an external situation that totally blindsided you.

This is the beginning of a series of posts about coping strategies; what works and what to avoid. They are based on my own experiences of dealing with Life's lovely little surprises: the end of significant relationships, death, financial uncertainty, career/job uncertainty and collapsing relationships. There have been times when I felt that I what I was going through was so ridiculously awful, if I had written about it as a book, my readers would never have been able to suspend their disbelief. 

The work of Dr Richard Bandler and John & Kathleen LeValle in Neuro Linguistic Programming has been instrumental in the shift in my thinking. Training with them taught me one of the most valuable lessons: however I feel, no matter how much emotional pain I am in, it will pass. 

Emotional pain, no matter how awful, debilitating, crucifying and intense, it will pass.

I repeat, it will pass.

However, difficult and seemingly unending your trauma is at this instant, it will pass.

There is a card in Major Arcana of the Tarot, called The Tower. When you look at it, it's fairly clear what it's about: your Life as you know it, crumbling away from underneath you. Death, divorce, redundancy, illness, relationships ending (in their many varied ways), relocation etc. The Big Things. The painful things. 

The situations that once you survive, you know your Life will never be the same again. 

Winston Churchill is credited as saying "When you're going through Hell, don't stop." 

That Ladies and Gentlemen, is advice you can take to the bank. If you are in crisis mode, don't stop. Your every waking moment must be about putting one foot in front of the other. Even if you only manage one, small baby step, or can only crawl on your hands and knees.  This is not the time to sightsee. Don't stop to take pictures. Don't be a tourist. 

It is said that Life never hands you more than you can handle. I'm not entirely confident about that. There have been times when I sank like a stone. What I will say is that the sun will rise again tomorrow. It will pass. In the midst of disaster, every day becomes a new opportunity to try again. And if all you manage to do is to brush your teeth and wash your face, embrace each and every effort you make towards getting yourself out of Hell, as a triumph. It's one less step to make tomorrow.

Repeat after me, it will pass


  1. 1970 was the year from hell for my family. My father died in January and it continued to go downhill. One day, the Peanuts cartoon was Snoopy saying (the gist, anyway) "I don't know about taking it one day at a time - sometimes half a day is enough for me" - and it made my mother laugh and helped her cope.

    1. I'm sorry, but I laughed too. Your poor mum. The death of a husband must have ben awful for her.

      The death of your father and watching your mum suffer must have been awful for you.

      In the midst of crisis, it boils down to whatever works. Half a day, is better than none.

      Lots of love to you darling. xx


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