10 Valuable Actions During Personal Crisis!


A friend of mine just posted her diagnosis of breast cancer on facebook. We’ve never really met, but I’ve enjoyed her flair and warm personality in social media. She was in the process of speaking with doctors after her MRI…I could almost feel her shock and “Now what?”

She committed to keeping a Gratitude list. Brilliant. An intentional ritual for each day, will keep her grounded in the most powerful positive frame of mind possible.

I know crisis well. I know what it’s like to have a threatening growth in one’s body. I understand the trauma of supporting a spouse through radiation, then discovering a new cancer a few months later, and going through chemo. I managed a new born, a five year old, and 2 teenagers while dealing with my spousal patient. We have experienced intense crises followed by tragedy. Then, we experienced tragedy again.

These experiences of dire crises have given me abilities and a depth that I would not have had without them. In his book, Authentic Leadership, Bill George refers to them as the “crucible moments” of life that take you to your knees. These are also times in which one’s inner leader activates.  I remember feeling that inner strength just show up.

There are 8 key steps to take when crisis happens, however. I’m sure there are more, but this is what has worked for me, getting me through the absolute worst of times.


  • Cancel the busy-ness of your life…your committees, work projects, anything that you are responsible for. You need to concentrate on YOU. People will understand.
  • Feed your spirit…every day. This is a spiritual journey. Find a great book to read. There are many out there…one of my favorites is “Your Sacred Self” by Wayne Dyer. Read scriptures, or spiritual books. You might find that you relate as never before. Psalms, Job spoke to me as never before when experiencing a family tragedy.
  • Meditate- at least once a day, maybe twice, or three times. I recommend the app: Insight Timer. There are guided meditations for grief, healing, letting go, and being sacred. Try them out.
  • Give yourself the best self-care possible. Accept gifts…massages, healthy food, yoga, tai chi, incredible music, sunsets…time with animals. Say “yes, thank you.”
  • Carefully choose how you communicate your situation. People don’t want to hear a long list of problems or details of your suffering. Use a strong action verb to describe yourself as a warrior. I learned to tell people, “I’m just wrestling some alligators right now.”
  • Explore some creative activities: I went to 7 plays during a Theater Festival while experiencing intense grief. Grief can give way to amazing self-expression through art, dance, or poetry. Try it.
  • Journal. Scribble, draw, ask yourself questions, make lists…just get it down.
  • Reach out to a select few of your most positive friends.
  • Use humor is a healing tool.  Find things that make you laugh. I took our children to a theme park right after our tragedy. I personally needed to scream on a roller coaster.
  • Practice that Gratitude ritual like your life depends on it! It just might.



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