Crisis mode is a good way to get things done. But do we understand what it costs us? How does crisis mode affect you and those around you, and what you can do about living in crisis mode?
Crises is everywhere these days. We hear about war and humanitarian crises around the world. And we live with crises in government, the economy, and our sense of well-being at home.
Crisis creates an emotional reaction in us. It gives us a jolt of nervous energy to jump into action. But we can also get numb to that reaction, so the crises have to become greater for us to have the same reaction.
This numbness does not mean we’re immune. Rather, we’re numb because we’re already in crisis mode.
What is a crisis?
A crisis can be anything that threatens our sense of well-being. That’s why they demand our attention. A crisis justifies all our effort and extreme measures. Any cost is justified because failure is not an option.
This has become a powerful tool in politics, and the constant news politics generate.
Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago and chief of staff to President Barack Obama is remembered for saying “Never allow a good crisis go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do the things you once thought were impossible.”
At some point in our recent history, we stopped avoiding crises. We’ve gone from using them to manufacturing them. Creating a sense of crisis is now a known method for getting the public’s attention.
Living in Crisis Mode
Crises can be a great way to get things done. But in the process, we’ve lost the ability to discern a real crisis from a manufactured one. My work is focused on helping people recognize crisis mode in themselves, others, and their organizations and communities.