Turning Crisis Into Opportunity

It’s safe to say that the Covid 19 pandemic has changed us all in some way shape or form.

Government efforts to support our sector alongside the work that ukactive have been doing behind-the-scenes has been good so far and we are excited for what the future holds. We are determined to #comebackstronger

When faced with crisis or pressure, we often react in a way that, after further reflection and more thought, we would not necessarily have made the same decision. Hindsight is a great thing albeit we tend to react in one of three ways… flight, freeze or fight!
Fright, Flight or Fight

The Change Curve

There are many theories, strategies and examples of how people handle crisis and ultimately change their lives. We can, for example, apply the change curve theory the current worldwide pandemic.

The Change Curve

Shock/Denial – many people were in denial when they first heard about the situation in China. ‘It won’t affect me’ was probably what a lot of people were thinking. The situation was so shocking that it was almost unbelievable.

Frustration/Anger – Suddenly, people in the UK were affected. Things changed rapidly for some, and not rapidly enough in the minds of others. People were looking to apportion blame.  Blame the government, blame China, is there a conspiracy!!!  All of this ultimately then leads to…

Depression/Panic! – ‘What are we going to do?’, ‘Am I going to lose my job?’, ‘How will I support my family?’. Many of us had thoughts such as these and it’s perfectly natural.

Acceptance – is the key to moving down the curve into opportunity. Acceptance that we are all experiencing the same issues. As soon as we can accept the situation that this is leaving us, the sooner we can progress.

Problem solving – For Andy Heald, Director of Quality and Education for Train With Premier and TVS Education, it has been about looking for solutions. “Personally, this has included more exercise and spending more time with my family. This is something that will change my mindset, certainly for the future, and is a positive straight out of a crisis! I’ve also been involved in the development of an online Facebook group that has been created by a good friend of mine to challenge men’s mental health which has seen over 30,000 members join the group. Again, another positive out of a crisis.” There are also professional lessons to learn and ‘work’ problems to solve.  Andy says, “I’ve also been involved in bringing our training courses online, with virtual being the ‘new norm’.”

In order to move to the problem solving phase, it’s important for you to reflect, follow the change curve and to really delve deep into what your personal problem-solving might look like and what it is that you want to learn? What is it that you want to develop? It’s important to position ourselves so that we are in the right position to move forward once the crisis is over. We can do this through learning.

It’s important to consider this in line with Government guidance,

People that have been placed in furlough can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of the company.

This statement has thrown up some confusion around training linked and employment but, if you have areas within your job that you want to develop, this is a fantastic time to work on those elements so that you are ready and raring to go once the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown procedures are lifted.

It’s also important not feel pressured into attending the training that your employer may have laid on for you, but this comes down to personal choice and personal mindset.

The Slope of Enlightenment

The slope of enlightenment

Another diagram to refer to is the ‘slope of enlightenment’. This again looks at the process we go through as we manage to change and process, but it is slightly different to the previous method. As you can see from the diagram, it takes us into the ‘trough of disillusionment’, which is why we feel lost unsure about what to do or how do we maximise our time.  Through positive thinking and focus, we can move along the slope of enlightenment into that ‘plateau of productivity’.

Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the things that you want to learn?
  • What are the things that you want to develop?
  • What are the areas of your personal development that you would like to get better at?

After reading this post, take 10 minutes to put together a plan of how to develop those areas and who you may need to speak to. If you need assistance, you can contact us anytime!

“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome” Arthur Ashe

Take time to plan

When we look at change, it’s important that we factor in a plan! What is our slope of enlightenment going to look and how will it get us to the plateau of productivity?

Many people have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions throughout this pandemic, but it’s our personal mindsets that help us through. Setting daily plans and goals can enable you to get things back on track on the days where you’ve procrastinated, felt low or found it hard to be motivate yourself.

Investing time in yourself is really important! Whether that be through exercise, reading, catching up on a TED talks – they can all influence your mindset and help you get things moving again in the right direction.

Some ‘quick wins’ for your personal planning

The Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix enables you to focus on the tasks that are important, urgent and  also those tasks that you can delegate or you shouldn’t be wasting your time with.

Narrow your focus

If you set yourself a three-month plan, you can narrow this down into three weekly tasks/goals that help you outline your personal commitment each week. You might even call these ‘big hairy tasks’ for the week and these can be aligned to key business KPIS to ultimately ensure you are performing well within a professional capacity. Appreciate and accept a sense of achievement once you complete your tasks and take another step forward to completing your longer-term goals.

Break your three ‘big hairy’ weekly tasks down further into three key daily tasks. For example, let’s pretend one of our big tasks is to do some decking. The three daily tasks for this would be to:

  • Research the tools, resources for the job
  • Prepare the areas
  • Remove distractions

This helps you plan, be committed and focused to getting the job done which leads to the rewards once its complete.

To summarise, a plan enables you to ensure you get a key focus for the tasks you wish to complete, ultimately supporting the mind and aligning your mindset to that of positivity and growth rather than being left pondering, thinking, worrying.

Be adaptable

your plan vs reality

All plans need to be open to challenge and change. Some days, throughout this lockdown, we will experience low points and potential distractions. But following these steps certainly helps and supports you to get back on track.  The diagram below displays this perfectly, not all plans will be perfect, but they will help move to a greater goal.

Failing to prepare means preparing to fail!


The LAGOM method of working may also be useful to you, especially if you have difficulty focussing. Following a plan of when to focus and when to take a break, even when to collaborate, works very well for some people. To access the LAGOM example scheduling tool click here!  

Invest in learning

It is important that, when planning and investing time in yourself to move from this crisis into opportunity, you invest time in your own learning. Whether that be new knowledge, new skills, new behaviours, or something that you’ve been wanting to do for a while that for whatever reason you have just not got round to doing yet.

If someone had said to you before the Covid 19 pandemic that you had an option to have more time to yourself, work from home when needed and to try a different lifestyle without having to change jobs, you probably would have jumped at the opportunity! Now that we have it – we mustn’t waste it! We must turn this crisis into an opportunity!

Technology is your friend!

Virtual is the new normal!  How many of us have engaged in online quizzes or online training sessions? I’m sure the majority of us will have taken part in some form of virtual activity with others to stay in contact and this may well become the new normal moving forward. Simon Sinek explains this perfectly in his most recent video that life won’t return to normal – all of this is happening for us to create new opportunities that, with the right plan and mindset, we can all take advantage of.


This time has certainly encouraged people to pull together and talk more. One this many of us have learnt from crisis is the ability to communicate far more effectively and with more purpose.

“Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your people, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.“ Lee Lacocca

As the quote says, communicating with people is really key to moving peoples’ fears into focus. We must support each other to set standards and encourage each other to train and retrain, and to focus on the ‘unconscious incompetence’ elements of our lives (the things you don’t know you don’t know) as well as on the ‘conscious incompetence’ areas (the things you do know but need to improve on).

“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.”   Simon Sinek

Build a strong mindset

The strength of your mind determines the depth of your desperation! The weaker the mind, the deeper the desperation!”  Mehmet Murat Ildan

Here’s a quick challenge for you when you answer the phone tomorrow… please stop yourself from saying ‘not bad’!!!

‘Not bad’ . What does that actually mean?  Are you not bad? Are you not good? Then what are you? Your personal mindset starts with your self-talk and your personal beliefs.  If you wake up tomorrow morning and you look out of the window to see it’s raining and cold and say ‘today is going to be a miserable day’ because it’s raining and cold, then there’s a good chance it will be…but it’s not actually miserable, it’s just raining!

Make things work for you!

Planning and structure can help create a positive mindset. Just because we are at home in lockdown, doesn’t mean we can stop trying, stop caring. Create daily routines and rituals that help you get through the day. Commit to making your bed every morning. Commit to a certain time to exercise. Having focus and having a plan will help you avoid the ‘lows of lockdown’. Try and find at least 30 minutes a day, every day, to invest in your own personal development. Find small wins every day!

No longer can we use the excuse “I don’t have time!” Guess what – now you DO have time! What is stopping you from investing in 30 minutes every day, whether that be a TEDTalk or a YouTube video or a chapter of a book or article that will help you develop and change your mindset.

Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset

Fixed mindset vs Growth Mindset

The diagram above illustrates lots of ways to get yourself into a growth mindset, providing you with an opportunity to move forwards and create new opportunities.

Carrol Dweck has done amazing work in this field.  Check out this brilliant animation on YouTube –  which explains it perfectly.


If you are to turn this crisis into opportunity, you must work harder on yourself than ever before. There is a simple but effective quote by Jim Rohn which states: 

“Never wish life was easier, wish you were better.’

Start to think about some of the things we’ve mentioned so far around your planning, decision-making, making more objective v’s subjective decisions. What are your current skills, beliefs, values, identity and what does your learning look like?

Why not create a simple learning log and commit to your 30 minutes of learning every day? As we approach the potential relief to lockdown, why not challenge yourself to think about what the next 90 days may look like for you. Work backwards and create a plan to get you to your own goal. Hopefully this will result in many opportunities from what undoubtably has been a major crisis!