Stop. Look. Listen: Navigating through instability.

As kids we were told how to cross streets and intersections in order to prevent being hit by passing vehicles. We were taught to be aware of the signs along the way. We were taught that the red, octagonal sign means to come to a stop. After we have stopped, we were taught to look both ways (or all ways) while also giving our attention to the sounds we hear. In doing those steps, we are analyzing the environment to make a decision about what our next steps should be.

As our world witnesses and feels the impacts of the #Coronavirus or #COVID-19, it is necessary that we resurrect the basic principles we were taught as children in order to navigate through the current uncertainties. Wash your hands before you proceed. 🙂

Stop. Decide. What is the goal or objective you hope to see as a result of the steps you are taking? If you are unsure of the goal or objective, it would be wise to pause here to avoid potential unintended consequences. Taking a pause is natural and can serve as an opportunity to consider what it is you are trying to accomplish. Generally speaking, you can pause here until you have the clarity you need to move forward. However, given that some things are time-sensitive you should know that and factor that in when deciding how much time you want to spend in contemplation. This is where you seek counsel.

Oftentimes, clients know what they do not want to occur but have difficulty expressing what it is they actually want to occur. We can pontificate about the reasons why this phenomenon occurs but what is clear is that we must have a goal or objective and a plan in order to move forward. For this reason, and to facilitate clarity, I encourage my clients to remove the emotional attachment they may have to the outcome for a moment to consider their goal or objective. This is where many people get stuck.

Look. Take stock of the tools you have through the lens of the goal you are trying to accomplish. Whether your goal is to start, build, grow, or just to survive, it is usually less work if you have proper support. This support can be family, friends, your lawyer or any other relationship or tool that can assist in getting to the goal. This is where you must know your personnel, so to speak.

Listen. Assess the skills and functionality of each person on your team and the tools at your disposal. Is the team in agreement with the goals and objectives as specified? If not, where are the areas in which there is agreement and what type of environment must exist for this agreement to have the most benefit to the overall goal or objective–taking the steps to carry out the goal should not stand in the way of the goal itself. This is where many often put holes in their own ships.

Just as not every tool is a hammer, not every team member will serve the same function but each does have a function. This is where collaboration and team building is essential.

Whether it is choosing a business structure, getting married, having children, building a legacy, disputing a contract provision, or getting a divorce, in order to navigate through uncertainties, having the right team and tools are key. So, if you feel like you are swimming in open waters and the waves are enough to make you sea sick, hold on to what is stable and consistent. That is where you build your foundation and this is where you come up for air.