How Do You Handle Crisis?

imagesIt’s time for some self-disclosure.  I learned something about crisis this weekend. Here’s the story:

My wife and I were excited to be a part of the wedding of a couple that we have done pre-marital counseling for over the past number of months, and I was officiating the ceremony about an hour from our home.

We spent the weekend with the family and friends, and were excited for the wedding to begin.  I had timed our departure from the hotel to coincide with the end of the World Cup game and needing to be at the wedding venue in time to finish any last-minute details.   We were dressed, walking out of the door of the hotel and I bent down to look for the keys to the car, and my pants ripped.

Yes, they ripped.  Not just a small rip, but the entire fabric came apart.  Remember, I was the officiant for the wedding, was wearing a suit, and was about an hour from the start of the wedding.

Crisis had come.  I froze.  I freaked out.  I panicked.

I asked my wife if anyone would notice, and she affirmed that the whole world would notice.

I grabbed a pair of jeans, grabbed anything else I could find and we ran for the car.

My wife however was calm.  She assured me that we would figure this out.  She found a store about 2 1/2 miles away.  She kept telling me that we would be fine, and she reminded me to drive cautiously as I raced to the mall.

We found the mall, and after going to the wrong store, and having to run through the mall with my pants completely split open, we walked into the store, and my wife told the lady attending that we had a crisis.

Within 10 minutes:

– I had a new pair of pants that were an exact match for my suit, in fact they fit better!

– The pants were exchanged at no charge because the fabric just came apart!

– We were walking back to our car, and heading to the wedding venue, arriving just 15 minutes later than we had planned.

It was amazing!  Of course, we shared the story with a couple of people and we laughed about it.  My wifes biggest regret is that she didn’t get a picture of me running through the mall with my pants split open.

Crisis!

How do you handle crisis?  I learned some things this weekend:

#1)  When crisis hits, don’t PANIC.  Panic doesn’t help.  It doesn’t help you think clearly, it doesn’t help you address the crisis.

#2)  Make sure to have people around you that are in CONTROL.  My wife was amazing.  She calmed me down, did what needed to be done, figured out a solution, and assured me that it would all work out.  We need people around us to help us.  I was surprised by my “panic” but was grateful for her “control” in the midst of it.

#3)  Look for multiple OPTIONS.  In this situation we talked about things that we could do:  I could walk backwards into the wedding venue, and not turn around for the entire time; I could wear jeans with my suit and hope no one would notice; I could find another pair of pants that might look OK (remember, you don’t want to take attention from the bride); My wife could have officiated the wedding ceremony; We could have just run away and come up with an excuse later.  Some of these options were OK, some weren’t, but it’s important to think through any options and figure out what might work on the fly.

#4)  You have to LAUGH about it. We laughed.  My wife laughed more than I did, especially as she texted our kids with the story and regretted having a good picture. When crisis hits, sometimes you just have to step back and realize it’s not the end of the world.  You will get through it.  You may not be able to laugh about every crisis situation, but it helps to just stop and remember that you will make it.

By the way, the wedding was beautiful, my suit worked out great and my wife and I had an incredible adventure and we are still laughing at the CRISIS that we overcame.

What crisis are you facing today?  How will you react?

*Dedicated to my wife Gina and her handling of my “wedding crisis”!

wedding

Russ Cline has wide experience in church, mission, and global leadership. Beginning in the local church in Southern California, then moving to Ecuador for 16 years to be a part of launching three distinct organizations, Russ is now back in Southern California working with Extreme Response International in providing leadership coaching and organizational development to leaders around the world. Russ' passion is to come alongside organizations and to help them identify areas of growth, focus and change, resulting in greater impact and effectiveness. Russ graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business and Christian Education and completed his graduate work in Organizational Development. He has been married for 29 years to Gina, and they have three kids: Rheanna, Riley and Raylin. Write directly to Russ at: rcline@extremeresponse.org www.extremeresponse.org www.leadermundial.org twitter: leadonesource, leadermundial

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