Rear view of someone facing into dramatic storm over the sea.

Instincts of bison tell them to face into the storm

Bison are magnificent animals that roamed our Western plains in huge numbers, until over-hunted by white hunters more than a century ago. The weather on the plains can be harsh, blowing snow by winter and wind-driven dust storms in the spring and summers. Yet these mighty beasts persist.  When faced with a storm they turn into it. Their instinct tells them that if they face into the storm and keep walking, they will get through it faster…and they will.

Storms come in all shapes and sizes

We all face storms. Some are big ones, like losing a job or a major account. Others are small, like learning a new CRM or working with a challenging employee. Whatever it is, it’s something we wish we didn’t have to deal with. It may be an irritant, or it could be career threatening.

Tony Robbins says, “Face the brutal facts.  Not better than they are NOR worse than they are”.

Separate the emotional story from the facts

Jean is an award-winning professor, skilled department chair, and highly regarded academic in the field. Yet her department is being eliminated by the very  administration that recruited her just a few years ago. She got the news two months ago and has another three months to “find a new home.” She has exhausted attempts to re-negotiate. Yet she continues to try to understand the decision.

Facing into the storm for Jean meant separating the emotional story from the factual one.  

I’m hurt, angry, scared. 

I’m concerned for my reputation. 

I hate the feeling that I’ll have to start over. 

All of those are legitimate feelings and responses. They are NOT facts. Recognizing and feeling the feelings is a necessary part of facing the storm, but it’s easy to get stuck there. DON’T.

What storm are you facing right now? Stop and write it down, it can be big or little.

Help yourself turn into the storm by asking the following questions:

  • What is the emotional story?  How do I feel?   (It’s OK to stomp, yell, cry, hit a pillow, or whatever.)
  • What are the brutal facts of my situation?
  • What is the outcome I want?  How do I want it to look once the storm has passed?
  • When the storm has passed and I’ve achieved my outcome, how will I feel?
  • What are the resources I have – these are your own talents, contacts, friends, time, access, and more.
  • What are the next five steps in moving forward and how soon can I take them?

Let me know how it goes.

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About The Author

Elizabeth B. Crook's picture

Elizabeth B. Crook is CEO of Orchard Advisors. For over twenty years, she has worked with CEO's and entrepreneurs to think and act strategically to grow their companies' bottom line and have more overall satisfaction. She has a gift for making sense of complex situations and mapping them so creative and practical approaches emerge. Clients speak of her insight, skill, authenticity, and willingness to ask the hard questions in a gentle way. 

She is also the bestselling author of Live Large: The Achiever’s Guide to What’s Next. Recent media features include ForbesFast CompanyDaily WorthPBS Next AvenueThrive Global, Conscious Company, and BetterBook Club.

A mother, grandmother, and ardent hiker, she lives on Music Row in Nashville. 

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