How to embrace a crisis and turn it into an opportunity

Most of the time, ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’ are two sides of the same coin. Which would you choose to embrace?

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A crisis is typically viewed very negatively, perhaps because it means we’re very likely going to have to deal with drastic change. Most of us are simply more comfortable with what we’re already used to, and abhor having to re-orientate ourselves. It can also be daunting to start from the ground up again. Yet, as we all know, change is the only constant and sometimes, things can deviate greatly from their intended route! And, it is the unpredictable nature of life which makes it interesting – Very often, it’s through experiencing varied circumstances that we grow the most.I’m no stranger to this phenomenon. In my upcoming book, The Big Jump into Crisis Ready Mindset, I share  the moment my impressive, once-thriving tech enterprise began its rapid decline. Unbeknownst to me, before Icould calculate my next move, or even process the bitter truth that my business was failing, local newspapers were planning to run a story positioning me as one of Asia’s most influential women.It was at the exact moment of collapse that they reached out to me in hopes of securing an interview. As if I wasn’t already feeling immense stress and completelydistraught at how incompetent I felt I was as a business leader, I now had to announce that my ‘success’ was in fact an aborted IPO and a company that was in the midst of being liquidated.It felt as though there were conspirators who were bent on making her my miserable! -There was nothing more that could be done, or was there? In the minutes that followed a private melt-down, I underwent an astounding transformation, where at the end of the hour, I was back on my two feet, hands determinedly locked and gaze held high. With renewed confidence, I engaged the journalists and told my story without shame or self reproach.

This is why at my company Talent Leadership Crucible, we believe in miracles in face of setbacks. Click here to register your interest and I’ll send you a soft copy of my new book so you can find out for yourself how I turned this crisis into an opportunity!

So, in the midst of such arbitrariness in life and business, is there something stable we can hold on to? Actually, yes! What I had decided to do to recover from failure and thrive, you can too.The trick is to adopt a crisis-ready mindset. Which means that we can always train our minds to extract the benefits of any given situation, no matter how seemingly terrible or tragic.How do we become crisis-ready? Like most things, it is a process, which I have broken down into the four steps below.

Gaining Awareness

When you are able to profoundly analyse and acquire deep knowledge on yourself and your environment, you are aware. You will able to understand the cause and effect of events, the inner workings of different variables, and how they will impact potential outcomes. Being aware is being in a state of elevated consciousness.

As Sun Tzu says, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

By going beneath the surface, we become privy to all the factors that played a part in creating the present, be it the manner of which the parties involved reacted, decisions that were made, thought processes and so on. Things hardly appear out of thin air! There are always precursors to an event taking place, and hence with this awareness, we are able to properly identify them.

This is also important because it lays the foundation for the second step.


If a crisis has happened in your life, it is inevitable that you had a part to play in it. Even if you didn’t actively do anything, unfortunately sometimes this is exactly it! Some situations actually require your proactiveness, and if you choose to do nothing while the ball is in your court, it can be what causes everything to derail.Before I dive further into this subtopic, I’ll need to disclaim: Please do not see this as the shifting of blame onto you. My intention is to let you realise how much control you really have, even in the throes of a disaster.Some of us might have the automatic instinct to shirk responsibility for the crisis by adamantly refusing to accept that we have contributed to it at all, perhaps for fear that we are to be blamed for what went wrong. Contrary to this belief, doing so only puts one at a disadvantage because we can only start making changes once we discover what is within our own circle of control. This also means taking accountability for our past follies.This acceptance allows us to enter a reflective state from a previously reactive one. So now, instead of using up all our energy to react emotionally towards what has occurred, we can focus it on moving forward and making the best out of what we do have.So, own up and own it!

Taking Action

For thoughts to be significant, where the mind goes, the body has to follow. The whole point of brainstorming and reflecting is to determine what we should do as we move on. Our takeaways pave the road forward, but of equal importance is us embarking on the journey. This may come in the form of refreshed attitudes, strategies, choices, approaches and more. Essentially, we are now doing things completely differently from how we used to before.

Only then will new outcomes be produced – After all, Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

At this point, the problem is slowly dissolving into the background as possible solutions take shape. Be excited!

Embrace Actualisation

Prepare for the dawn of a new era! You have put in the mental, physical and emotional legwork, and now it’s time to reap what you’ve sowed. Fresh adventures await you. It’s likely that this experience has also helped you grow; You are not the same person as when you were figuring out Step 1.While you are celebrating this, don’t forget to do a recap from this new vantage point. After the fog has cleared and the sun shines through, we can easily assess our whole endeavour from the crisis to the blooming opportunities. The lessons we’ve learned along the way become more apparent in retrospect, which allow for new formulas we can apply to future setbacks. By doing so, we sharpen our adaptive abilities and will be able to better resolve issues faster as time goes by.Remember that regardless of how the endpoint turns out, the journey is just as crucial.You may go through the 4-Step Crisis Ready model many times in life, and that’s completely fine. Fate has a penchant for dealing us the strangest cards sometimes.Last but not least, do not mistake failures for endings, nor should you view failure as unwanted or totally unacceptable. They are often just new beginnings in disguise, and it is up to you to sieve out their value instead of letting fear and negative perceptions overwhelm you.Even the most successful entrepreneur has had their fair share of hardship. The pathway to their triumph would not have been a bed of roses because they would have had to rely on failures as feedback to fine-tune their product or service. Crises and failures are all impossible to avoid, and are often times vital to spur our development and success.We are not the fiascos we encounter, but rather we are the way we respond to them. When was the last time you thought you were fighting an adversary you couldn’t win, but you did? Big or small, let’s celebrate your wins!

Share with us in the comments below what difficulties and crises you’ve overcome.

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Share a situation where you have changed your perception of a setback and thus managed to recover and get back on track!

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