Coronavirus Support: Psychology of Success During Difficult Times

Alister Gray, founder of Mindful Talent,  shares some advice on the importance of setting yourself up for the day ahead, leadership and staying calm and in control during difficult times..


It’s in moments of adversity that I’ve gained the greatest insight into who I really am as a leader and as a human being. Finding the opportunity in adversity – however uncomfortable or unenjoyable the situation feels – and adapting your mindset to find fortune in difficult moments often leads to personal and professional growth.


When experiencing adversity, we have a choice to make; we can respond and react from a place of fear (which is natural and normal as the brain attempts to keep us safe) or we can choose to view this as a great opportunity to define who we are in this moment and lead from a place of love – inspiring and motivating those around us to do the same.


How do we do it? Here are some ways which have helped me and my clients to thrive during challenging times…



Start Your Day Right


Through adversity, especially when working from home, it is easy to fall into the trap of giving away your power in the morning.


We find ourselves hitting snooze more regularly, we let go of the rituals and routines that serve us so well when the company is flying and the market is buoyant, we check emails, news and twitter first thing and we begin to unconsciously programme the mind with distractions and fear-based information before our day even starts… don’t fall into this trap.


The first hour of your day will dictate how you approach and perceive the rest of your day, so make it count.


Take time to ‘think’, meditate/breathe and to sit in silence. Allow yourself to visualise the day that lies ahead and consider what would make it extraordinary.


Don’t read or watch the news! You will be sucked into a vortex of fear and it will impact your mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.


Instead journal, and ask yourself these questions to set a powerful intention for your day:


  • Who do I wish to be today as a leader?


  • What can I do that will have the most positive impact on my team and those around me?


  • What would make today incredible?



Finding Opportunity in Adversity


Business is tough through downturns. During adversity, it is easy to become focused on the things we are losing, the things that are at risk and the scenarios we don’t wish to experience. We can become all-consumed by a scarcity mindset and if we’re not careful, we can lose ourselves in the world of “what-if’s”. Now I’m not suggesting we deny the reality of our situation, in fact the opposite, I believe the first step in gaining clarity is to practise absolute acceptance of our circumstances. Don’t resist it or deny it, but certainly don’t let it consume every thought during your waking hours. Instead, accept it and then consider how to defy it.


We have an incredible amount of resourcefulness and creativity as human beings and there is no better time to tap into this infinite source of potential and inspiration. Accept your circumstances, clear your mind and then move into a creative, abundant mindset.


Ask yourself:


  • What opportunities are available to us right now?


Tap into the collective mind of your team and host inspiring huddles that are intended to encourage new product innovation, creativity and business development. Find the opportunity in adversity.



Stay True to YOUR Vision and Unite as a Team


I have no doubt that your short-term vision and goals have changed. For some it’s a case of survival, for others the immediate outcome is more ominous. However, it’s important to stay true to your vision and your values. Remind those around you of the vision, purpose and values of the company and unite your team through your mission!


If the mission is more short-term, then that is ok. Communicate this clearly to the team and encourage them to come on board, take responsibility and to work together.


To move through moments of adversity, you need a team who are fully aligned and onboard! There is no better way to galvanise the hearts and minds of your people by reminding them of your purpose and your mission… remind them of your collective WHY.


“Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller


Lastly, remind yourself that the sky is always blue behind the clouds. This too shall pass and when it does, make sure you have used this experience to become stronger, wiser and more authentic as a leader.





About the Author:

As founder of Mindful Talent Alister Gray has worked with and helped 1000s of senior executives, CEO’s and Founders to help maximise mental health, wellbeing and performance in businesses, particularly in the face of change and adversity. Clients include Google, Nike, Dropbox, Converse, ghd, Tesco Bank, Sky, Virgin, Lululemon, Standard Chartered, JP Morgan, GHD, Heineken and KPMG.