The road ahead is foggy. Our path is uncertain. Worrying about what might be around the corner will sabotage our ability to make the most of today. It doesn’t happen on accident. We need a strategy.

A year ago this week, 12 women attended the inaugural Life Strategy Design Retreat with 360 Life Strategies. The focus of the weekend was to chart a path to our purpose and design a strategy to get from here to your imagined future.

What happens when you come across an unprecedented land mine in your path? How do you fashion a new idea of what’s normal?

I remember one woman in particular and telling me that it felt scary at her to put her life purpose on paper. That created an important learning moment for me that’s also giving me and my coaching clients tremendous freedom. We all have enough light on our path do what’s right in front of us. All the paths that we designed last year have necessarily changed because of the current global COVID 19 pandemic. Does that mean that our purpose has changed? Maybe. Maybe our purpose is being refined and we’re being called to readjust, to create a new definition of normal for a period of time.

Let’s make this practical. I’ve been curating strategies from a number of articles over the past few days that I want to share with you as you create your own new normal.

  • Be prepared for the amygdala hijack. Your brain is created to protect you from danger. The amygdala is the part of your brain that helps you survive if you need to run from a hungry wild animal. When all the blood goes to the amygdala, it drains the blood from the prefrontal cortex where rational processing happens. You need to recognize when you are undergoing an amygdala hijack and learn to switch that blood flow to the decision making part of your brain. This Harvard Business Review article gives some very practical ways to calm your brain in a panic.
  • Analyze your options. Shadow CEO and Small Business Expert Athan Slotkin says the first thing a small business should do in a crisis is “analyze your burn rate.” Make sure the success factors are clear so you’re making an informed decision. His list of things to do reminded me how useful it was for me to take my anxiety about income and create a budget, as if creating an invitation to the Universe (I happen to know the Creator on a first-name basis) saying, “When the money comes, here’s how I’ll spend it.”
  • Do the next right thing. When the rug of normal is pulled out from under you, it’s time to triage your next move. If the options seem insurmountable, it’s time to get them on paper. John Xie, Co-Founder and CEO – TASKADE, sent me a free trial of his mind-organization app. That’s not what he calls it, but actually as I played around with writing down my lists of things to do, I felt my anxiety decrease.
  • Make failure your friend. I often tell my students I’ve made nearly every mistake in the book, so I’m qualified to teach on how to turn failure into opportunity. I’m a student of John Maxwell, who wrote a book called Failing Forward. We have to remember everything that is “failing” right now is a product of a confluence of factors outside of our control. It’s worthless to berate ourselves for things happening to us. It’s more useful to see what’s happening in us. Look for the lesson in your current failure or road block and move forward with gratitude.

I’m gonna stop with these five things because I’ll bet you already have an idea what you want to tackle right. now. If you are still hungry for help and direction, here’s wisdom from one of my mentors. Online marketing expert Amy Porterfield sent me this guide that I will share with you because, even if you are not creating an online product right now, if you don’t know Amy, you’re missing out. In this free guide, you’ll learn How to Be Productive Working From Home During Times of Uncertainty.

The road ahead is foggy. Our path is uncertain. Worrying about what might be around the corner will sabotage our ability to make the most of today. Create your strategy with the tools you have now. Make yourself a two week plan and plot a date to reevaluate. Remind your amygdala who’s in charge her and design the life the way you want to live it.


  • Donna Carlson

    Women's Leadership & Life Strategy Coach

    360º Life Strategies

    Women comprise 56% of the workforce but so many of us don't ask for what we want. Why is that? After a 30 year career accepting second best, living like a race horse held behind the start gate, Donna Carlson changed her strategy from being a thermometer - reflecting the mores of the world around her - to being a thermostat. Now Donna coaches women to own their personal style and leadership power.