Night Terror
11-02-2015 at 02:58 PM
Category: Leadership

At 11:29 pm on a Sunday night, my wife and I were in bed just getting ready to fall asleep when the terror began. Okay, maybe “terror” is a bit extreme. It was somewhere between the “fairly frightening” to “freak me out” category. We heard a very deep rumble accompanied by our house rattling and the bed bouncing up and down. The whole incident lasted no more than two seconds. We both had the same reaction, “What was that?”

For those who have lived through this experience, you already know this was an earthquake. Earthquakes are frightening enough to those who live in an area that is prone to seismic activity and are expecting to experience one. What made this event more frightening for my wife and me was that earthquakes don’t happen where we live. We both grew up in the area and in the nearly half a century we have occupied this part of the planet, we have never experienced an earthquake. The closest we came was feeling the aftershock of an earthquake that happened hundreds of miles away. The event on this night was about twenty miles away. I knew in my mind that this had to be an earthquake but it didn’t make sense. Then I started thinking of more apocalyptic scenarios, such as a nuclear bomb, asteroid, end-of-the-world kind of stuff. Yes, I have watched too many of these kinds of movies…

Here’s the interesting part. In those two seconds, what was frightening was not the earthquake as much as it was the total lack of control over our environment. We were at the mercy of an event that we could not see or predict. All we could do was respond.

Did we respond with gathering up our child and standing under a door frame for protection? Nope. We got on social media to see if other people felt it too. A definite lack of disaster preparedness. At least in this respect.

In your leadership, do you ever have frightening moments like what I have described? As you lead your team, how do you respond to those events that you have no control over? Do you respond in anger? In worry? In frustration? Or do you respond with a calm confidence that focuses others to the immediate task?

I have found that successfully leading through a crisis requires me thinking through my response ahead of time. I must play out the scenario in my mind and mentally act out how I would handle it and the words I would say to my team. If something doesn’t seem right, I go over it again and tweak my response to get to the solution I am wanting.

You can’t prepare for every possible uncontrollable event in your leadership and life. You can, however, prepare how you will respond with your mindset, attitude, and words you will say. It’s what unstoppable leaders do. It’s what unstoppable organizations do. It’s time to step up your game!


Jeff Orr is a Personal Leadership Coach to Executives and Business Owners, Author, and Transformational Speaker. Through his coaching company, InDemand Leadership, Jeff empowers his clients to experience internal growth which then translates into sustainable external success. A dynamic and energizing speaker to corporations and groups, Jeff engages his audience through humor, real world stories, and a genuine care for the people he speaks to, helping them to build lasting success internally and externally. He is also author of the highly acclaimed book, Succeed In The New Normal.

Keywords: unstoppable leadership, unstoppable organizations, unstoppable leaders, terror, frightened, earthquake


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