Getting Through a Crisis with the 2+2+2 Method

A trusted six week week strategy to lift yourself out of a crisis pit, in readiness for forward motion

Fear, uncertainty and doubt challenge us all at different times. Melbourne, Australia

When I broke up with my first wife, the mother of my three children, it was a dark and harrowing time. The inability to see my children on a daily basis, and the sheer gut-wrenching reality that our family would never be “together” again, resulted in a long phase of doubt, dismay and sadness… There were many nights when I lay awake on a mattress on the floor of the home of nearby relatives, thinking I had made a very big mistake… I kept running every day, stopping on that bridge in the rain one day for long enough to let the grief, loss and self-doubt catch up with me.

The wonderful thing about moments in life that are so painful that they take your breath away is that they do exactly that. And for an instant, you have no choice but to stop breathing.

Valparaíso, Chile

The first 2 weeks

In the first 2 weeks, simply focus on yourself. Make this a genuine, 100% focus, not a distracted and half-hearted cousin of true focus. Take two weeks off work, cancel your appointments, and create some uninterrupted space for yourself. If you say it is too hard to do then consider that I did it while growing my own business. Its easier if you have a salaried job. It may seem like taking two weeks off work is something that does not fit in with your life plans (then again, whose life plan had set aside time for COVID-19?)— but before you rule it out, call three of your friends who have been though a crisis, and ask them whether they would swap their experience for the inconvenience of taking two weeks off. The first two weeks may be the best investment you ever make.

Toowoomba, Australia

The middle 2 weeks

In the second two weeks, focus on your children. If you don’t have any children, then focus on family or those that support you. Ideally, time this two week period to align with school holidays, or a two week period when your children can be in your care.

Two weeks, plus two weeks, is an insignificant amount of time to dedicate to clawing your way out of a pit of despair

The two weeks with your children, while fun for them, are really designed for you. It is possible that your children will not understand the great sacrifice you are making in taking time off, they hopefully will also not know of the internal turmoil that you are experiencing. The second two week period builds on the habits formed in the first two weeks and is for you to reconnect and re-establish a currency of engagement with your kids. It’s to re-set you psychologically, to let you and them know that even though things are different, you can create a new normal that will serve you all well in the future. It’s a way to remind your kids, that while you are not there every day, they have not lost a loving and supportive parent. You are still there for them.

Toowoomba, Australia

The last 2 weeks

After taking 4 weeks off while building the habit of self-love and connectivity with your children, your focus in the last 2 weeks shifts back to your work.

Toowoomba, Australia

After the 2 + 2 + 2

Ken Burns speaks of the Three Truths that he uses to guide him during difficult times:

Without physical fitness, there is no mental clarity; without mental clarity we won’t do our kids justice; without attending to our kids safety and wellbeing, we can’t focus on work; and without work, the system breaks down pretty quickly

The 2+2+2 Method became a mantra for our growing business: design the life you want to live by structuring your work around your commitments to yourself and your family. Almost two decades later, the same business continues on with the same philosophy. The loyal and well balanced lives that we have been able to support are a testament to the value of the 2+2+2 Method at scale.

Product Futurist. Thinking about product design, marketing, research, technology and tomorrow. Sharing lessons learned at thecoolermoment.thinkific.com

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