In the Midst of Chaos

By Brian Wood


“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” – Sun-Tzu

At the risk of sounding like “Captain Obvious” – we are currently surrounded by chaos!

But make no mistake about it: This is your time.

You were built for right now and at this very moment you need be your best.

This global pandemic is big but it’s not bigger than you and your ability to lead.

It’s easy for a world class athlete to perform when his/her team has a comfortable lead, every play is being executed to perfection and the game plan is working swimmingly.  It’s also easy to lead when you’re fully staffed with a talented team, no market disruptions exist and there is an overflow of lucrative long-term contracts and leads.

But when things get ugly (i.e. now), the need to perform at a high level is critical and your leadership is on display front and center.  The difficulty of dive is exponentially greater in our current environment.  But the potential to create powerful and positive impact beyond this crisis is exceptional.

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been” – Wayne Gretzky

 So now it’s a different ballgame.  Life as an entrepreneur during social distancing is upside down.  But similar to other personal and professional circumstances, it’s not what happens, but how we choose to react.  Where is the puck going in your world and what adjustments can be made to provide clients with value?  Let’s assume this is the new normal.  What do client needs look like?  I realize that everyone has a different market and types of clients but here some thoughts connected to mine.

Client needs include:


Most organizations (including those with employees currently deemed essential) are responsible for ensuring specific, consistent and effective training is conducted with their teams.  This can include required topics such as environmental and safety training, which are pre-requisites for compliance.  With a very limited number of employees able to participate at the same time based on social distancing guidelines, the logistics of conducting several more meetings can be a nightmare!

Athlete Transition

Professional athletes are like superheroes when they compete, but their collective kryptonite could involve the game their passionate about, being unavailable.  Professional sports teams provide support to assist with this transition. And there is also an opportunity to enhance these efforts with external resources such as certified professional coaches and assistance with success coaching (away from the game), social responsibility and life coaching with the players circles of influence.

Learning and Development

If you quit on the people in your organization, there’s a good chance they will quit on you!  Progressive organizations make sure employees feel valued and remain loyal by investing in them with learning and development opportunities.  This includes executive coaching, communication skills, leadership, organizational culture and social styles.

The cost of not investing in personal and Organizational Development opportunities, during times of crisis – could prove extremely costly in the form of employee engagement, turnover, TRIR, talent acquisition, talent retention, EBITDA and other KPI’s.

Client solutions include:

  1. Instructional Design resources to accommodate mandatory/compliance training needs.
  2. Additional (certified professional coaches) secured to support more athletes in transition.
  3. Expanded E-Learning platform to include an array of additional options for client support:  
Strategic vs. Tactical Thinking Emotional Intelligence in Action Toughest Leadership Challenges
Coaching Conversations Ethics in the Workplace Managing Organizational Conflict
Critical Thinking Leading Through Change Leadership Approaches
Crossing Cultures Building Trust Meeting Management
Laser Focused Listening Managing Up Managing Remote Employees

Keep in mind, these are examples of what I’ve done.  The point is that you have to adjust, you have to pivot.  The only way you lose is to take no action and simply accept the current situation.  Use your imagination, creativity and awesomeness!

“Sometimes I forget putting myself first isn’t selfish but necessary” – Anonymous

Feeling down during these uncertain times is not a crime.  Are you anxious (scared)?  Concerned about your family, your business and/or the future?  Me too!

But know this.  These reactions are perfectly understandable and rational.  However, remaining in this mindset long term will not serve us or anyone we lead.  Think abundance and possibilities – not scarcity.  What CAN be done?  Take action by recognizing the thoughts that don’t serve you and snap out of it.  One method is to wear a rubber band around your wrist and literally “snap” it – when you catch yourself thinking in a negative or defeated manner.  Replace negative thoughts with ideas that move you closer to your vision.  More images and visualization of extreme success and productivity, while ensuring self-care.

Get up early and beware of micro quits (they lead to macro quits).  Hitting the snooze button on your alarm device is a micro quit, which can give you permission to quit bigger item opportunities later in the day.

Move – Go for a walk, stretch, lift weights, anything but planting yourself in front of the TV and getting your time and energy gobbled up by negative news. Imagine how differently you’ll feel if you replace the news with inspiring music and/or motivational words.  I’m a big fan of Impact Theory, which enables me to get a peek at the habits of the most successful people from all industries.  Also include Blinkist in my routine, which is an app for 20-minute audio book summaries.

Attire – Dress in a way that inspires you and elevates confidence as opposed to mailing it in by wearing pajamas all day!

Fuel – You’re physical and mental wellbeing requires you to fuel your body with the right nutrition including hydration.

Support – Determine who is in most need of your support.  This can be a phone call, text message, email or face to face (that was a test – no face to face – social distancing!).  By helping others, we support ourselves.

Reflect – Meditate, prayer, journal, sitting in silence are all elements of mindfulness.

Experiment with the routine that works best for you but just make sure you execute your plan until it becomes a habit.   Remember that every habit that you bake into your routine moves you a little closer or further away from your desired outcome.  Choose wisely!

Please let me know if I can support you with anything, including the following projects I’m working on:

  • Free consultation call concerning any organizational needs I can support while we adjust to the current new normal. This includes options such as Instructional Design, gamification, virtual learning and development platforms with support tools (i.e. learning and development on-the-spot lifelines).
  • During these crazy times, there is more “stuff” to process (we all have “stuff”). Although it may seem like you’re alone, please know that you are valued and loved. If you’re in a strange place based on the recent and dramatic global events, text me at any hour and I’ll do my best to support you while we get through this together.

Wishing you and yours the very best during these surreal times.  Remember that historically, there have been some devastating setbacks creating huge obstacles in our country.  But each time there have been people and businesses who have emerged and thrived.  Why not us?



Brian Wood is the previous Chairman of The Board for the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.  With 30 years of experience at American Airlines and Waste Management, he combines a Corporate perspective with his background as an athlete and a certified professional coach to provide clients with unique support and guidance toward the next level of greatness.

Founder of MARS Coaching, Brian was certified as a professional coach (leadership, success and transition) through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching.  He uses a model that identifies the mindset and energy that is constructive while attacking the opportunities to convert catabolic thinking.   Brian is enthusiastic about helping people find their passion, leverage their gifts while identifying and achieving their definition of success.

Passionate about continuous personal growth and organizational development, Brian continues to support major corporations, professional sports organizations and municipalities.  He provides confidential, professional and discreet executive coaching, online learning resources and leadership assessments with customized summaries and action plans.

He is also an executive coach with the American Express Leadership Academy – hosted by the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and nonprofit innovation.

Additionally, Brian is a:

  • A Mentor with New Pathways for Youth
  • A certified Player Agent with FIBA, the NBA and WNBA Players Associations
  • A certified Leadership Circle Profile practitioner
  • A graduate of Valley Leadership
  • An international Speaker
  • Co-author of bestselling book – “Journey of Riches”
  • Featured in the upcoming movie “Adversity” – scheduled to be released in Q4 2020

Originally, from NJ, Brian earned his BA in Communications from William Paterson University and earned his MBA in 2014 from the University of Phoenix.  He loves travel, community involvement, adventure, generating positive influence and “the experience” of life.  Also loves spending time with his wife Vivian and kids – and watching them compete in sports and life.

Call Brian at 602-733-4864.


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