Somebody Call Olivia Pope

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In 2012 ABC released a new political drama series called Scandal credited to the creative genius of Shonda Rhimes. The show is set in Washington, D.C. It centers around Kerry Washington’s character Olivia Pope and her crisis management firm, Olivia Pope and Associates. Olivia Pope is known for “handling” the crisis for the privileged and elite in politics. Not to mention the show captures her scandalous affair with the handsome character Fitzgerald Grant, III, who happens to be the President of the United States.  Whew! 

Whenever someone in the political arena and beyond encounters trouble, Olivia Pope is on speed dial. She swoops in and offers a strategy to her clients that often involves spinning the narrative in the press, a complex matrix of lies, deceit, and ulterior motives. Did I mention that there’s been a dead body or two? Olivia’s team is diverse, and they are well trained. Outsmarting the opponent is their specialty. When Oliva’s clients call in a panic, she assures them with two words: It’s handled. 

Since March, we’ve been navigating unprecedented times as a country. With little information given initially and conflicting directions along the way, this has been a difficult time for many. I know that some of you have simply wanted to yell at the TV from your sofa while watching the news, “Can somebody call Olivia Pope already?”

The truth is, Olivia Pope is a TV character, and the news anchors can’t hear you. So, what do you do in real life right now? 

I want to offer some hope and a few things that may help you navigate this crisis in the days ahead. 

You are not alone.Yep. A lot of us have been trying to make sense of it all, and we’ve been coming up short.  The uncertainty concerning our health, the economy, the next few months have been constant thoughts for many people. So, while all of this has not been normal– navigating this crisis with many questions is more common than you think. 

You have questions. Answer them. Coaching women is my heart work. It’s also my side gig. In the corporate space, I work as a project manager for a destination management organization in the hospitality sector. COVID-19 has significantly impacted this industry as people aren’t traveling and have been adhering to stay-at-home orders So, yes, I’ve had questions about my job and what all of this will look like post-COVID-19. Well, one day, I decided to start answering the questions. 

Thought: What happens if I lose my job?

Answer: I’ll apply and find another job. 

Thought: What if the person in line at the grocery store has COVID-19? 

Answer: Stacey, what can you really do about that? You have on a mask. You’re doing your part to protect yourself. Make sure you’re social distancing. 

I’m not making light of any of this, but the questions are seeking an answer. Start talking back. I talk a little about this on the Let Me Find Out Podcast with Nikki Washington

Your thoughts are powerful. Use them. Your thoughts can be an agent to help you navigate a crisis or a weight to pull you into despair. One of the ways you can use your thoughts to help you navigate crisis is through meditation. I am a Christian, so for me, I use scriptures to meditate on. If you’re not a Christian, that’s fine too. Write down a positive affirmation and use it during your time of mediation. Speak it to yourself consistently, and over time it will become an anchor for you when your thoughts start to drift toward negativity. This time you’ll have something in your arsenal to bring your mind back to the center. Make sense? Don’t discredit the power of your thoughts. 

Navigating crisis is not as easy as we’d like it to be, but we will get through this! Some days will be lighter than others. Some days it will be easier to find joy in the new, simple things, like waking up a little later or having a meal with your family without interruptions. Other days, you may have to build memory muscle during meditation to keep yourself from giving in to the pressure that comes with the unknown. Please know that you’re not alone. God is with you! 

Now that I think about it, who needs Olivia Pope anyway? I’d put my money on you. Bet on yourself. Grab your thoughts, and put them to work.

It’s handled. 

Your friend and coach,

Stacey Joseph Harris

Becoming Resilient

Ok, let’s be honest here. Life isn’t always a bed of roses or 65 degrees and sunny. Sometimes there are occasional relationship thorns and decisions covered by overcasts and clouds. Giving in to the pressure is easier than we are willing to admit at times. So, how do you bounce back when you feel like each day keeps knocking the wind out of you? Well, can we first acknowledge that if you recall another day rolling around you didn’t go without wind for long? Yeah, that’s the power of a resilient mind. A mind that bounces back and refuses to stay down for long.

Resilient people have a different perspective about things. You know the friend you’ve labeled as Ms. Optimistic. She sees the good in everything. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Life is always showing in her favorite color. Well, perhaps she’s not just optimistic. She’s resilient. Over the years, I’ve experienced very hard times and times when it seemed like I was soaring. I had to learn to be resilient in both seasons. Resilience says that this doesn’t have to be the end. I know there’s a beginning underneath these circumstances. There’s a much bigger transaction taking place. I shouldn’t settle for what’s whirling around on the surface.

Resilient people train their thoughts to seek alternatives. In Project Passion Mentoring Institute, one month is centered on uncovering the counterproductive thoughts that hinder growth. We have control over our thoughts.  Our brains are trainable. We can teach our brain to seek alternatives by evaluating the thoughts that enter our mind and deciding which thoughts get to stay. In the good times, I’ve had to bounce back from the cynical thought that “something bad may come along and spoil this moment.” In the not so good times, I’ve had to bounce back from the sneaky thought that “this season is never going to end”. I had to replace each of those thoughts with truth. For example, if something good is happening in my life, I should choose to be fully engaged and present in the moment. It won’t be the last time I’ll experience that goodness, but I could miss out on it right now by giving attention to something that has NOT happened. When it comes to your thoughts, start by asking yourself two questions: 1) Is this true? 2) Is this thought helping me? Then you need to replace the thought with a true and helpful thought.

Resilient people embrace change. It’s easier to embrace change when you expect it. Life simply doesn’t happen in a straight line. There are often detours, rerouting, U-turns and new paths altogether. You should expect it! You should expect that sometimes the only way that you can experience growth in your life is when things start to change. The change increases your capacity. It stretches you and ultimately positions you to experience more than you ever could have if things would have stayed the same.

Resilient people have options. When one door closes, resilient people believe wholeheartedly that they will be turning the knob of another door soon enough. They don’t expect things to happen one way. Their approach to life involves problem solving, reasoning, earnest expectation, compromise and opportunity. So, yes 2 + 2 = 4
but 8 – 4 = 4 and so does 36/9. There are many ways to get there, they just need to look for the options.

Becoming resilient is the antidote for mediocre living. You can bounce back. Get up from there…I hear you breathing!

About Me Stacey

Stacey Joseph Harris