Not every crisis is real and it’s important to know the difference. Without knowing the difference between a real crisis and a fake crisis, you’ll end up doing a lot of work, a lot of hurting, all the while misdirecting you time for nothing.

A crisis needs to stand for something. You don’t want a personal Vietnam. An ugly war, a challenge that has no hope and no chance of success from the outset.

So how do you know if a crisis is real or not? This is a very difficult question to answer because you and I are different and our lives are completely different, but there are some signs and universal tips that help us discern whether we need to engage in our crisis.

There is a major difference between a family crisis and a professional crisis. It’s very important for us to know where the fire is, what’s at stake, so we can put it out. A crisis in the family may result in a very deeply personal loss. Someone who shares your DNA or is related to you by marriage might be battling cancer, or might have been hit by a drunk driver, or worse, they might have had a temporary lapse of reason and eloped with a frizzy haired clown and joined an unsavoury travelling circus. A professional crisis on the other hand, threatens our kind of important ability to continue being employed or it aims at the future and threatens to stunt our ability to hold more powerful and impactful position in the future.

A family crisis is more emotionally draining and complicates our closest relationships moving forward, while a professional criss can wreak havoc on our ability to earn a living, but in the long run, there are other jobs to be had, and plenty of things we can do in order to make money. A family crisis it seems, trumps anything that may be going on at work, yet this is not what many people choose to focus on. They often ignore their families, their spouse, their children or elderly parents, and focus on putting out fires for their company, because its easier, but that company often cares more about productivity than their well being.

Choosing to get involved in a crisis in inevitable, and we have to begin to see them as an opportunity for change and a moment of truth. But the problem with a good crisis is that there is rarely just one. In any given day or week, we battle and face several crisis like battles and for this reason it is important to figure out signs which ones are made up.

Time seems to be the best indicator and if you’re going to die as a result of doing something or not doing something is another one. If something is not going to kill you and if you have some more time to adjust and change your mind than the crisis might just be made up.

Most of the memos and infinite stack of changes that need to be implemented by yesterday are of this kind of variety. We spend a lot of our day in meetings, being unproductive and made to listen to presentations for presentations sake, and then we are released into the wild, with a disingenuous sense of urgency that shouldn’t have been there in the first place, if our time and abilities were respected in the first place.

Death and time, that is the best indicator of a fake crisis and let them be your guiding light.

If there are no frizzy haired clowns sneaking around your house late at night, you are probably fine. Likewise, if your company or boss does little to promote your well being or treat you as a human being on a regular basis, than treat the importance of the work you are asked to do, and the crisis you are being dragged into, likewise, and don’t lose your life over it.


Cover photo generously provided by photographer Luke Stackpoole via