Innovating thru Crisis

Let’s begin with making sure we are all on the same page in understanding the meaning of this blog and the words used in the title.


make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.”the company’s failure to diversify and innovate competitively”

And if you thought innovating had to look a certain way, well, let go of that thought before you read on.


a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.”the current economic crisis”
a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.”a crisis point of history”
the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.

We are at the dawn of a new era. Change is upon us all.
New ways of life have been put into place and all are learning to adapt and adjust.

I want to begin by saying that I personally have tremendous faith in humanity and our ability, working together, to solve the most complex of challenges. I believe with a “WE” mindset, positive attitude, and solution based focus we achieve what we seek I have a strong interest in applied behavior science systems combine that with being a student of history and science which leaves me contemplating “EVERYTHING”. The global pandemic (slow the spread) has allowed me the chance to contemplate the deeper meaning behind the crisis and the opportunities that it presents.

It is important for me to note that what I am sharing here is intended to be my story, my awareness, as well as the bigger, broader awareness to seeing the opportunity present before us all.


Crisis creates many things, one is SHOCK. The most common feeling and emotion associated with shock is FEAR.
Uncertainty takes us back to the first levels of human needs, as Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs displays. My personal experience with fear in my own life, is that fear does not motivate any solutions, in fact, it obscure them. While every situation requires it own approach, my knowledge and experience has shown me over and over again, in my own life and in others, there is greatness and power found in “Maintaining Calm in the Midst of Chaos”. In fact, this was the title of my most delivered topic both speaking and training in 2019.

I think it’s fair to say we have all experienced the rollercoaster of emotions from deep fear to love and compassion; from doubt and uncertainty to faith and opportunity during the pandemic. 

A deeper understanding of FEAR will allow you to be aware of what goes on beneath the scenes and how fear can actually limit us and our abilities.

Physically it triggers the “fight or flight” syndrome and prepares the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release hormones to support the attack. In the face of something frightening, your heartbeat quickens, your pre-frontal cortex shuts down, and your entire body becomes tense and ready to take action, more blood and oxygen is sent to the muscles than to the brain.

Mentally, fear activates the reptilian brain and limits your ability to reason, assess and make decisions. Feeling like a “deer in headlights”, an inability to move or think clearly.

Further effects of fear can create chronic stress which can lead to (mental and emotional changes) mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, bipolar disorder, cognitive (thinking) problems, personality changes, and problem behaviors.

We have the ability to release our (mental / emotional) attachment to what is going on outside of us, if only for a moment, and find the stillness of the present. Surprisingly, stillness allows the mind to focus, to pay attention the detail as well as, to see the bigger picture. Here is where I am most appreciative of my mindfulness practices and my diligence in creating new habits, rituals, and routines in and around activities that still and quiet the mind.

In the stillness they found power and strength.

This quote by Victor Frankl, is one I have contemplated often, and best describes this place of stillness.

There is a choice here for all, fear or love? Fear will hold us stuck, firm in the chaos of the crisis, suffering. Love opens us up to more of what’s to come, to hope, to compassion, to opportunity, and inspired action. If you’ve heard me speak on “Your INNER Power” or coached with me, you are mastering your ability to choose your focus.

Crisis creates uncertainty, urgency, and a turning point.

Next, we will further explore crisis and how it creates a need for urgency. Urgency to implement, to change, to adapt.
Urgency to respond, react, and make critical decisions.

I can break this down into EDUCATE – ENGAGE – EMPOWER.

EDUCATE – this is where you gain a greater understanding of the crisis through your research and education through history, with updated data, and new resources available, preferable with a team of leaders. You will need to focus on the solution, clarify consequences, and create a picture of hope and light as you work TOGETHER to get thru this.

ENGAGE– This is where you share the Urgency and your response to it with your people. When engaging others it is important that the message be:

  • CALM and Supportive
  • Specific – New Policy, New Procedure, Beginning When
  • Reduce Concussion – have a plan of action to address mindset/questions/concerns
  • Clarify the opportunity here for all

To empower others is to educate and engage them, here are ways I promote empowerment. Empowering others in:

  • your plan of action
  • your vision for the future
  • your power to persevere
  • your belief in them
  • your support along the way

TURNING POINT – Time to Pivot
Every life, every business will pivot at some point or another. It happens when you get feedback from data, the environment or from those you’re serving and you change to better meet the needs and demands present.

Last week, I moved my home based office to the front of my house, where I could see outside to any activity or movement. (yes, the isolation has it’s pros and cons) As I did I began to see faces of those I had never seen. In my curiosity I walked outside and said hello. I introduced myself and shared that I too, enjoy walking and am surprised I had never seen them out before. To my surprise, they never walked before. They use to just sit home and watch TV. Lilly shared, It wasn’t until I felt I couldn’t that I knew I had to. She shared that this time of isolation was nothing new for her, as she lived a life of isolation, no friends or family or hobbies or interests. And yet, as it was being forced upon her, she felt the desires within arising. For her it was connecting back to the world, to the planet, people and community. She shared, that this is what she calls baby steps back to life and living.
Lilly reached a turning point in her life, it was time to pivot.

How do we recognize the turning point, the time to pivot? We know we need to pivot, when life as we knew it has been disrupted, we have been stopped in our tracks, the former distractions of daily life have been taken away, as we are forced into stillness.

In the stillness, what hasn’t worked becomes obvious. In the stillness, we observe the way we treat the planet, each other, and ourselves as it is magnified to the extent that it can no longer be ignored. In the stillness, we feel the collective consciousness of the planet.

We have before us a great opportunity to solve a bigger problem in order to bring about positive change.

Collapse of Structures that No Longer Serve and the Emergence of a New Era.

Over the last decade I have seen the rise and introduction of spatial computing, telemedicine, live broadcasting, machine learning, virtual & augmented reality, and extensive video conferencing and communications online. Most of these technologies have been slow or stalled in overall adaption and implementation, until now.
Telemedicine has skyrocketed.
The video conferencing company, added 2.22 million monthly active users so far in 2020, while in 2019 it added 1.99 million, according to Bernstein’s estimates.

The lockdown imposed to avoid the spread of COVID-19 should make us think about our interface and connectivity with the world, and the opportunities to redefine them. It also has us thinking about what is important. It has us thinking about our HEALTH. Be it our physical well-being, the health of our body or our mental and emotional health. But do not forget our spiritual health.

This pandemic has presented, for those who know how to take advantage of it, a huge opportunity for digital transformation and for the redesign of many things.

The Dawn of a New Era”

One thing is for sure, we have all been presented with an opportunity to adapt. We have so many choices. This is a time to learn, to research, to explore, and to create. Look at what is no longer serving you and create anew.

So what does the future hold?
I guess you could say I have, rather optimistically, given away the ending. We are at a turning point, and there’s no going back. This will be an upbeat era of strengthening organizations, investing in personal growth, and implementing new methods, new technologies, and embracing a new beginning.

While it is scary as all get out, we have been presented with a remarkable opportunity.  A healthier you is at the forefront of our future.   Together, WE will come out of this stronger and better.


Donalee Gastreich – Contributor
Speaker – Trainer – Coach
Founder and CEO of Complete Solutions
She describes herself as an autodidact leader on applied behavior science systems that influence and impact profound personal advancement and cultural shifts that bring forth epic results.  She is spiritual, fun-loving, and optimistic.

She is the speaker for your next event in person or virtual, on-line. Her focus is to Educate, Engage, and Empower.  Donalee helps organizations invest in their greatest asset, their human capital. She facilities training and coaching programs that provide and train the human psyche to expand, to challenge themselves, and to develop new skills thus reaching higher levels of human performance and excellence. Key skills for developing in 2020 are adaptability, and higher consciousness “we are in a new era” with major focus on Health, Information/Education and Security.

Providing Marketing Services from consult, to creation, to the outcome you desire and messaging that creates brand recognition, education, awareness and engagement. Print, Promotional Products, Direct Mail.