How One Ukrainian CEO Uses Emotion as a Catalyst for Action


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During the war in Ukraine, I went through a major reassessment of my values ​​as an entrepreneur. It’s not just about worrying about the future of my country; there is concern for the safety of my team members and their families, as well as customers and partners. It is not easy to deal with this type of stress and keep moving forward.

It is important to remember a simple truth: any decision made out of fear is bad.

Military theorist Carl von Clausewitz often spoke of the importance of moral, psychological, and emotional factors during the war. Of course, wars are not just fought with tanks and missiles: the enemy directs his efforts to destroy the opponent from the inside out. One of their main goals is to spread panic and force the enemy to lose control, and the first thing we lose control of is our critical thinking.

In case of stress or panic, it is easy to “feed” the information and make people behave as one wishes. The more stress accumulates, the more difficult it is to achieve change or adapt to new developments and challenges.

Related: What does the invasion of Ukraine really mean for business

How to return stability and control to the computer

When you experience a crisis, it is extremely important to maintain your mental stability and restore a sense of control. Evolutionarily, the human brain is programmed for survival. This is why the uncertain and unknown future is difficult to process, as it is perceived as a potential threat that can be insurmountable. In these circumstances, entrepreneurs and company leaders have a dual responsibility: they need to know the direction to follow and guide the team along the way.

It is essential to keep in touch with your team, encouraging them to share their feelings and share yours in response. In the midst of the turmoil, the first thread to break is that of human relationships, as everyone feels lonely and lost. That is why on the first day of the war our organization made a call with the level C team. We had to give a signal: we are together, we know where we are going and we will face any difficulties.

We also started making weekly calls with the whole team to talk about company news and any strategic operational issues. As a result, the war strengthened our connection and brought the team closer.

If you are the team leader during a crisis, you can’t just say, “Everything will be fine.” You need to draw new and realistic boundaries of responsibility for the current situation and provide a sense of stability to everyone.

Related: The crisis in Ukraine is already having a major impact on the real estate sector

To take care of others, start by taking care of yourself

It is extremely difficult to balance business goals and social donation during a war or any crisis. I wanted to contribute everywhere, but I learned that dispersing in this way can only lead to exhaustion.

When in crisis, an entrepreneur must define his mission and focus on it. I realized that business is an important component of the economic frontier and Ukraine needs it like never before. My job was not only to focus on saving my business and people’s jobs, but also to make sure the company supported the Ukrainian economy.

All of this requires a significant amount of resources, both physical and psychological. You can’t give to others when you’re exhausted. Stress is a comrade in war that can corrupt all your inner resources. If you don’t treat it properly, stress will become chronic and annihilate you from within.

How do you treat emotions? To regain a sense of control over your life, you can set up an easy-to-accomplish task, such as cleaning or reading a book. Sleep, massage, aromatherapy, different mindfulness practices, yoga, anti-stress methods, any non-intensive physical activity, meditations, breathing practices, any relaxing hobbies or talking to your loved ones can also be helpful.

Chaos is a ladder

It may seem eccentric, but the war helped Ukraine take a journey of mental growth that would have taken decades to embark on otherwise. We have grown very psychologically, and now the whole world knows us for being brave and strong. Ukraine became a global brand, and this opened up thousands of opportunities for Ukrainian companies in the international market.

Any stressful situation can open the door to growth for an entrepreneur; it all depends on the emotion with which you approach it. Any decision made out of fear will be bad, but if you regain that control over yourself and soberly assess the new reality, you can see how any crisis opens up opportunities that were not previously available.

Take advantage of these opportunities not only to survive, but also to thrive. If you are the first person to join, you will win the competition. A crisis equals the odds between everyone and the right bet can yield great results in the future.



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