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Relational Intelligence at Work

How do you Control the Controllables in a Crisis?

How do you Control the Controllables in a Crisis?

Jeremie Kubicek

on January 16, 2024

Hey, it’s Jeremie Kubicek here.

We’re excited to have you for this week’s edition of the Relational Intelligence at Work newsletter, where every Tuesday you’ll get an email straight to your inbox from me or my business partner, Steve Cockram.

This newsletter's primary goal is to support you on your personal growth journey, and to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to excel as a leader.

So, let's dive in...

Before we get into the message, a quick word from today's sponsor:

Consider bringing Jeremie Kubicek, the co-founder of GiANT, into your team or organization to share the 5 Code Words of Communication and watch the performance of your teams improve overnight.

Go to jeremiekubicek.com and check out Keynote Topics for more information.)


I can still remember exactly where I was when it happened…

It was April 19th, 1995. It was around 9am back in Oklahoma and mid-afternoon in Russia where I was living during the time.

It was a typical day, nothing out of the ordinary... I was coming home from work and sitting in the back seat of a taxi that I had randomly taken that day.

The driver flips on the radio as I stare out the window and look at the different sites on my regular route home.

We’re driving along and all of a sudden on the radio I hear…

“The city of Oklahoma has blown up.”

At first, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing… I leaned forward in my seat, poking my head in between the two front seats to hear better.

I was doing my best to interpret what the Russian radio announcer.

It sounded like a gas line had blown up the city. I was dumbfounded and couldn’t comprehend that a bomb had just gone off in the middle of Oklahoma City.

I told the driver to hurry, letting him know I’m from Oklahoma City and that I have family there.

All kinds of scenarios were racing through my mind, wondering what could have happened and hoping and praying my fiance and everyone else there was safe.

The driver speeds up and we eventually arrive at my building.

I get out of the taxi, slam the door shut, and immediately start running into the building and up the stairs to our 3rd story flat.

The only thing we had for news was CNN… so, out of breath, I got to our room, threw my bag down, and turned on the TV.

And I see it… the headlines were true. I was watching on TV what is known today as “The Oklahoma City Murrah Bombing.”

I was in shock at the enormity of the situation, not able to take my eyes off the screen.

As I’m watching the TV, I see fire trucks with ladders leaning up against a mostly destroyed building, helping people come down safely.


Even with most of the building being rubble and debris, I recognize it…

It was the building where Jack, my future father-in-law, worked.

My heart sank…

I looked closer at the people coming down the fire truck ladder and couldn’t believe my eyes.

It was Jack - my future father-in-law. He was coming down the ladder.

 I lean in closer to the TV…

“Is that really him?”

I have to call Kelly.

My fiance, Kelly, was working as a dental hygienist in Oklahoma City and heard the explosion. She found out what was going on and was in the process of connecting with her mom and sister.

So I called her office and left a message. “Laurie, I’m seeing Jack. He’s coming down the ladder. He’s fine, it looks like he’s ok.”

I then called Kelly and left a message on Kelly’s answering machine… they were getting a message from Russia telling them the news that Jack was okay. 

It wasn’t until later on that we learned about Jack’s experience where he was actually in the building where the bomb went off.

When it was happening, he was on the phone and at the same time heard someone say “Get under your desk!” But it wasn’t the person on the phone saying that, and no one else was in the room…

He got under his desk and looked out at the windows as they started to bow out.

When it happened, he thought it might have been a tornado… and when he got up, the phone was still pressed up to his ear because he was in shock.

I was blown away. It’s something you usually only see and hear about in movies…

Think about it. Could you imagine the chaos? The distress and disaster that everyone was dealing with?

It was a surreal moment for everyone involved… and everyone to this day still remembers exactly where they were when it happened.

Jack lost many of his colleagues. It was devastating as you can imagine. 

Now, the “crazy story” part in the midst of all of this… was there was absolutely no bitterness coming from Jack.

He very easily could have used his experience as a reason to become a negative, mad at the world type of person.

There was no anger towards others, no bitterness. Jack saw many people become negative and become people who you didn’t want to be around.

He was dealing with the “Why me? Why save me?” But he turned all of the emotions and experiences from that and turned them into positives.

While it took him a great deal of time to recover… he has used that situation as a springboard to become the kind of person he is today.

Leadership Lesson

Jack’s story is unusual and there’s a great leadership lesson that everyone can take away from him and his experience.

In anything you find yourself doing, whether it’s growing a team, building a business, or raising a family, there are certain things you can control and there are certain things you can’t control.

Those who learn how to deal with the chaos and learn to control what they can – which is primarily their mindset and attitude  — are the types of people you want to follow.

Not the people who fall apart and use the past as a crutch for why they can’t move forward.

Look at something that happened to you in the past. How did you react? How did you respond? Were you bitter? Does it still affect you today?

Or did you accept the situation for what it was and look for opportunities? Did you look for the positives?

Jack used this crisis to turn into the kind of person you want to follow. The kind of person you want to be around and learn from.

So, as this week’s newsletter comes to an end, my encouragement for you is to sit down and ask yourself these questions:

“How do I deal with chaos?”

“When things are out of my control, how do I react?”

Do I stress over things I can’t control? Or do I accept them for what they are and focus on what I can control?

While it’s much easier said than done, at the end of the day the only two things we have ultimate control over are our mindset and our attitude.

That's all for today's message. Thanks for reading!


Until next time,


Jeremie Kubicek

P.S.

If you’re ready to take your leadership journey to the next level, you need The Communication Code, our newly released book.

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