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Call the Crux to Cut Through the Chaos

The Crux to a Better Week

We all have those weeks.

Everything is smooth sailing, you’re meeting your deadlines, and things are looking good.

And then, halfway through the week, something happens that sets you back.

Perhaps you got blindsided on a project, or maybe what seemed like a minor problem at the beginning of the week turned into a major disaster.

Well, what if I told you that there is a simple solution to get you back on track when that happens? A framework to look preemptively at the challenges you’re facing.

It’s a four-step process that can help you overcome challenges and be successful in spite of them. The process is called CRUX.

C is for “Crux”.

Crux is a fairly uncommon word in the English language. It means the most decisive or important point at issue. It is a word we use in the climbing world all the time.

Whether it’s a little climb in the backyard, or a massive expedition halfway around the world, we always ask:

“What is the crux of this effort?”

When you’re having one of those weeks where what could go wrong, did go wrong, take a step back and ask the crux question: “What is the most difficult expected challenge I’m going to face this week?”

This can give you incredible clarity.

Identify what you expect will be the most challenging aspect of the week. Then come up with specific tactics you can use to overcome that challenge.

This will set you up for success every time.

R is for “Recovery”.

If things don’t go well with this crux, how will you recover from it?

Coming up with a recovery or retreat plan is a great way to be prepared. This will help you overcome any challenges that come your way.

Here’s a tip: write down your recovery plan on a piece of paper. It’s amazing what can happen when you get things out of your head and onto paper. It can really be a freeing experience.

When we can see the facts, it can help wash away the emotions and concerns in our heads.

The fact is, if you cannot overcome a certain challenge, you will need a retreat plan. Knowing that you have a retreat plan can give you an incredible amount of peace and confidence.

U is for “Utilizing Your Resources”.

When I speak at my keynote programs about dealing with fears and challenges, I ask people to really focus in on what they need in order to overcome these challenges.

To handle this crux, what do you need? Who do you need? Do you need to bring in extra help? What can you do to stack things in your favor? Truly understanding the resources you need can make a big difference

Focus on finding out what you might need to overcome potential challenges. Use this knowledge to your advantage (I wrote some tips about how to stay focused in this blog post).

Timing is a big factor that is often overlooked. I’ve seen shifts of just a couple of days or hours make a really significant difference in dealing with the crux and mitigating risk. If the timing isn’t right and you don’t have the resources you need, it may be best to put it off.

X is for “Execute”.

The key to execution is to get started before you’re ready.

Don’t let the thought of getting started overwhelm you. Think about what you have to do in small steps.

What are a few small things you can do right now that can get you moving in the right direction?

Having the right plan to execute will help you feel less overwhelmed. It will make a huge difference in the outcome.

How to put CRUX to work in a team setting.

Think of it as a three-step process.

Step 1: Once you define for yourself what the crux is and why it’s important, ask your team what they think it is. Ask them what challenges they expect to face and how they plan on overcoming these challenges.

Step 2: Challenge your team members. Ask them what they are not comfortable with. This can encourage personal growth and development.

Step 3: Ask your team what their biggest fears are about the project. This way, you can plan to overcome these fears.

Summing up the CRUX.

It is very powerful to shine a light on the crux. It is also very powerful to shine a light on fears, discomfort, and possible challenges. This can help you come up with a retreat plan.

Once you have your retreat plan, build momentum by utilizing all your available resources. And then execute. I go more into building the momentum mindset here.

This simple strategy will take away the frustration you may feel when you approach a roadblock in a project, leading you straight towards success.

Want to learn more? Check out these blog posts!

Anchor Your Actions
4 Keys To Help You Deal With The Chaos And Distraction
11 Strategies to Help You Be Successful When You Feel Weighed Down

This article was originally published on October 5, 2018 and has been updated.

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