wavy pattern

the cost of living and other crises 💸



5 things you can do when facing challenging situations

- Posted byHannah Miller

Hello reader, 

Anyone else’s children leave every single light on? Desk lights, LED lights, bathroom light, the big light? Mine are horrors for this. This is a time immemorial challenge within the family unit and is also a gauge of whether you have grown up or not. I used to leave my lights on ALL the time as a teenager and my dad used to shout ‘YOUR LIGHT IS ON AGAIN HANNAH’ when he came home from work, and he would walk past it, refusing to turn it off and make me come upstairs and switch it off MYSELF. This used to drive me crazy. But, Dad, I get it now. I’m a grown up now too and find myself saying the same thing. I must say though, I’m often inclined to choose the easy life and just turn it off myself whilst muttering something about teenagers and lights and the fact that I spend my life repeating myself, however these days I’m adding a new phrase to my nagging utterances: ‘THERE’S A COST OF LIVING CRISIS, YOU KNOW!’

The cost of living crisis. It’s a topic we can’t escape. Every single day the news we hear, the twitter feed we read, conversations we have, the bills we receive, point to the fact that purse strings are tightening for most of us, here and across the globe. It’s impacting households and its impacting workplaces. I know personally that the cost of food and diesel is causing some sharp intakes of breath but I do appreciate that my life circumstance is one of the more fortunate. We are hearing of very tough choices that individuals and families and indeed businesses are having to make. 

Stop Press: As I write, just this minute I finished a zoom call with a brilliant CEO of a large construction company I work with. He was talking about how many external pressures they are facing. Delays, staffing shortages, cost increases, lack of materials, backlogs due to planning, inflation, cost of living and wages…he’s one of the good guys, trying to look after his team as best as he can and meet the needs of his customers, too. It’s not easy. 

Here at sidekick HQ, we have wrestled with the impact of the cost of living on what we do. How can we be more helpful, how can we remain buoyant, how can we stay afloat when inflation is rising and belts are tightening? I’ve agonised over whether I have made wise decisions, should we be battening down the hatches or pressing on regardless, and I’ve wondered about what work might look like in a few months. I’ve only been employing people for a reasonably short time, and I’m feeling the responsibility of that, too. The problem is, with things like this, is that if you’re not careful, you start leading your life and making decisions from an unbalanced place of fear, you don’t think or see things in a rational, measured way. 

What do you do in a crisis?

What does your personality tend to lean into when there are problems ahead?

When it comes to the cost of living, there’s no easy, quick fix that I can offer. So much of this situation is outside of our control. But what we DO in these circumstances IS within our control. Here’s a few quick thoughts from me. 


  • Know yourself – at your best.Who you are, what you are capable of, what you love, what you enjoy is something worth knowing and worth investing in.When I work with individuals or businesses, I use a tool called CliftonStrengths. It’s a highly personalised look at how we behave and gives clues to our talents and what we should be doing more of. When it comes to a time of crisis, do you know what you do best? You have something brilliant to offer, some unique way of seeing things that needs your attention and focus. I’ve written a Strengths-based mini-course (you need to know your strengths for this course to help you) on how our strengths work in a crisis. It’s usually £25 but for this next two weeks it’s 50% off as a gift for you – use BRAVE50


  • Know yourself – at your worst. We have all sorts of tendencies when it comes to a time of crisis, yours will be different to mine and most likely again relate to your strengths and personality preference. Whatever your strengths are, they have a shadowside to be aware of. Whatever your personality is, it has a tendency towards certain sabotaging behaviours when life is not going your way. You need to know what these things are so that you can plan for them, mitigate them and get your life in order. Again, I cover this in the mini-course I mention above, but you could just ask those that love you and know you best for some feedback (course may be less brutal!).


  • Know who and what you need. When life throws curveballs, you need to think carefully about what and who you need. What gives you perspective? For me, I need time to think, process, write, pray. I need time to learn, gather the facts and make re-routes to my course and direction. I need to hypothesise and have the freedom to try different things. I also need the time to process the emotions I might be feeling in the first instance without being told to pull it all together (not straight away, anyway). Who gives you perspective? I need people to remind me of what I can do, who I am and what matters.


  • Know who and what you DON’T need. When it hits the fan, we can often find ourselves choosing self-destructive patterns and listening to people that are not going to help. The things that I do that don’t help include comfort eating, snapping at people, overly-consuming news and trying to control all factors. The people that I don’t need are often those I have a complicated relationship with – I find I am seeking their approval and validation and yet I know I won’t quite get it and instead I find that what I get given is a list of things I need to do that don’t reflect my values, a lack of empathy for my situation and a lot of naysaying and criticism that just won’t set me up for success. Don’t go there. 


  • Be brave. In times of worry and crisis, our natural response can be to secure our fences, get our ducks in a row and pull our resources inward. This, to a level is absolutely necessary. But, let’s do this out of planning and wisdom, and not out of fear. Choose also to do things that feel brave: generosity that might feel a little costly, pushing into your values when all around is suggesting ‘me first’. I am convinced that in the long run, this approach, with wisdom, wins. For individuals, for families, for businesses, for communities. And anyway, what a lovely way to get it wrong.


So, in short – there is so much we cannot do in times of crisis – both global ones and even personal ones. What we do have full agency over is our choices. Let’s choose on purpose, and with purpose. 


Hannah x 





If you liked this you may enjoy...