Dealing With Crazy

Go to content

Dealing With Crazy

Black Belt Leadership
Dealing With Crazy
John L. Terry, III - The Black Belt Leader

America is in the throes of dealing with COVID-19, a variant of coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China and has spread to become a global medical pandemic. This is a once-in-a-generation event that has truly ravaged our nation’s health, and our economy.

My oldest daughter works at a grocery chain here in town. Toward the end of last week, she called me on her break, almost in tears. “Dad,” she said, “I’m scared. People are cleaning out the store. There’s no toilet paper, no paper products whatsoever. People are indiscriminately raking canned goods into carts. They are yelling, pushing and getting angry with the staff and other patrons in the store. It’s like the end of the world.”

As the brief conversation wrapped up, she added was fearful as she has three young children at home, the youngest just over a year old. “There’s no baby formula, Dad. No baby wipes. How am I going to take care of my kids?” I left my office a few minutes early to stop by and check on my girl only to find near chaos, both in the parking lot and in the store.

I’ve heard similar stories from friends, clients and industry peers across the country. A fellow coach in San Diego was telling he about his latest to the visit to a Big Box store for food only to witness similar episodes of craziness as people are treating this crisis as the end of the world. People fighting over parking spaces, cleaning out the shelves in the store, and grumbling and complaining over items they could not buy.

The impact on humanity is telling, as we are dealing with a new virus for which mankind has no natural immunity. The highly contagious nature of this virus has led to our government to take drastic steps in an effort to stem the spread of this infection. The financial impact of hitting the pause button on our economy is yet to be determined, but will likely be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

In the short run, we will see a spike in unemployment and some businesses may never fully recover. The government is taking bold steps to provide needed short-term liquidity for individuals and businesses, but fear has found its way into the American psyche, fueled by a crazed media that continues to sensationalize this crisis. This, in turn, is manifesting itself into ongoing acts of “crazy” that we continue to see across the nation.

So how do we deal with crazy?

If there was ever a need for strong leadership, it is now. The antidote to the panic we are witnessing across the country is for men and women to lead themselves well. If history is our guide, we as a nation have been here before. America has some of the brightest, most brilliant medical and scientific minds in the world.

As a nation, we have battled and defeated the Spanish flu, smallpox, measles, chickenpox, SARS, MERS, H1N1 Swine flu, and Ebola (to name a few). Coronavirus will be no different. But the silent enemy we have to conquer and defeat is fear.

That’s where leadership comes in.

In my book, Black Belt Leadership 101, I talk about one of the character traits of a black belt leader is boldness. Leaders cannot be passive and lead, especially in times of crisis. Napoleon said that leaders are merchants in hope. In this time of fear and panic, leaders speak hope into the lives of others and lead by example.

In the book, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, John Maxwell references the character traits of maintaining a positive attitude, personal responsibility, self-discipline, and servanthood as essential qualities of a leader. Living out these attributes brings a different level of thinking into how we act, and interact, with others.

In times of fear and panic, bring a positive attitude to the situation allows us to serve as merchants of hope. It changes people’s outlook and causes them to become solutions-focused. Being personally responsible and self-disciplined means we don’t act in an irresponsible manner. We make decisions through the lens of leadership and understand as a leader what we are modeling gets mirrored in the lives of those who are following.

Leaders consider the impact of their words and deeds on others. In the words of Zig Ziglar, leaders understand they can get anything they want in life if they will help enough people get what they want in life. Putting other people first, treating other people the way we want to be treated, is an act of boldness that is the hallmark of a Black Belt Leader.

America, and the world, will survive the Coronavirus pandemic. How well we survive, and how quickly we recover, will depend on the level of leadership we bring to ourselves, our families, our co-workers, and the people we interact with every single day. Let us model boldness, a positive attitude, personal responsibility, and self-discipline as we live our lives in the service of others.

That’s how we, as leaders, deal with crazy.

Together, we will get through this.

Be a merchant of hope.


2X martial arts Hall of Fame inductee, John Terry (The Black Belt Leader) is passionate about helping others become Black Belt Leaders in Life. He is a motivational speaker, leadership, sales & communication coach and trainer.   

Jessie Terry, John's daughter, is a Certified Speaker, Coach, and Trainer with the John Maxwell Team and is actively involved in the JMT Global Youth Initiative. She is also a Real-Life Management trained coach and a certified Women-Safe Self-Defense Instructor.

For more information, schedule John (or Jessie) to speak to your organization or to book a personal, group or corporate coaching session, visit our website at:  

If you are a faith-based organization, learn more about John and Jessie's outreach to churches, para-church organizations or faith-based volunteer groups by visiting

John is an Executive Director with the John Maxwell Team and is passionate about helping others pursue excellence as they become "Leaders in Life". He is also a Master Coach & Trainer with Real Life Management, a human behavioral training organization helping people learn how to live "Real Life" and make better choices when it comes to relationships, money, health, and wellness. John is also a certified DISC Human Behavior Consultant.

Back to content