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How a RAVEN Can Help You Through Crisis

JMEC hosted a webinar featuring master coach Jim Gavin, who developed the RAVEN model designed to help people coach themselves in times of crisis.

The world is a wholly unpredictable place. The global COVID-19 situation has proven that life as we know it can be thrown out the window before we have a chance to blink. And yet, in some ways, things are expected to continue on — it’s business as usual. So, when we are thrown a curveball like this, how are we supposed to manage on our own? A global pandemic is not the only crisis we will likely ever experience. There are both global and personal situations that could very well throw you into a state of crisis just as quickly. So how can you use your own inner wisdom to help yourself in times like these?

Jim Gavin, PhD

It is just this question that master coach Jim Gavin was answering when he designed his RAVEN model, which he presented during a webinar hosted by JMEC on Coaching Yourself Through Times of Crisis.

RAVEN stands for: RecognizeAcceptVisionEngageNourish, and Gavin defines it as “a process to bring you into deep connection with all that’s going on for you in any given moment.”

Here’s a very brief breakdown of each step:

R — Recognize

The start of the process requires that you take some time to understand what the distress is that you are feeling. Gavin recommends that you “acknowledge what’s happening for you, not so much by dwelling on thoughts or feelings, but rather by noticing what’s up for you, what’s alive in this moment.” Understanding what it is you’re experiencing internally is going to be an important part of overcoming it later on.

A — Accept

Once you recognize your internal experience for what it is, you need to accept it. Gavin likens this step to holding an upset child in your arms. You would likely take action to help soothe them, and so you should do to yourself. “Embrace all of you that is now awake with acceptance and compassion,” Gavin says.

V — Vision

The vision is one of both the past and the future. First, show yourself proof of your past resiliency, your past struggles, and how effectively you were able to overcome them. Prove to yourself that you not only got through those times, but you will get through this too. Now shift gears and look to the future. What could your life look like when you come through on the other side of this crisis, if you are able to do so with strength and courage? Relish in the positivity of this vision, then apply those thoughts and feelings to the present.

E — Engage

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do right now?” Let the answer come to you, and don’t try to force it to be what you think it ought to be. The answer will come naturally, perhaps quickly, or perhaps more slowly. Be in touch with the response that will come from within, and let it guide you.

N — Nourish

Now relax. In the same way that you must take a break from exercising in order to allow your muscles to repair and strengthen, you must now relax your mind, breathe deeply and calmly, and let go of the thoughts and realizations you have experienced while completing the RAVEN exercise. Gavin states that you will retain the most important gleanings from this experience deep within yourself. And finally, “Allow some time for yourself to bathe in all your magnificence, even if that isn’t a word you might commonly apply to yourself,” Gavin says. “Try it out. Let that word be you in this moment.”

To learn about the model in more detail, and to read about the thought process, knowledge, and happy accidents that Gavin sifted through while developing it, read his article on Medium: Re-Setting Your Inner GPS in this Global Crisis

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