Go Ahead and Freak Out

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

My wife was concerned that the potatoes she put in boiling water to mash were taking longer than the traditional 20 minutes to soften properly. I suggested to her that she may have cut them a bit too big and that the heat had just not fully penetrated all the way through, providing what I thought was a sound scientific explanation.

When she informed me that I should not tell a person on Irish descent how to mash potatoes, I pretty much lost it.

Freaking out has become a popular activity during this current phase of the Pandemic and we can all recognize that it is an inevitable part of life during these challenging times. Freak outs have some common themes such as being triggered by a small event,  that we feel a bit (or a lot) out of control, and that there is often a strong emotional element. The good news is that most freak outs are short lived and are not a sign of some kind of deeper mental health issue.

A few ways to make the most out of your freak outs:

  • Be easy on yourself and others. We’re all under extra tension right now and we’re emotional beings.  Apologize if you’ve hurt anyone and while you are at it, forgive yourself.
  • Take some time: Go for a walk or somehow change the environment so that you give yourself some time to cool down and relax.
  • Anticipate problems: Our best resilience strategy is to minimize stress so if you can see where potential problems are arising, do your best to mitigate them ahead of time.

I’m going to focus on that last idea, so when it comes time for potatoes with dinner around our house, I’m going to step away from the stove.



This week, I’ll be presenting to the virtual Pittsburgh Human Resources Association annual meeting, with my co-author Michael Couch on leadership development

The Leadership Café

We released 2 amazing interviews last week:

  • Audrey Russo is President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the oldest (1983), and the largest technology trade association in the region. Audrey serves the technology business sector for southwestern PA by bringing together the latest thought leaders from our vibrant tech community Listen to hear how the tech community has responded internally with their leadership ideas during this past year. 
  • Marsha Cipollone is the CEO of the IT consulting firm, Cloud Ace. A certified Women-Owned Business in Pennsylvania that helps with Technical Architect, Content Marketing, and consulting services. In this episode, Marsha talks about what it is like to be the owner of a certified WOB company, and the many opportunities have come along with that title

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