S2.E08: Improving Performance in a Crisis with André-Jean Maheu

How can we improve our performance in a crisis? We spend a lot of time talking on Delivering Adventure about how we can avoid finding ourselves in crisis. However, despite our best efforts, we can all end up finding ourselves in situations where either ourselves or the people we are with end up in a crisis. In this episode, André-Jean Maheu helps us to explore how we can improve our performance when stressful situations cause us or others to lose control.

AJ has worked as an adventure guide, ski patroller, avalanche forecaster, first aid instructor, and paramedic. He is also active in Search and Rescue and operates the North Shore Snowpack YouTube channel.

Guest Bio

AJ Maheu began his career in the outdoor industry over 30 years ago. After spending a decade instructing, guiding river trips in Québec, and hikes from Alaska to the Andes he shifted his focus to emergency response in remote settings. He worked as a paramedic on worksites on Baffin Island and began a 20-year-career teaching wilderness first aid. He has taught emergency preparedness and first aid in multiple adventure travel guide programs in 6 different colleges and universities across the country.

AJ Maheu is an avalanche professional and member of the Canadian Ski Guides Association. He has also worked as a professional ski patroller for the past 20 years. He is active in many spheres of the avalanche industry including forecasting for industrial operations, search and rescue, and ski resorts as well as instructing and guiding.

AJ runs the North Shore Snowpack YouTube channel, providing weekly snowpack information to backcountry users and is a brand ambassador for Nano Traino, manufacturer of high quality, packable emergency evacuation toboggans. When not working, he is busy delivering adventures for his 2 boys, taking them on family adventures.

Guest Links

North Shore Snowpack YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/@northshoresnowpack?si=eZClzV6KePi3hYwb

Nano Traino: https://nanotraino.com/en/

Key Takeaways:

Managing performance effectively in a crisis: Best strategy is to keep yourself out of the crisis zone. When we are gripped with a crisis, it becomes very hard to counter our instincts of fight or flight. Our ability to think straight also becomes quite compromised. This means the best strategy to manage a crisis is to avoid losing control to begin with.

To prepare for a crisis: You need to practice. Preparation can pull you through stressful situations.

When you practice, make sure it’s meaningful. This means it has to have specific objectives.

Make it realistic, go through all the steps with no short cuts. Practicing should outline what is difficult. It should have an element of stress.

Reduce your vulnerability: Vulnerability is your inability to withstand a hostile environment or consequences. It is important to realize how vulnerable you are.

Spending a lot of time looking at the foreseeable can help to recognize when you are going to be more vulnerable. This can help us to identify the things that can cause us to lose control to begin.

Stay focused on building momentum: Adopt a proactive mindset where you focus on the things that you can do.

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