"It's possible to be an optimist if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose." Randy Pausch
The newsman at the local station announced today; "The city has been caught with its pants down Monday morning". Translation: unexpected snowfall that forecasters could NOT foresee.
In Washington, we've just experienced a "snow storm" this last week that turned into an "ice storm". This equates to 2-3 inches of snow and freezing rain. The news stations are referring to it as the Northwest's "Snowpocolypse".
We falter easily because we don't get inclement weather often. We are not Fargo, ND with 5 years worth of canned foods and a row of hockey sticks in our garage for weather such as this (hey, I have a friend there and this is how she lives. Seriously.).
I live on the border of WA and OR so I've had the pleasure of seeing how two states handle a couple inches of unexpected white stuff. Cars are lined up along the roads, abandoned overnight. Accidents outnumber smooth-sailing vehicles. Power outages speckle the landscape, kids stranded on school buses for hours, and businesses closed. Some people are preparing- buying extra food and water, contemplating generators, and gearing up their vehicles if they absolutely need to travel somewhere.
(How 5 Types of Oregon Drivers Deal With The Snow)
In the northwest, we're not threatened by much, except for the occasional neighborhood cougar (you can take that either way).
We won't even be prepared for "The Big One", the predicted over-due earthquake along the Cascadia subduction zone off of the pacific coast (700 miles from California to Canada). How can we truly prepare for an earthquake of this magnitude that last occurred in 1700? We're not as hardy as the pioneers of the past.
Our worst threat in Washington is a downpour instead of a drizzle.
You can prepare for certain disasters, but most of what we consider a crisis, turns out to be something we never prepared for in the first place. In this case it only matters what you do after the storm. After sh*t hits the fan and you don't have a plan.
Disaster Recovery. It means preparing your business for a disaster. A term I'm very familiar with as a business freelancer for the Telecom industry.
Telecom agents encourage businesses to consider disaster recovery services because you never know when the unthinkable will threaten your livelihood- natural disasters, system failures, and hackers. Telecom agents advise their clients (typically business owners, CEO's, IT departments). The threat is there, but nobody knows when and where. What they sell is the ability to recover after stuff hits the fan.
Preparation is key before the storm, but how do you proceed after?
Preparation can fail us and that's when the crisis often begins. Over fifty breaches in New Orleans's hurricane surge protection are the cause of the majority of the death and destruction during hurricane Katrina. 80% of the city became flooded, with the water lingering for weeks. 2/3rds of the deaths in Greater New Orleans were due to levee and floodwall failure.
In your own life, when unexpected tragedy, losses, god-awful unfairness, and personal storms or disasters occur, what do you do? When it was snowing I was nursing myself back to health while my husband (not afraid of a little snow) drove my daughter to Urgent Care due to what showed up in the tests as Influenza A...just weeks after getting our flu shots (preparedness at its finest).
Things can quickly go from, "This will never happen to me" to, "Why did this happen to me?" Then what? How do you weather the storm beyond failed preparedness?
Mental (Psychological) hardiness. I've had plenty of time to think about this notion, especially when I see the latest action movies and consistently sit in the theater as if it were a game of 'What would I do?' I certainly wouldn't get stuck pondering it, overthinking it, replaying it, or dramatizing it (like news media).
There could be a logical answer, but it doesn't change the fact of the storm or reality. The truth is we get stuck in the wreckage looking for an answer in our lives. "Making sense" of it all instead of moving forward. Some of us wouldn't make very good action heroes.
You CAN persevere (as in...carry on, keep going, hammer away, move forward) because sometimes you have to. Mental hardiness takes practice though. Action taken during a stressful event can lead to an opportunity for resolution and growth.
(3 Reasons You Need Mental Strength to Thrive)
During this Northwest "storm" I watched how some communities froze (literally and figuratively). They waited and wondered, second-guessing how to best handle the aftermath while others implemented strategies right away.
The same weather occurred in all surrounding communities but it didn't affect them similarly. The ones that put forth immediate action and remedies faired much better. The ones that hesitated and pondered action, faltered.
Perhaps this is what some of us do during our own personal storms.
I'm passionate about no-nonsense self-improvement. Too many of us are plagued by faulty thought patterns- I aim to change that!