I had an important meeting scheduled today but that’s not what I was thinking of at 8:00 this morning. Instead I was dealing with a (minor) family emergency, one of the thousands I’ve dealt with in my twelve years as a parent. Whether your unanticipated event requires a trip to the emergency room or just a trip to the laundry room there are things you can do in your family life and your business to prepare for the unexpected.
- Triage. What is your first priority? What must happen right away? Stop the bleeding before you do anything else. Once you’ve stabilized the situation you can take more time to consider all your options.
- Keep a list of resources you can contact if needed. In the case of a family emergency, most of us have identified a relative, neighbor or friend who can help out in a pinch. Who can pitch in when you have a crisis in your business? Keep a listed of trust resources with contact information – including cell phone numbers – in an accessible place. Make sure your key employees, attorney, and your CPA are on that list.
- Consider the worst case scenario. While it may seem counterintuitive to contemplate the worst case during a disaster it can also bring some relief to a sudden, stressful situation. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen isn’t so bad once you’ve given it some thought. This is especially true with those aggravating, but minor, setbacks. What truly is the worst thing that could happen? How would you handle it?
- Communicate. When I’m forced to change my plans, I’ve found that most of the time there is a human being on the other end of the phone, one who’s probably dealt with the same things I have. If you’re running late or need to reschedule let the appropriate people know. As long as it’s not a habit it shouldn’t impact the relationship.
Did my day go as planned? No. Did I make it to the meeting? Absolutely. So don’t forget to count your blessings – there are always a few. In my case, I’ll thank the universe for my happy, health kids and move on.
How do you deal with the unexpected? Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org – if I use them I’ll feature your business.