Twenty-two years ago, ironically about the same time I got into the resilience industry, I went through a personal crisis that turned my world upside down. As a result of a very sudden turn of events, I found myself divorced, emotionally out of control and on the verge of financial ruin. If you think I’m exaggerating about the financial ruin, through my own naivety and ignorance, my alimony and child support payments equated to 80% of my gross earnings.
I was four months behind on my car payment, car insurance, and virtually every other bill. And credit cards….please, don’t mention credit cards.
And so, for a period of about five years, my life was a complete and utter mess.
But I worked hard, and I pushed through. I turned to consulting. My only recourse was to increase my income to cover my obligations. It seemed logical that if I worked hard and built a following, that I could earn more money consulting than I could working for someone as an employee. And it worked. But it took time.
I met someone who helped me manage my debt. She helped me build a plan to get out from under the mountain of revolving credit. (Eventually I married her).
By 2006, the debt was manageable. By 2009 (with my new wife’s help), I was able to buy a home, something I couldn’t even imagine for most of a decade.
As I look at my life through the distant rear-view mirror, I feel like I defined resilience for myself. Keep moving forward, never give up, rebuild, claw, fight, push, struggle, bleed, sweat, cry, stand. And persevere.
Being knocked down doesn’t make you weak. It empowers you because you remind yourself what it took to stand back up.
This personal resilient journey made me a better resilience professional.
Here’s how my personal history influences the work I do for clients:
My strategies and plans are based on two words: Don’t panic. When things unexpectedly go sideways, keep your wits together. Don’t let emotions take over your response.
Resilience can be achieved in many ways. If your recovery strategy is derailed, be creative and look for other ways to accomplish the goal.
While good strategies and effective planning are important, unexpected resources may appear. Sometimes you don’t know what you need until you need it. Be open to the options that present themselves.
Planning beats making it up on the fly. But the plan will only lay the foundation for what needs to be done to navigate all the way through the crisis. Allow room in your recovery model to create specific action plans to finish the job.
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