I am reminded in my darkest and saddest moments of several Bible scriptures that say “and it came to pass.” To be honest, this phrase is speaking of something that has happened, or of something previously foretold that came true. However, I picked up somewhere that things usually don’t come to “stay,” but they do come to “pass.” In essence, they don’t last. That is true for most of the good, bad, and ugly of life.
There are only two constants: change and the unchanging God. The temporal and the eternal. I have heard it said several times that all of us are heading into a storm, in a storm, or coming out of a storm. That would mean storms are an intrinsic part of this temporal world. They are a fact of life, and we all have to deal with them. Granted, they come in varying degrees and lengths. Some last for a moment and are intense. Our response is quickly taxed, and our energy quickly spent. Some tend to linger on and slowly drain our energy and reserve.
I have noticed in the business world that there are two kinds of leaders: those that are reactive and those that are proactive. I am sure you have seen both of these. One takes the approach to wait and see what breaks and then we will fix it. They wait until the storm comes and then they react to it. They know the storm is coming, but somehow they hope to dodge it or maybe it won’t be that bad. “Let’s brace ourselves and hope for the best” is their mantra. They bark orders as things start to fall apart.
Then there are those who know the storm is coming and they prepare. They brace for the storm, true, but they have processes in place that are designed to lessen the damage or better, to face the storm head-on. Their mantra is “We knew this was coming so let’s face this as we practiced.” Will the plan always go as planned? No, but there will be a cohesiveness with the proactive that will not be found with the reactive, especially if the plan has been rehearsed to the point of being second nature. Take, for example, fire or evacuation drills. Those who have been trained in these are more likely to survive because they knew what to do. They have a plan.
In life, we too can have a plan. Simply put, keep moving. Let’s break it down:
- Be realistic. What is the worst thing that could happen? Uh, you could die. True, but it hasn’t happened yet and what is the likelihood of it happening today. It could, but the probability is that it won’t. So keep moving.
- Don’t panic. Panic is not a sound, workable plan. Look around you. What are the facts? Have you survived worse than what is happening to you now? Will you survive this? More than likely. It’s not the end of the world. Well, if it is, worrying won’t change anything. Keep moving.
- Change your speed. My wife was with me on a trip as I traveled through Atlanta. I won’t say it was rush hour because I think it always is. Once we hit I-85 north from the south side of Atlanta, I turned my music up and merged (sped) into traffic. My wife began to complain more than usual about my driving. I told her to please remain calm and let me drive. The fast-paced, seemingly erratic nature of my driving and those around us unnerved her. I told her that here “you either run or get runned over” Do you need to speed up or slow down? Either way, keep moving.
- Face it head-on. Like the traffic of Atlanta or where you might live, face it head-on. I have seen my share of accidents, several while wearing an EMS uniform. I tend to believe the squeamish, overly cautious driver is as bad as or even worse than the aggressive driver. I have taken both offensive and defensive driving courses. I drive offensively and defensively as the situation dictates. Either way, I keep moving.
- Know where you are going. If you have a destination in mind, then you have a purpose in your movement. Any dead fish can float downstream. Watch the salmon on the Columbia River as they swim upstream to their breeding grounds. They are determined to make it. They have a goal, a destiny, and a passion. Let the setbacks come. With passion, keep moving.
- Moderate your self-talk. Listen, read, and watch positive messages. There is a difference in what you feel and what you know. Tell yourself what you know. Speak the facts, not the emotions. Have you ever watched athletes as they are walking the tunnel to the field? Many of them are wearing headsets or earphones. Why? Watch the fans of the opposing teams in the tunnel as they taunt and jeer at the athletes. The athletes can’t hear them because they are listening to a different voice. That voice is telling them how they are a winner, a champion, to ignore the detractors, and to keep moving.
- Surround yourself with like-minded. Find a mentor or two that will challenge you when you are slipping and who will applaud you when you are succeeding. Read, listen, and watch people who have succeeded before you. Hear their stories and learn from their lives. They are rich in knowledge and experience. Let them motivate you to keep moving.
The storms are going to come to all of us, but they don’t have to stop us. If you get knocked down, don’t just lay there. If you can’t get right back up, then crawl until you can. You can’t keep a good man or woman down. Prepare for the storms so when they come you will be ready.