Crisis – Will It Crater You or Create You?

It’s something that seemed like it couldn’t happen in a million years…but it did…twice…in the same year.

In March 2016 North Louisiana received over 20 inches of rain in four days, quickly filling up tributary rivers and causing historic flooding in the delta.

Then, just six months later, a similar weather event occurred in south Louisiana, sending more rains to parts of Baton Rouge in four days than Los Angeles had received in the previous four years.

Even as the rains fell, an impromptu “Cajun Navy” of john boats and weekend fishing rigs organized itself to rescue family, friends and complete strangers. Afterward, churches from within the region (and from far away) sent folks to help the clean up. A movie studio did an impressive improv act as a temporary relief shelter. And football teams stopped August practice long enough to pay visits and offer hugs and encouragement.

Out of crisis comes creation – or re-creation – of sorts.

That’s really just what crises do – or rather, what our reaction to crises can do – they can create. Or they can crater. It’s largely up to us.

Some of the lessons that we can learn from the Year of Flooding in Louisiana can also apply to work and financial crisis as well. Here’s just a few:

A crisis reveals the quality of your preparation. A crisis is never convenient or expected. Still, readiness is a must. Preparing for a crisis is actually the opposite of living in fear – preparation gives you permission to not think about whether the next crisis is far off, or just around the corner. Either way, you’re ready.

Financial crisis preparation means having a savings account with at least six months of income in it. It also means having an insurance portfolio that you review yearly with your professional agent to make sure that you’re protecting yourself against major losses (not minor ones – that’s why you’ve got the savings account). 

Career crisis preparation means that you have a “bank account” of healthy relationships – people who would love to have you on their team if you’re current job goes away. It means always expanding your professional skills, so that you’re becoming more and more valuable to the marketplace.

A crisis reveals the value of your community. When you’re knocked down, who will get down there with you, just because they care? Who will lend a helping hand? Who will try to help you find solutions?

When the Louisiana floodwaters receded, the world saw not only the magnitude of the damage, but the magnanimity of the people. Communities came together to rescue one another. Strangers pitched in. Before the floods we thought that there were some pretty good folk that lived here in Louisiana. Afterward, we knew for sure.

A crisis reveals the depth of your character. You can be prepared as possible, with the greatest community support systems available, and still find yourself wading waist deep in the dark waters of a crisis. 

It’s not fair. It’s not right. But so what?

You’ve got a choice to make. You can react reluctantly, or you can respond responsibly. 

Reacting is reflexive, it’s resentful, it’s retreating. It implies being acted upon, you’re a victim. The reactive person feels the response is involuntary. Almost as if he is a slave to the situation.

Responding implies responsibility. Or…response-ability. As Stephen Covey pointed out, we are “response – able” (responsible). We need not be controlled by what happens to us (a crisis), but we can choose our response to that crisis. And that choice is everything. It really is our freedom.

Have you gotten a raw deal? If so I’m really, really sorry about that. 

But now you’ve got an opportunity. You can evaluate how well prepared you were for this crisis; you can do better next time (because there will be a next time); and now you know the quality of the community that you’ve cultivated along the way.

But mostly, you now have an opportunity to decide the character of your response. Will you be a victim or a freedom fighter? Will you be a slave of this crisis, or will you determine that you will be free and rise above it?

The choice is largely yours. It’s a choice that will either create you or crater you.

How will you respond?

Offering you Wisdom on Wealth, I’m Byron Moore.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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