Welcome To Your Crisis

Here is the scenario: Your house is on fire. The smoke alarm has awakened you from a deep sleep in the middle of the night, but you are fine. The fire is currently far enough on the other side of your house that you can easily make your way out of a safe exit and away from danger. So you can get yourself to safety.

You can also fairly easily take a little bit of time to check on family members, get them up, and out of the house. Or, you could grab your important documents that you took the time to put in an easy to transport container, or maybe grab your laptop and a few flash drives with critical information. Or possibly some fairly portable family heirlooms, like a jewelry box or shoebox of old photos.

You do not have time to pack a suitcase and coordinate your wardrobe for the next couple of days. You do not have time to take that old mirror that your grandmother gave you off the wall and carry it to the car. You cannot get the grand piano out the front door in time.

Your crisis is here. It doesn’t matter how long you spent waiting for the right time to prepare for this crisis. Your time to act is now. You will have to be as prepared to handle this crisis as you are right now.

Are you truly prepared?

In the case of a home fire it is fairly easy to prepare for. And if you do happen to suffer through one, the priorities are clear: save yourself, then save others, then possibly save a few things that you are already prepared ahead of time as important.

But let’s take the ‘fire scenario’ and use it as a metaphor. A fight with your spouse has escalated into a possible ending involving lawyers. A close friend has just been given a terminal diagnosis from a doctor. You’ve just been laid off from a major corporation. Your personal business is failing financially. That is your ‘fire,’ your dilemma, your crisis.

First, make sure you don’t get consumed with fear and panic, and find yourself stuck in your ‘house’ and consumed by the ‘fire.’ You can always rebuild or move elsewhere if you can just live through the experience. If you can escape the building before the flames get dangerous, do it.

Next, make sure that important people and things are taken care of and not consumed by the ‘flames,’ if you can help it. Make sure friends and family members are okay, and if the dilemma is really about you, make sure they are okay with you. Make sure your assets are protected from whatever is attacking you.

Now you can deal with the fire…but let’s change the scenario so that it is not as serious, and take a fresh look at it.

The smoke alarm goes off, you awaken from a deep sleep and you see the source of the problem is relatively small appliance has shorted out. You grab a nearby fire extinguisher and vanquish the flames, and then you awaken the family and get them out of the house and call the fire department to come by and check the rest of the house to make sure that the house is safe and no other surprise fires will spring up. You still have a crisis to face, but not a major one.

But you don’t just let the whole house burn down because the coffee pot shorts out, you deal with the very minor fire and then find out what the source really is: bad wiring in the coffee pot versus bad house wiring that is bound to set something else a blaze.

A minor crisis can be handled with minor and relatively painless solutions. They will help you avoid the major crisis that can actually take a physical, financial, or emotional toll that will take much more effort to recover from. But just like the evacuation of the house about to reach fully involved fire status, it helps to do a little preparation and to keep your cool in the situation.

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