When it rains, it pours… am I right? In one eight-day period in the middle of January, I was rear-ended on the way to the work, the ladies’ restroom at the office flooded, and my kitchen caught fire—forcing me, my wife, and all five of our boys to live in two hotel rooms for two and a half weeks while the smoke damage was repaired. The overall damage to the house will take a little bit longer to fix, but at least the seven of us aren’t living in 660 square feet anymore.
As crazy as life is right now (I’m dealing with a few physical therapy sessions a week to recover from the accident, while my wife is dealing with five very hungry boys and a semi-functional kitchen), at the end of the day, I realized that I have been very blessed and humbled by this “perfect storm.” Here’s why:
After the accident, I took a few days off from work—and guess what? Everything ran smoothly. Not that I expected otherwise (I have a pretty amazing team). But in what feels like a previous life and a previous business, taking an unplanned day off from work would have meant havoc for me, my wife, and my oldest son Brandon, who would have had to step in to take my place.
The bathroom flood happened just hours before I was expected to board a flight for Phoenix for the Sixth Division Infusionsoft training. Again, my employees stepped up to the plate and handled the problem with all the grace and ease I’ve come to expect from them. I was able to leave the issue in their capable hands and make it to the airport in time. (Side note: The Sixth Division training was AWESOME. Corey, our coach, did a great job—if you use Infusionsoft you should definitely look into them!)
Finally, the fire happened while I was still in Phoenix (not my favorite kind of call to receive from my wife while I’m across state lines). Mariah and I have homeschooled all five kids, so it’s incredibly rare for no one to be at home at any given time. Thankfully, the fire happened on one of those incredibly rare occasions, which means there was zero chance of anyone getting hurt (things can be replaced—people… not so much). My wife handled the tough situation like a champ and didn’t freak out once.
As it turns out, the world doesn’t fall apart when I’m not there to hold it together…
Overall, these accidents were pretty minor. But there have been times in my past when any one of these three blips would have caused a huge catastrophe in my life, my family, or my business. Thankfully, by employing a U.S. military tactic I learned as a kid, I made sure these challenges turned out to be only minor inconveniences… and not life-altering disasters!
I was an Air Force brat growing up. We moved around a lot from base to base, and my dad was always telling me stories about history, the government, and the military. On a few different occasions, I remember him explaining to me that the military has a plan for nearly every conceivable scenario. For example, what will the U.S. do if North Korea invades South Korea? What happens if Russia invades Alaska?
As a business owner, you probably also have plans. “If XYZ happens, ABC will solve it.” And having a plan, no matter how flimsy, is infinitely better than having no plan at all. But the military takes planning to a whole new level. Not only does the military have a plan, it has a back-up plan, and a back-up plan for the back-up plan! So on and so forth. Military personnel run scenarios (“If ABC happens, we skip backup plan 2 and go straight to backup plan 3, section 5”); they plan far, far ahead; and, when it comes right down do it, they play chess while the rest of the world plays checkers.
In my experience, running my life and business like a military academy (meaning I have multiple backup plans and scenarios) has allowed me to excel and, in many cases, turn bad situations into advantageous ones. For example, if I am going to negotiate, I try to figure out the three or four primary reasons the other party might say no. From there I simply outline how to overcome those objections. That way I’m prepared for any and all issues that may arise during the negotiation. I can work to overcome those issues and ultimately get what I want.
Take it from me, there’s no shame in having a backup plan. I even had a backup plan for the engagement ring in case Mariah said no when I asked her to marry me! I knew the chances of her saying no were slim to none (like any good lawyer, I knew the answer before I asked the question), but, just in case, I didn’t want to get stuck with a $6,000 engagement ring.
By planning ahead, you will come out on top both personally and professionally—even more so than you already do. When life happens, you won’t miss a beat. Everyone around you will be playing checkers, and you’ll be playing chess—they won’t be able to keep up!
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