5 ways to prepare for the unexpected in business or in life

Two nights ago my wife didn’t have much appetite. Strange but we chalked it up to her new diet and that was that.

The next morning she was gripping her stomach and struggling to walk around the house. Despite getting ready for work I told her that she should take the morning off and head over to the local hospital and see a doctor.

My wife’s a fighter but eventually relented. Thinking it was a minor inconvenience she put her make-up on and got dressed up so she could go to the office after she was done at the hospital.

But crazy things happen in this thing called life.

At around noon my phone rang and I picked it up expecting her to give me the lowdown. What she told me came as quite a shock.

“Appendicitis?!” Wow, that wasn’t what I expected. “Surgery at 3pm, today?!”

“You’ll be in the hospital for a week?!”

Yikes…talk about throwing a wrench into the works.

Kyoko and I have got our system down to a well oiled machine; she puts out my son’s clothes each evening, I dress him in the morning. I brush his teeth in the morning, she in the evening. I take him to daycare, she picks him up. It has taken us a while to get into the swing of things but now we’ve gotten it down. And then this happens.

What can you do? Not much, you have to deal with things like these as they come.

Things like appendicitis, a bike accident (of which I’ve had 3 in the past 10 years), a broken finger and a tsunami (which I talk about in my book, iSucceed: secrets for the average joe and jane) are rarities. These are things that come out of left field and cause a lot of trouble.

BUT…these are the exceptions. Most of what comes our way can be prepared for so I thought I’d share my 5 tips on how we can all prepare for most of life.

  1. Study
  2. Savings
  3. Team
  4. Vision
  5. Accept facts

Let me explain.

First and foremost we should all study. Now I don’t mean textbooks or studying at college but rather preparing for the things that will go through sooner or later. For example, it’s rare that we can go through life unscathed. We injure ourselves playing sports, running to the bus stop or walking down stairs. So a little first aid care would serve you, and your family well.

With regard to finances economic crashes are becoming a common occurrence these days it would serve you well to read a few books on the subject.

What about family issues, well, no one goes into a marriage planning to get divorced but divorce is a fact of life so you might want to do a little research on how to overcome problems in a marriage.

We could also fall in a river or get pushed into a lake by accident so swimming classes might be worthwhile investing in.

You get the idea. I’m saying study the things we all have to deal with.

Second, savings. This SHOULD be self-explanatory. It pays to have money in the bank. My wife’s operation will cost over $1000 and if I didn’t have the money I would be sweating bullets, but we do. Why? Because we put some money aside in our family fund. And this is something related to the family so it comes right out of that. Simple, easy, no messing around.

Third, when I talk about a team I mean that having other people around you to support you in your time of need. Thankfully my wife’s mother came down the same day and is helping out with things like cooking and taking care of my son when I’m otherwise occupied.

You never know when you will need the help of another so it’s wise not to burn many bridges.

Fourth, vision refers to being able to see what will happen before it does. This is one of the harder issues to develop as predicting the future is somewhat of an impossibility BUT we can see the obvious. Say you’re going out a few nights a week and coming home hammered. Can you make any predictions?

I would hazard a guess that your productivity will decrease. You may be late for work from time to time. You may end up hurting yourself on your way home after a night of drinking with the guys (or girls as the case may be).

Once you assess the future, then you’re free to make changes in the present if you so choose. If you like what you see, stay the course. If not, change it.

And finally my fifth key on preparing for the unexpected – accept the facts. What do I mean by this?

Simple – accidents happen, people lie, people break their promises, people lead us on, people steal (these things do happen whether they should or shouldn’t is not an issue. They do). Don’t spend your time analyzing why, you’ll only frustrate yourself and have more problems on your plate.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that %#'” happens, so? Learn from it. Every bad thing that has happened to us has given us an opportunity to learn from. The problem is most of us (and I was here, too) spend our time complaining about it, getting more upset and not resolving the issue before us. Worst of all, we waste our most valuable resource – time.

So there you have it, 5 tips on how to prepare for a better future.

Now that you know you’re 50% there, all you have to do is apply them.

Should be easy enough…right?

Adrian Shepherd

ps. my wife’s surgery went well, in case any of you were wondering.

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