Updated: Mar 14, 2022
I was suffering from, yet another bout of insomnia and I made my way to LinkedIn. I discovered a post from a friend. He was suggesting that we all do some planning this month to protect our families in the future. Really smart idea, I mused. Then one of my favorite quotes came to my mind. “Use Your Peace Time Wisely.”
This quote is one that has been part of my lexicon for decades. Frankly, I honestly do not even recall where I picked it up, but I sprang to my computer to draft this blog.
In both business and life we need to prepare ourselves for the storms that will inevitably blow our way. When we are enjoying success, it’s easy to forget about the more tumultuous times that have plagued us in the past. The reality is crises are part of life and are part of business.
Many crises can (and should) be planned for, but even the most diligent, thoughtful, and well-organized among us cannot ensure that 1:00 AM phone call or dreadful knock on the door will not come. Whether a diagnosis that no one saw coming, an accident that takes our breath away, or any other number of tragedies, there are unfortunate realities of life that are beyond our control.
So it is true in business. That news story that changes everything or the customer or client whose unforeseen blunder results in your business being adversely impacted. We’re all too familiar with the impact the COVID pandemic had on many industries (some seemingly overnight). These types of calamities are the realities we all face.
While it is true these uncontrollable instances happen, it is also true that many (if not most) of the crises we face are of our own doing. It takes a very mature mind with a great grounding in self-awareness to recognize that our actions or inaction often lead to the next crisis. Human nature has us looking for a scapegoat and in many cases that goat is staring right back at us in the mirror.
Five years of unhealthy diet and no exercise led to a heart attack. “It was the stress of my environment that led to the poor decisions I made.” we promise ourselves. While the environment may have played some role, we need to remind ourselves that we immersed ourselves in the environment. Further, we must learn to control or limit the impact of our environment and not allow the environment to control us.
Obviously, there are some environments we have no control over - but the one thing we do have control over is ourselves and our own actions and sometimes that means walking away and removing ourselves from an environment that is unhealthy or unsustainable. But remember, there is no place we can be completely free of adversity… it’s everywhere.
Since these crises are inevitable, we can take some important steps to create plans that will help us avoid those we can prevent, and make us more capable to face the ones that are unavoidable. The next time your life or business are at their best is the perfect time to start planning for the crises that are sure to come. Those good times, the ones in which we all revel, are indeed the peace time of our lives.
So how do we use our peace times wisely? Well, there are many ways - creating an estate plan or living will is something we all should do, even if we’re young, even though it is uncomfortable. Starting an exercise regime or examining our health and how we can optimize it is another important item we might want to consider when we are basking in the sunshine of success. Is there something we can do to help our family or community? Uplifting and strengthening those around us strengthens us as well.
In business these same principles apply, when profits are soaring is the perfect time to invest some of those dollars in team-building exercises or training. Send some of your best and brightest off for continuing education. Not sure who your best and brightest are? (A problem more common than anyone likes to admit.) Hire a coach to perform a team assessment. Even something small like having a company-wide party or providing a fun lunch can build morale and strengthen your team.
Most of us are familiar with Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid's famous musing that “The chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” Investing in your team, your family, your community helps strengthen us all.
When the peace times come and we allow ourselves to reflect upon how we can make our lives and businesses stronger and more resilient the possibilities are almost limitless.
So today I urge you to use your peace time wisely.