RSS Weathering the Storm

Is it just me, or do most of you think that this summer has been particularly difficult in comparison to other years? As I write this article, the weather outside is typical for an autumn day in the Pacific Northwest. But it seems summer in Oregon started very late this year, and the weather has been particularly harsh in other parts of the country. It’s not a pretty picture for many people these days, either with the weather or from an economic standpoint.

So, what steps should we take to best shield ourselves from the various “storms” we are facing? I’m certainly no expert on the matter, so I look forward to comments from readers about what do to deal with the adversities you may be facing today.

For me, during periods of difficulty, I take stock in all of the gifts that I have been given. My family, my friends, the organization I work for, my teammates, etc. You get the drift. To me, the most important things in life are the people that make it fulfilling. It’s not the toys that I buy or the things that I accumulate that are of value, but rather the memories that are created by the interactions I have with others.

Imagine if you were the victim of a powerful hurricane and you lost your home and personal belongings. When dealing with the tragedy of it all, you get a chance to assess what is truly important. During a time like this, I likely would first be thankful simply to survive such a scare. Then I would probably think about all of the people-- family, friends and coworkers--who may have been impacted and wonder how I might help them.

There is a correlation in my mind about how a person deals with the storms they face, be they natural or man-made. Take this difficult economic environment for example. Many hard-working people are out of work because their organizations have had to make difficult decisions in order to manage their own long-term viability. How are these individuals dealing with it?  I suppose that those dealing with it the best are those who have built a strong support network.

Successfully weathering a storm is never easy, and I feel extremely fortunate in that I’ve not had to weather many of them myself. I can take some comfort in knowing that the relationships I have developed over the years may be the single greatest asset I have to withstand whatever might come my way. Here is an interesting article, from the Mayo Clinic, about strong social support.

So the best advice I have for you to prepare for your next “storm” is to not take for granted the power of the relationships you have created. Relationships require nurturing, they require time, and they require commitment from both parties. These relationships could very well be the difference between your successfully weathering the next storm, or not.

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One Response to “Weathering the Storm”

  1. Mark Wall says:

    In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins coins the term ‘Stockdale Paradox’ to describe Admiral Jim Stockdale’s attitude that allowed him to survive and lead other men as a prisoner of war in the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ for over eight years.

    After reading Admiral Stockdale’s autobiography, Jim Collins (Good to Great) asked the question – “it was depressing to me to read it knowing the end of the story, how on earth did you deal with it when you were actually there and did not know the end of the story?”

    Admiral Stockdale’s response: ‘I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

    The Stockdale paradox is simultaneously retaining faith that you will prevail in the end; and confronting the most brutal facts of your current reality.

    I recognize that the internal storms of self-doubt, fearing failure, and letting those I love down are the hardest part of weathering the ‘storms in life.’ When I loose faith, when I loose hope, a part of me dies. I require a hope is something beyond me. It is resting in that hope, that unyielding faith, that does not let the situation shape it but stands above and separate, that allows me to move forward… to persevere… In that moment, I can encourage and provide a source of hope and inspiration to those who are weathering the storm with me.

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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