Sunday, September 25, 2005

Emotional Readiness

One of the effects of Hurricane Katrina for those of us who were fortunate enough not to live in the affected areas, is an increased interest in disaster preparedness.

The newspapers are full of advice about what to pack under your bed and in weatherproof boxes--everything from water purifiers to matches to copies of prescriptions and extra pairs of glasses. Great advice we should all follow.

But these directives fail to take into account a vital survival tool--our emotional health. What if we make it through the worst, but forever after feel dead inside?

So I say that along with a couple week's supply of water, clothes and canned goods, we should pack an emotional disaster relief kit. Its primary component is resiliency, the ability to bounce back from and even thrive after trauma or adversity.

Over the last 20 years, a great deal of research in psychology, sociology and related fields has focused on the qualities of resiliency, especially in children. Why is it that some youngsters can survive the most heinous crimes against them yet turn out to be competent, well-adjusted adults, while others disintegrate and never recover?
The answer is resiliency.

According to Al Siebert, Ph.D., author of The Resiliency Advantage, resilient people:--Are optimistic--Tolerate uncertainty--Quickly adapt to new situations--Can laugh at themselves--Know how to express feelings and are willing to do it--Have a healthy self-concept--Learn from experience--Are problem-solvers--Are flexible--Have friends they can count on--Are empathetic--Are non-judgmental--Listen to their intuition--Enjoy life

Many of the attributes that make up resiliency may be inborn, but they exist on a continuum. Some of us are naturally better problem-solvers than others, for instance. But fortunately, we all have the ability to develop our innate abilities.

We can practice improving areas that will help us in traumatic situations by focusing on daily stress. How we react when someone cuts us off on the freeway or we don't meet a boss's expectations, are mini indicators of how resilience is functioning in us.

To become more resilient, take Siebert's list and practice improving in areas where you are weak. Fake it 'til you make it. Next time a friend starts moaning about something that appears insignificant to you, practice empathy. When you make a mistake, ask yourself what you've learned. Make a joke or two at your own expense. Be a good friend. Share your inner life with someone you trust.

Doing so may be just as important to your survival as packing that water purifier.
And now for all you literal types...There are some items you might add to your physical emergency preparedness box that may help you move through the immediate grief and loss you will inevitably experience if faced with disaster. If you have additional items that might be helpful, let me know.

1. Books or messages that inspire you. For some people this will be a Bible or other religious book. For others, poetry or song lyrics. Whatever speaks to you in times of grief or fear could be included.

2. A small object that soothes you. Choose something simple, not expensive. It might be a rock you can run your thumb across or a vial of perfume.

3. A list, as long as possible, of intangibles for which you are grateful, i.e. the love and support of specific friends, the ability to feel, see, hear, memories.

4. A photo that shows people you love laughing. This might include friends or family members who have passed on.

5. A small object that represents who you are today. Know that even after disaster strikes, while you will be changed, the core you will remain.

Seeking new subscribersIf you enjoy, appreciate, laugh at and find inspiration in this newsletter, I would love your help. My goal as always, is to inspire as many people as possible to live their best lives. This newsletter is one way I do it.

Please send a note to a friend today and ask him or her to go to and take a look at the current edition of the newsletter or forward this one and encourage them to sign up. Thanks very much.

They did it! Stacey Kanneberg's dream job turned into a dud, but she let it go and discovered her real dream job lay closer to home

"I had my dream job selling a line of French skincare products for the only USA distributorship. The high end products sold themselves and had already received press in major magazines like Elle, Vogue, and many celebrities, including Arnold & Maria endorsed the product line. I had been hired to increase sales via the phone.

My boss was a Ph.D. Wellesley graduate. I thought I would learn so much from her. Unfortunately, she was so rude during her appearance on an Oprah show that they asked her to leave and never return! She had us in tears most of the time but I was still able to increase sales.

My first week, I increased sales by 300%, the second by 500%, the third by 800%. One day my boss called me in to her office to say that sales were going through the roof and asked if I could prepare a presentation to other members of our staff the next day.

I made my presentation to a standing ovation, was called into the office an hour later and was fired. My boss was trying to purchase the USA distributorship and with sales going down the tubes, the price had been going down too. Unfortunately my sales showed the executives that something was going on and they wanted to reevaluate her offer.

I went on to find my own dream job.

In 2004, my neighbor and I founded Cedar Valley Publishing. We were inspired my Oprah to write and self-publish, Let's Get Ready For Kindergarten!, a book that is getting national acclaim.

Now, I'm the boss and I will never, ever treat someone like I was treated. You get what you give."

You can see Stacey's book and get in touch with her by going to

From my ego to you with a stop at a terrific bookStephanie Chandler has written an excellent manual, The Business Startup Checklist and Planning Guide that features an "Entrepreneur Profile" of yours truly.

If you are considering going into business for yourself or know someone who is, I suggest you take a look at the book and not because I'm in it. It's filled with ideas and suggestions that will nurture anyone who wants to jump into entrepreneurship. You'll find the profiles interesting and yes, even inspiring.

Check it out at

Leave 'em laughing: Signs of our timesIn a Paris hotel: Please leave your values at the front desk.In a Bangkok dry cleaner's: Drop your trousers here for best results.In a Vienna hotel: In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.An ad by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar

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