What do you choose to do when circumstances change? Do you become overwhelmed by what’s wrong and succumb to circumstances you can’t control? I make a different choice.
Last week I thought I was going to be hit by Hurricane Matthew. I was in Orlando at a Mastermind group with 30 plus entrepreneurs and thought leaders from all across the US and Canada, even New Zealand. We’re working on something huge that will launch in a few months and will be making a great Impact in our local communities. I’m pretty excited for what’s next and it’s going to be tough to keep it under wraps.
So we are all gathered together for a couple of days in this gigantic house. I had seen in the news that there was going to be a storm coming through. I thought, “That’s too bad, going to cut into our pool time.” I had no clue it would be a hurricane.
We were watching the local news in Orlando pretty closely. Media sensationalism at its absolute best. The reporters made it sound as though we should run for our lives. But in truth many on the coast were evacuated to Orlando as it’s further inland. The grocery stores were running out of water and bread. The local gas stations were all out of gas. There was no option to rent a car and drive out since the roads were jam packed.
Many of the group that could drive home or leave before the airports closed, did so. Those of us from the west coast and further stayed put.
I was a bit scared, but not terrified. We took our precautions. Brought all the patio furniture inside, filled the bathtubs with water in case we lost plumbing. We stockpiled all of the necessary essentials water, bread, beer.
We had several locals in the group who acted pretty nonchalant. They said worst case the electricity would go out and it would be windy. It was difficult to freak out in the face of their calm.
But it was a different story with my family at home. Mike was glued to the news and I’m sure they covered only the worst parts here in California. He was talking about hopping in his truck to come get me. He stayed up all night. My step daughter Michaela was watching the news and was scared for me too. Knowing they were both praying and worrying for me was harder than my own fear. I didn’t want them to feel scared. I tried to reassure Mike that we didn’t think it would be that bad, but that only made it worse. He worried more – that I wasn’t taking it seriously enough.
Then, around 2am EST, the news suddenly changed. We went from being in the ‘red’ to being in the ‘yellow’ and the predicted path of the hurricane changed to follow the coast line instead of coming on land. The windows shook a bit from the force of the wind but where I was we did not even lose power. In Orlando the wind gusts were just over 60 mph. For us it was pretty anticlimactic.
I am in no way making light of the devastation that Hurricane Matthew has caused, in Haiti, the US and in the rest of the Caribbean. The death toll is at 270 as of now, 350,000 people are in need of assistance.
But when faced with circumstances completely outside of your control, what kind of choices do you make? We, the Hurricane Matthew Bunker Down Crew, decided to make the best of it. After the storm it we were still stranded until Saturday. Restaurants and local businesses were all closed. We used the time to dive deeper and deeper into each other’s business goals, personal goals, and our mission to make a huge impact in our local communities. It was like a think tank or an incubator of ideas that you can’t leave. The advice given and received by each of us is priceless and never would have come about had we not been stranded together by Hurricane Matthew.