How Not To Freak The F*** Out In Times Of Crisis

A little over a week ago, my car was stolen while I was moving groceries in. To add insult to injury, it happened the night before my entire family was coming to Chicago to celebrate my grandmother’s 80th birthday. I was supposed to meet my mom at the airport at 8:00 a.m., and the remainder of the family members at the train station later in the day.

I immediately felt my heart rate increase, and then I felt incredible overwhelming sadness… but then I went into DC (Damage Control) Mode.

Step 1: Call The Police – When theft, or other criminal activities take place, if you can’t handle it on your own, you may need to call the police. Not to mention that a police report is often required for insurance purposes.

Step 2: Call The Insurance Company – The first thing the Insurance Company wanted to know was were the police called. I gave them a report number. Then I asked “What is the process.” I was informed that in 48 hours, I’d be eligible for a rental car, and in 14 days if the car wasn’t recovered, it would be considered a loss. In times of crisis, the best thing that you can have is information. That way your brain (and your heart) don’t have the opportunity to dream up ridiculous scenarios. Keep the foolishness in check by getting informed on your options.

Step 3: Create an immediate/temporary plan. – I have Uber & Lyft on my phone. I’ll take that to meet my mom at the airport, and then we’ll uber back. I spoke to my sister-in-law who lives across the street from me, and made arrangements to use her car later that day to pick up the rest of my family members from the Amtrak Station. She was also going out of town for the weekend, and said that I could use her car while she was away. Temporary crises of stranded family members – averted.

Step 4: Work The Plan. Once you know the steps to rectify the situation, you just work the plan. Be sure to record the names of the people who give you the information just in case there is a discrepancy later. Follow up & follow through with any additional paperwork and follow the process.

BUT WAIT… A FEW THINGS HAVE TO BE IN PLACE BEFORE THE CRISIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS!

PRE-CRISIS STEP 1: Get your paperwork in order. When it comes to property, purchase the extended warranty, the insurance, etc. All of these items seem expensive and unnecessary and the truth is that you likely won’t use it most of the time… but the one time you do need it, the peace of mind & the fees to repair or replace your product or device make it worth it in the end. I think of these things as pay now, or pay more later. In our household, anything that is over a certain amount (around $300+) gets insurance. This includes electronics, vehicles, appliances, etc. Remember to keep copies of all of the warranties and policies. I actually digitize all of my files using this and I keep all of my files organized in my Dropbox account. That way my files are easily accessible & searchable.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 2: Have a vent-partner. One of the best parts about being married is that you have a built-in vent partner. If you are not married (and even if you are married) be sure that you have someone that you can call to complain, cry, reason, laugh, etc. with. Often in times of crisis, my hubby and I bounce the responsibility back and forth so that neither of us gets burned out or overly frustrated. When it came to the first few steps of addressing the stolen vehicle, I handled the initial stages of contacting the police and the insurance company etc. Once our vehicle was recovered (thank God!) he took care of getting the estimates and dealing with the dealership to have the car serviced. My sister-in-law was instrumental in serving as my co-PI as my keys have a tracking device (TILE) which alerted me that my keys were in the area, leading to us searching the area and ultimately finding my stolen vehicle parked on the street.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 3: Copy the front and backs of all of the contents in your wallet. In the event that your purse or your wallet is stolen, you can quickly contact all of your banks and loyalty cards to get replacements. Most cards also have the phone number on the back that you should call, in case of emergency.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 4: Back up all of the contents of your computer into the cloud AND onto a hard-drive. I’ve endured at least two hard-drive crashes in my life. I’ve known friends that have been robbed at gunpoint of their briefcases and laptop bags. I have a little piece of mind knowing that all of my music, photos, important files and documents etc. are backed up using Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud Drive.  I’m a fan of all three systems because they are super easy to use, accessible anywhere you have the internet (let’s say you forget your laptop at home) and in many cases, other people can be given easy access to the files.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 5: Travel with a copy of your passport AND travel with at least two credit/debit cards. Anything can happen with your passport. I always keep a copy or two of my passport in different areas of my luggage. My husband recently finished a world tour with DJ Jazzy Jeff. While in Japan, an ATM machine ate his debit card. It’s important to have at least two different credit/debit cards in the event that something happens to one. One of these days I’ll have to write a whole post about crisis and travel! It really does deserve its own blog post!

PRE-CRISIS STEP 6: Learn how to use Find My iPhone and Find My Device (For Android). This has saved me so many times. Especially in situations where there was a large group and my phone or iPad went missing.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 7: Make a habit of cataloguing and keeping lists of things. This is usually a standard for home owners insurance, but you may want to get in the habit of keeping receipts and logs of your valuables so that if you need to file a claim, or if you need to replace the items, you can do so quickly and effortlessly.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 8: Write down key emergency contacts and have them easily accessible. Set up your Emergency SOS in the settings of your phone, if you have iPhone. Keep emergency contact phone numbers in your wallet, just in case you are unconscious so that members of your family can be reached.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 9: Get your car Emergency Ready. Keep your own jumper cables, and spare tire (if it can fit) in your car. Consider a membership to AAA or another road-side assistance service. Check out this article for tips on how to prepare your vehicle for Emergencies.

PRE-CRISIS STEP 10: Get your home Emergency Ready. Be sure you have a smoke detector & Carbon Monoxide Detector in your home, as well as be sure to check the batteries regularly. Do an annual fire/emergency drill in your home. Be sure that your door is labeled correctly so that people know that you have pets. Most pet stores and vets carry stickers to alert emergency personnel.

Last but not least, stay prayed up! Having a calm and faithful spirit is the best thing that you can have to regulate stress and address problems that inevitably come up in life. It is also helpful to have mechanisms for addressing stress – a healthy fitness routine, an active social life, appropriate medication and therapy where appropriate, journal writing (one of my favorite methods for processing stress and thinking through problems). If you have any helpful resources or advice, please drop them in the comments below!

NOTE: Shoutout to my sister Linedda for always encouraging me to write a book. If it be God’s will, one of these days I’ll be a New York Times/best-selling author. Writing was my first love!

A Breath of Fresh Air

Earlier this year, I was selected as one of NAMAC’s (National Alliance for Media, Arts & Culture) Creative Leaders. This week, we were all invited to the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah, in order to participate in a Creative Leadership Lab. We were able to learn new leadership practices, connect with each other and receive medicine from this powerful land. There is something very profound about being able to “elevate” approximately 5,000 feet, to really gain perspective and see the bigger picture.


Here are ten of the quotes I’d like to remember, from my fellow Creative Leaders and our facilitators. You can learn about each of the people listed below and their work here (scroll down about half a page to see their photos and read their bios).


(1) “Strategy is about not doing things so you can decide what to do.” – Melinda

(2) “Reach from the place of injury.” – Jane

(3) “Keep asking the question in different polite ways.” – Pamela (Actually nails a dictator).


(4) “To conspire, means to breath together.” – Gibran

(5) We live in a world of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). – Gibran

(6) “Vida es arte.” (Translates into life is art) – Marisol


(7) “In the final analysis, when the s*** hits the fan, you do a show.” – Vashti

(8) “As we lose civility, we lose respect.” – Pamela

(9) “It is ok and necessary to take care of myself.” – Natasha


(10) “Who you really are, is all you have to offer.” – Vashti

Here are other things I’d like to remember: 

(1) The comfy linens – I literally slept like a baby!

(2) The crisp (and clean) mountain air.

(3) The love of Colombia (specifically Cartagena, which is a place my husband fell in love with earlier this year. I’d call that confirmation!)


(4) The power of story

(5) The power of solitude

(6) The power of eye contact (and looking at and into a person rather than through a person).


(7) The healing and refreshing power of tears.

(8) The power of breath (I think I am going to incorporate meditation into my daily life).

(9) The importance of community and feeling connected.


(10) The privilege of time and space to step away from the daily routine.

Over the next few weeks, I will delve deeper into my experience and process what I’ve learned on my trip, but I wanted to share.

 

Life Does Not Have To Be Perfect To Be Wonderful…

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Caption: My new desktop wallpaper which says “Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.” 

Download your own copy of the “Life does not have to be perfect” wallpaper here: 

http://kirstyneale.typepad.com/gingerandgeorge/2011/05/palette-pingpong-no28.html

Reminding myself that life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. Chasing perfection often leads to stagnation & procrastination. 

Considering this new opportunity that I saw & immediately responded to. Exciting about the possibility of doing more of something that I love. 

Waiting for this life-changing surgery – April 29, 2013. More details to come soon, I promise. Please just pray for my speedy recovery & overall health. 

Loving on my husband who has been showering me with lots of love and beautiful presents including this beauty with a matching wallet. It’s the perfect size and I love the way it smells! It fits my iPad too & all of the things I love to carry. 

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Blocking all of the negativity. I feel like a soccer goalie sometimes trying to hit, kick and block the b.s. and the drama bombs. At this time in my life I want peace & tranquility… 

With that, I leave you with this: 

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Enjoy your weekend!