(This is the first in a series of articles excerpted from my book Avoiding Business Disasters: Lessons from the Disaster Field Office)
Living in Florida, I am used to the spring and summertime ritual of hurricane preparedness. Long before I became an expert in the field of disaster planning, preparation, education, response and recovery, I was expert in my own family’s hurricane preparation.
In Florida, we all know the drill. Plywood for your windows, three days of food per person and fill your bathtub with water. Being an overachiever all of my life, I of course have a pantry full of food (okay, so I shop at Costco), I share a commercial generator with my mother who lives next door and I even have a 40,000-gallon bathtub. In Florida we call it a swimming pool.
My 40,000-gallon bathtub is a beautiful thing. It is a gathering place for the family, our own little oasis in the southern heat. It is chlorinated so it stores well and when we have to use it as our emergency water reserve we even have a small filtration and de-chlorination device that keeps the water safe to drink.
But all of this physical preparation is just one small aspect of resilience and resilience is how we all get through life’s little and not so little disasters.
Now before we can really discuss resilience we have to understand a few simple definitions. First what is a disaster? A disaster is when your needs exceed your resources. During the holiday shopping season we all run into our own little mini-disasters, it is not uncommon for our wants to exceed our wallets.
Resilience is the opposite of a disaster. Resilience is when your resources exceed your needs. When we are out shopping for the holidays and the cash is low we all have the same call of resilience, “Charge it!”
But even this leaves the majority of resilience unaccounted for. Resilience is far more than physical or even financial resource management. Resilience begs the question how big is the bathtub in your soul?