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A Disaster Shines A Spotlight On The Importance Of Choices

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A Disaster Shines A Spotlight On The Importance Of Choices

This is a bit of a unique week in my life, so today’s blog will be a little different. I won’t be sharing specific techniques, tactics, or tools. Nevertheless, today’s message is an important one.

Last Thursday night, a string of powerful storms moved through Ohio. These storms produced multiple tornados, which caused significant damage to several cities and communities. One of the hardest hit locations was the Indian Lake community, located an hour outside Columbus. Many areas around Indian Lake experienced devastating damage, and three people were killed and many others injured.

My wife has been visiting Indian Lake her entire life, and the community is part of her family. I have been a frequent visitor to the lake since getting married, and we had half our honeymoon at Indian Lake. Then, in 2007, we decided to buy a second house at the lake. Our house started as a weekend place and has become a second home since transitioning to working from home. We alternate weeks at the lake and in Columbus from April through October. Other family members have also purchased lake homes, making Indian Lake an extension of “home” for our family.

We were very fortunate that the path of the tornado missed our houses entirely (see the photo below):

Other Indian Lake residents weren’t as lucky as us, and they lost their permanent homes. Many walked away with only their lives and lost everything else – homes, possessions, pets. But the town didn’t lose hope. They have come together in an impressive fashion to clean up the damage and provide for the residents. The rebuilding process will be slow, but the town will rebuild.

This story has two crucial life lessons – both are essential when pursuing goals.

Choose Wisely

On Thursday afternoon, nobody in the Indian Lake community knew their lives would be disrupted a few hours later. They were going about their day-to-day business, and everything changed in the blink of an eye. This change was entirely out of their control… it was done to them.

As you can see from the map above, a minor adjustment in the storm’s path would have resulted in us losing our house. More frighteningly, if the storm had arrived just three weeks later, we would have been at the lake and could have lost our lives.

This story is a reminder that life is short and fragile.

At any moment, something can happen (tornado, accident, crime, health issue, loss of a loved one) that destroys your sense of normalcy, self, safety and happiness. When faced with this reality, why would we ever choose not to enjoy life’s journey? Why choose unnecessary stress or drama or engage in anything but kindness to other people?

Consider your most recent interaction with another person (including social media sniping). If your life was going to be destroyed by a tornado in a few hours, would you want to be remembered for that interaction? Would you want to have said and done what you did?

This applies to the conversations we have with ourselves, too… if your life is going to be turned upside down in a couple of hours, would you want to be an asshole to yourself now?

What’s Your R?

We all know shit happens in life, and you don’t always get to choose when it does.

The choice you always get to make is how you respond when shit inevitably happens.

It’s time to revisit our old friend, the R-Factor, depicted by the equation E+R=O. This means that the events, plus your response to them, equal the outcomes you will achieve.

Nobody in the Indian Lake community chose to have a tornado devastate the town. But it happened. The E in this equation was being hit by a powerful tornado.

Once this event happened, the town faced a choice for how to respond – their R in the equation. They could have been depressed, angry or defaulted to conspiracy theories and blamed others. But that’s not what the Indian Lake community did… they came together to respond.

Everybody pitched in to help each other clean up the debris, recover what belongings they could, and provide for each other. People from around the state pitched in, volunteered, and donated. Government agencies mobilized and provided support… albeit a little more slowly than the people in the community who immediately jumped into action.

The outcome, or the O, is that the community has become even stronger in the face of this disaster. There is a long, hard road ahead, and it will be a while before everybody gets back on their feet. This road has been made a little easier by the community turning to service as their response.

If you want to participate in the recovery efforts, please consider donating to the United Way of Logan County.

Faced with the reality that life is short and fragile, how are you choosing to live yours? Are you choosing stress and drama, or do you prefer generously giving kindness and empathy? It could make all the difference in the world. 

While the events in your life aren’t always within your control, your response to them is. Choose wisely, and the outcomes could be better than ever. 

Choosing kindness, gratitude and positivity can be challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone. Your friends, family and community are there to help. I am also here to help you choose your path and build your plan to create the life of your dreams; that’s what a coach does.

I believe in you; let me help YOU believe in you!

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Meet Coach Tony

My name is Coach Tony, and I am a coach, author and project manager on a mission. I am working to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

I almost allowed one of my biggest life goals to die without ever being attempted for forty years. My goal almost died, not of failure but of loneliness. But, I took a risk and leveraged a simple, logical process that helped me wildly exceed my goal. 

I transformed my life, and you can do the same with the help of Operation Melt. 

Operation Melt provides engaging, practical content and hands-on coaching to inspire, motivate and equip project managers and other left-brained high-achievers to pursue and accomplish their biggest goals. 


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