Are You Built Right? You Were Designed to Withstand the Storms
I recently landed at DFW airport on an American Airlines flight in tornadic weather at night. As the pilot was attempting to touch down, the plane was pummeled with powerful winds tossing us up and down. I peered out the window and saw the lightning ignite the clouds. I felt my body shudder against the seatbelt, and a thought came to me. This aircraft was built to withstand extremely violent weather. If it were not, this piece of metal cutting through the sky would already be peeled apart and bodies would be strewn about.
All of a sudden, I heard the engines rev up, and the plane start climbing. The pilot was aborting the landing. He was prepared. The plane was prepared. In those moments of anxiety, I had a thought about life: Are we preparing ourselves for the storms of life and leadership?
When violent storms threaten our lives or organizations, we can withstand them if we are built right and if we are trained right. As I look around me, some people, some relationships, some families and some organizations are ripped to shreds when crisis comes to them. But others resist the ferocious calamities that come our way with tenacity, and even grace.
So what does it take to be built right? Here are some thoughts…
Crises will come. Expect them.
At age 79, the famous coach Lou Holtz, experienced a house fire that demolished his 11,000 square foot home. All his prized possessions were consumed. As he talked about it, he revealed that in life he expects three major crises per year. When the fire happened, he looked at his wife and said, “At least, only two crises are left this year.” Coach Holtz has the right idea. We must expect crises to hit our lives.
So how can we be prepared to withstand the pressure? When we view loss as a part of our journey, we can minimize the surprise associated with it. Much like we know storms are a real part of our weather cycle, and they can be predicted and prepared for, we can anticipate hard times and brace ourselves for damage or loss. We can expect these times as a part of the cycle of life.
Death will come. Conquer fear.
How do you conquer the fear of death? One of the biggest forces that push against us in life is death and the threat of death. If you have answered the question of your personal eternity—for life after death—that will help keep you together. Having a clear perspective on the journey of life and death will help you conquer the common fear of death.
I recall another plane experience I had when I thought about life and death. I was onboard an aircraft that was taking me to 10,000 feet for my first skydiving jump. There was much uncertainty. I was about to plunge into the open air. Crazy! So I had to ask myself the question: Am I okay with death?
I have personally resolved the question through my Christian faith.
Relationships are precious. Cherish them.
I am often reminded how relationships begin shattering when left unattended. Even the closest ones become cold and stagnant in the least, but can get chaotic and fully unraveled if we are not intentional to care for them. Relationships are what bond us to our families and loved ones. They are the very fabric of everything we do in leadership.
The question here is, are you building the infrastructure of your relationships so securely that they can withstand extreme stress of storms when they arise? Are you creating positive habits and right mental perspectives for yourself and others to withstand the torrent of pressures that relationships face?
Our bodies will fail. Protect them.
In my work as a physician, I see people ignoring their health and suffering the consequences of poor health. I see others who take care of themselves and garner the benefits of a good quality of life. All the while, we must come to terms with the fact that our life here is temporal because our physical bodies are temporal. Even though our bodies will eventually fail, we must do our best to be as healthy as possible in the years we have on earth. Then when sickness comes, we can withstand and resist it.
My friend, prepare yourself for the storms of life. They will come. Just as my plane landed safely in violent weather during a second attempt at the runway, I believe we can withstand all that life can bring, if we are prepared.
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