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“911 is on the way. It looks like her placenta ruptured and I don’t know if the baby’s going to be OK…”
It took a full moment for the gravity of those statements to sink in. I was just coming back from lunch and aside from the phone in my wife’s hand and the look on her face, all seemed business as usual. We had patients in chairs, staff working their usual jobs, and folks in the lobby all presently uninformed to the fact that 2 lives were in danger.
‘Is there any other kind?’
But in just a few moments, that scene would change…
“Got it. What can I do?”
And as I waited for my wife’s response, I looked over her shoulder and saw a friend, colleague, one of our original 2 employees, and most importantly a 35-week pregnant mother of 2 and this 3rd on the way with blood-soaked pants and a concerned look on her face. Although terrified and stressed out, Rachel held it together.
“Sit her down, try to get her to relax, and I’ll wait for the squad.”
“Good. Call [her husband].”
I kept eyes on our front door and ears for the sirens while I dialed. Although these two had prepared for the possibility that this fate could be realized, no one actually expected it to happen.
And her husband didn’t want this call any more than I wanted to make it, but these were the facts of the situation – and this situation required swift, decisive action.
Over the course the next two hours, worlds were rocked, lives were changed, and lessons were learned
We’ll get to the specific outcome in a moment, but first the point of me sharing this story.
Plans… They’re great to have but will only take you so far
Two things here:
1- If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail
These two had at least considered this possibility, and because of that time spent thinking about what would happen if her placenta ruptured, they didn’t need to waste time learning about the situation. They had already researched. Now all they needed to do was take action.
Are you taking the time to plan for the litany of possible scenarios in your life and business? What if sales take a downturn or if your top employee hands in their 2-weeks notice and leaves for another job? Have you considered how you’d act?
Or have you thought about where you see yourself in 5 years? How do you know whether you’re making progress if you don’t have specific and measurable goals to compare with?
Take the time to plan for possible outcomes, no matter how likely.
If you’ve spent the time preparing, you’ll inherently be more empowered to perform when the curtain lifts and your friend tells you, “I’m dying – I read about this…” with an akwardly calm face.
2- Plans are limited and can only take you so far
Neither one of our kids came with a child-specific manual. We did the whole nesting thing, prepared the car- seats, and readied the crib. But once those lives physically separated from their mother, we had to play it fast and loose, and learn more information as we went (still in progress, BTW).
Inputs are constantly hitting your senses and filling your brain with new and updated information. When that happens in a high-stress situation, how will you react?
You really think so???
The only way to know for sure is to put yourself or your business through the exercise. As Eleanor Roosevelt said – “do something every day that scares you”.
Put your body through difficult situations with intense exercise then try to make decisions. Throw your business a huge curveball with a surprise exercise, see how the Team reacts, and debrief after the fact. Hopefully, you’ll find out that your Team is highly capable and resilient.
And in short – don’t shy away from confrontation. Rise to it. You’ll learn a great deal about what your true self is really like
This way, when the training wheels of ‘exercise’ and ‘drill’ are stripped away from your life and someone is “dying” in your office, you don’t have to waste precious moments wondering in the back of your mind how you’ll react.
Or how your Team will react.
The variables of the situation can then be winnowed down to what actually matters – facts, updates, communication, and making sure that everything humanly possible can be done when it matters most.
The medic and hospital staff told stories about Rachel, her baby, and their family for the remainder of the week
The two were famous for their “grand entrance” to the hospital for emergency surgery in a highly complicated situation. The placenta ruptured around 1:15 and the sweet baby was born without (further incident or complication) at 2:30 to an exhausted and relieved mother and father.
From the emergency response team to the doctors at the hospital and the parents themselves – everyone performed exceptionally well. Kept their cool, took decisive action, and pushed through the noise to get the job done. Their collective actions are why this story has a terrific ending.
Placental abruption has a 15% infant mortality rate, and further a 40-50% chance of the baby developing long-term complications as a result of the condition. The circumstances can become dire… quickly.
Here’s how one source puts it:
“If abruption is detected, physicians must start treatment immediately as there is only a small amount of time before devastating consequences occur.”
But for advanced planning, calm decision making, and a bit of good fortune, these situations don’t always end happily.
Wouldn’t you love the same good fortune when chaos strikes your personal life or business?
Prepare, plan, act decisively, and perform your ass off to put your Team (in whatever arena) in the best possible situation to succeed.
(Photo courtesy of Dan Brooks)