Coach’s Challenge for 2/28/11 “Adaptability”

Good day, team.

This weekend, we found ourselves at our home in the Columbia River Gorge, where the temperature was 11 degrees, with no electricity. Fortunately, our wood stove kept the temperature in parts of the house at about 60 degrees, and because we have solar panels, our refrigerator, freezer and some light switches continued to function. This situation brought couple thoughts to mind. One, we live in a world dominated by conveniences that constantly serve our needs. Second, when we find ourselves without those conveniences, we become inventive, and often lifelong memories are created.

Human beings are highly adaptable, and when the going gets tough, we tend to rise to the occasion. Case in point: when I realized I would soon run out of hot water, I immediately put a large pot of water on top of the wood stove. This may not seem very inventive, but what I noticed is that I never gave it a second thought. I just instinctively did it. My husband was already piling extra wood by the stove so we could keep the temperature in the house consistent. I began to think about ways I could cook dinner with only my gas burners working or what we could make on the wood-fired oven outdoors. These alternatives to our usual routines just came to us naturally.

Herein lies this week’s challenge. Consider what you would do to keep the home fires burning if your modern conveniences were unavailable. How long has it been since you lost electricity and had to be more inventive in dealing with your daily life? Have you forgotten what it’s like to be without a computer or a television or some other electronic devise for a few hours or days? Have you gone without your car for a day or two, or had to rely on your fireplace or wood stove to heat your home? When was the last time you had to walk home because your car broke down? I’m not suggesting that you create some problem to test how adaptable you can be, but I am asking you to consider what you would do if something did occur that forced you to give up some of your conveniences.

When I was a child, we lived in places with extreme weather. During a bad winter storm, we would camp out by the living room fireplace with our sleeping bags and pillows, huddled together to stay warm, telling stories by the firelight. Sometimes in the summer,  it was so hot at night that it was impossible to sleep upstairs, and we would bunk out on the porch. These childhood memories are some of my most vivid. What many adults consider to be major inconveniences, children often see as grand adventures.

This week, consider how you would live if you lost most of your day-to-day conveniences. Perhaps you will take time to store up on food and water in your pantry. Maybe you will purchase a good oil lamp for use when you have no electrical light. Think about what you might have to do at work if you lose power or people are stranded for a few days because of a storm. Most companies have business resumption plans that collect dust on the shelves because no one really thinks about them until a disaster hits. How will you adapt if you have to come up with alternatives to supporting yourself and others around you?

Try seeing the loss of convenience through a child’s eyes; instead of it being bothersome, think of it as an adventure. Get creative, and you might find it creates a memory you will never forget.

Have a good week!

Kathleen

Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

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