The Snow Storm

Connecting During Times of Trouble

2014 is well underway and so far the weather has been all winter all the time. Cold, snow, wind – I know this is January, what should we expect, but the prolonged cold has been challenging.

I had the opportunity to drive my grown-up daughter from Winnipeg to Boston at the beginning of the year. I can’t remember the last time I had 30+ hours to sit with her and talk about life. She needed to get her car and big dog to Boston to start her new job and I felt a strong need to drive with her and help her get moved in to her new place.

If you ask me today, was it a good experience? Were we able to connect on a deeper level than usual? The answer is a resounding, “yes!” There were times during the trip, however, when I was not so sure.

We encountered the worst driving conditions I have ever seen. For the first time in my life, I bruised my hands and created excruciating pain in my shoulders from stress and tension just by driving. I held in my hands the safety of one of the people on earth I truly treasure. That is a lot of responsibility.

Since you are reading this, you know we survived, even though road accidents that day claimed the lives of others in the blinding snow squalls. Not only did we survive, but we have an experience to relate to that has brought us even closer together.

In my latest book, Making Contact: How To Connect With People, I have an entire chapter on leading when something goes wrong. In my business ventures, I came to realize how vulnerable people were after a mistake, accident, or unexpected incident. I must confess during this snow storm I was only focused on staying on the road and getting my daughter to safety but I realize that it is true – a difficult situation or one where something has gone wrong can be an opportunity to grow relationships not break them down.

As long as finding someone to blame is not your most important objective and you take the time to first care for the people involved in an unforeseen or difficult situation, you have the opportunity to foster relationships. People remember for a long time the challenges of a mishap or difficult challenge and of those they shared the experience with.

The relationship between my daughter and myself is stronger than ever. I helped her in her move to a new city and a new job, we managed a stressful situation together, and we did have hours to reconnect.

I hope you and I can both handle the next difficult challenge thrown our way by taking care of the people first and then dealing with the causes of the challenge and the long-term solutions to prevent such an incident from recurring in the future. 2014 is already shaping up to be an interesting year.

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