With so many preparedness voices out there (with the ever growing number of emergency preparedness “experts” on the internet and otherwise), I thought I’d focus my post today on a preparedness planning idea I’ve used that’s helped me filter and safely navigate all the information (and misinformation) as well as keep things balanced in my life. It’s not always 100% fool proof, but it’s a whole lot better than going it alone.
First off, as far as preparedness matters go, I don’t have to tell you it’s easy to get overwhelmed, distracted, scared and even sometimes downright frozen from all the information that’s available and not knowing what to do with it all. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of collecting ideas feeling like you’re being productive simply by collecting them, but yet at the end of the day (or week or month) you don’t seem to have much to show for it.
What do you work on first and who do you trust for advice?
A Personal “Preparedness” Board of Advisors
In college I took a personal development class which I remember enjoying a lot. One idea from it in particular stuck with me which I’ve used over and over again. In the case of preparedness and gaining a personal direction that’s true to you, it may be something you’ll want to think about using.
The idea is of creating for yourself a personal “dream team” of advisors. It’s contained entirely on paper (I like imagining them all sitting down to a big table, where I can ask them anything) these people are, in a way, your “self designated” personal coaches and guides. Some might be people you’ve never met but have learned a lot from, and some (as on my own list) could be dear friends or family who have specific talents for which you call them on for real advice.
For myself, because I’ve selected the people on my team carefully for the qualities they each possess, I find myself much more grounded and stable in the way I look at the big picture of preparedness. I don’t get swayed very easily by trends I see pop up from time to time because I know where my own “center” is, based on the people I want to pattern myself after. Also, by going to this envisioned group in my planning and asking “What would ______ do if he/she were in this situation?, or what has he/she already done to solve this problem?” I find I’m able to discover creative alternatives to preparedness challenges that work for me that I may not have thought of otherwise.
In the end your preparedness plan has to be your preparedness plan. It has to belong to you and cooperate with the way you see life. For this reason, it’s helpful to start with a foundation by which you’ll decide what’s important and what’s not.
I’ve created a blank sheet here for anyone who might be interested in trying out this approach for themselves.
Click to PRINT HERE ==> Board of Advisors for print
Bringing your ideas and challenges to the Board
The next idea here is to move the things you see online and in books (all you want to get done) onto an actual planning list where it can begin to either become real (meaning you start working on it), fade into the background to be focused on at another time, or eliminated all together.
All the online “pins” and bookmarks you’re keeping? My advice is to take the first baby step of writing them down in black and white in your own handwriting to decide which ones you really want to do. You might be surprised, the act of simply writing it down often makes it easy to see that it’s not a priority for you at this time.
Once you have a list of “maybe’s” (no firm commitment required just yet), take your list to your board of advisors to to decide which area feels best to begin and you’ll soon recognize certain things will float to the top. If you can make a phone call to some of the personal acquaintances in the group and verbally commit to them on the goal you have set, you’ll nearly be certain to do it, not wanting to let them down!
Click to PRINT HERE ==> maybe list
Many times in the process you get stuck. There’s a road block of some kind in your way that keeps you from completing your goal and you don’t know what to do. Once again, it helps me to write it all out when I’m stuck, so I don’t get discouraged and give up on the whole project. Just make a note and move on.
When you’re stuck on something, this is the perfect opportunity to take your problems to your advisors to see what they’d do (or have done). Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel all the time. By following these people’s footsteps you’ll find a lot of help when you don’t have the answers yourself.
Click to PRINT HERE ==> current challenges
My Own “Preparedness” Dream Team
For myself, my Board of Advisors includes three mentors who I’ve never personally met, yet who resonate with me as being “the real deal”. They aren’t necessarily out there trying to sell me a book or a program, but instead really live what they preach, and have done so for many years. Three of them are public faces you may or may not know and three (for myself) are people I know personally (two friends and a family member) who I really do call up and ask questions to whenever the need comes up. These are my “rocks” in the world of preparedness that keep me going straight toward my goal. If you’ve read the blog for a while, you’ll likely look at some of the examples I share and say “yep, I see where she got it!”.
The Chairman of the Board that I’ve chosen for myself, based on my faith, is Jesus Christ. This is because for me all my decisions, preparedness and otherwise, go through Him. My faith is a cornerstone in keeping balance and direction in my preparedness planning and it’s something I hold dearly to in trying to navigate where my energy should best be spent.
Allow me to introduce you…
So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to introduce you to a few of the people who I’ve learned so much from. Maybe they’ll end up inspiring you as well!
Jim is a cold weather, emergency kit and sanitation expert who heads up the Safe Harbor Alliance website as well as teaches classes and hosts a weekly online radio show. He’s been an example to me in realizing the importance of gaining “skills over stuff” and testing for myself what really works based on first hand experience.
A few of my favorite quotes:
I’ve loved reading Jackie Clay’s articles in Backwoods Home Magazine for how “down to earth” she is and willing to share what she knows while at the same time making things feel so manageable even to a novice. She focuses on homesteading and canning but writes on a lot of different topics. She’s a voice of encouragement, someone who’s real about preparedness (and knows practically everything there is to know), but yet has a way of still encouraging others who are just starting out. For me, I the thing I love best about her is her attitude. I can imagine her cheering me on even with the small steps I make.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from her having to do with learning to cook with food storage (taken from this article):
Leslie Probert is a popular preparedness speaker and author living in Utah. She writes for Deseret News specifically. Thanks to Valerie at Prepared LDS Family, here’s an index of Leslie’s articles which Valerie compiled for those of us living outside of UT. Leslie was eating out of her food storage long before most anyone else was, so of course to me that’s a cool point right there.
Besides that, I’ve appreciated a lot of her perspectives on preparedness in general, most especially her take on the “why’s” to prepare. From her I’ve taken a motivation to prepare based on positive, well thought out rational reasons which make sense to me. I find I’m a lot more productive working with “positives” in mind rather than feeling like I’m being chased because the end of the world is coming.
Click on the image to enlarge it if needed. Also, you can read the article this was taken from HERE.
My last bit of advice:
Preparedness is a process that takes time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but just don’t let it get to you. Day by day, so long as we’re dedicated and pointed in the right direction, we can get there. Decide where you want to end up and guard against following rabbit holes that aren’t for you. Save your energy for what’s important by tailoring your preparedness plans to yourself and your family’s needs combined with what you want to accomplish in the end.
Well, I hope this little pep talk/ organizational idea has been helpful! I’d love to hear who YOU look to as an example in your preparedness.