Aviate, Navigate, Communicate


It could always be worse.   Those 5 words are often part of my day to day thoughts and feelings. However, I've also been known to say that if it wasn't for bad luck, I would have no luck at all. I guess this sums up March 21st very well.   I was away at work and sleeping when my phone rang at 4:30 am.  I've always told my family that they can call me (no matter the time) because I want them to always feel like I'm within easy reach...even when great distances and time zones separate us.  I figured one of my sons didn't realize the time change.  Imagine my shock and surprise when they informed me (more like yelling) that our house was flooding and water was pouring in.  As I began to wake-up a little more and get my bearings straight, I realized my family needed help.  After a quick Face Time call, we were able to shut off the water and take things step by step. 

Let me digress for a moment.    In flying, and in particular when handling an emergency, we are taught to Aviate, Navigate and Communicate.   It doesn't matter if you're flying a Cessna 152 or a Boeing 737, these 3 things are part of every pilot's training.  So what do they mean?  Aviate simply means we continue to fly the plane.  It's easy to get caught up in all the excitement and lose focus....remember, someone has to fly the plane.  Navigate simply means we find a place to go- whether we continue on our current route or we divert to another airport.  Finally communication.  We communicate our intentions to air traffic control, to the company to our flight attendants and passengers.   See where I'm going with this?  In many ways, subconsciously, I had to follow similar steps with my family and also with my business.  We took control of the situation, figured out our plan (route) and communicated our intentions.  

For the first time in 6 years, I had to shut down my business to assess the damage.  Since I was 4 provinces over, the only option for me was to shut down the website because I didn't know the extent of the damage.  Were shave soaps under water?  How much inventory was lost?  I couldn't imagine receiving orders and then having to cancel and refund them because inventory was damaged.

When I emailed my customers about this incident, I was overwhelmed by the support and words of encouragement.  Yes- there was a point during all of this when I wanted to quit and close things up for good.  Fortunately, my family helps keep me going lifting me up and your words from near and far helped motivate me to keep going.  

When I returned home from work, there was a fair amount of damage and a lot of stuff to go through.  I won't go through all the details, but generally speaking, about 95% or more of my business was safe.  Let's just say I was lucky and the pieces that were damaged shouldn't have been where they were.....that was my fault.  

While the store was paused.......I don't want to say closed.....closed sounds to finite, it gave me a chance to evaluate lots of things.  I evaluated our inventory, where we keep it, how we keep it and how I create my orders.  It was a chance to restructure things that go on behind the scenes.  I also made changes to our shipping policy which we communicated to our customers last month.  Finally, I did some minor adjustments to our website to give it the same familiar vibe but with some fine tuning.  

We've been back in action since April 1st and while we still have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us, we are taking it all in stride.  Aviate, Navigate and Communicate.  

Photo Credit: Unsplash 


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