I spent the morning writing which always makes me happy. I had been adding some thoughts about synchronicity to my work on resilience, when I received an email from my dear friend Claire. The following is the section of my work on my computer screen as I navigated away to check her message:
“The Black Swan
Here is a riddle, “What do earthquakes, tsunami, avalanches, hurricanes and economic meltdowns have in common?” Answer: You know they might happen but you never know exactly when, why or how destructive the impact until after they have occurred. That riddle is the best way to explain how we began to feel about business, and the economy upon which the hotel business is dependent, by March 2008. Gas prices were rising (not a good thing when you own a hotel in a drive-to market), real estate prices were falling sharply (not a good thing when you own a hotel which is primarily considered a real estate asset), and business travel was being curtailed in response to decreased business results (really not a good thing when you own a hotel). The economic indicators were not good and everyone knew that in March, yet the vast majority of the best economic minds had not foreseen the economic meltdown that visibly surfaced for everyone to see in October 2008. We were particularly stunned since October 2008 was our best October occupancy since owning the hotel. As one of the many life ironies, Richard and I were listening to a book on CD as we drove back and forth from our home to the Prescott hotel. The book we were listening to was entitled The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.
The premise of the book Black Swan is that life and world events are far more random than predictable. We generally say that we agree with that premise, yet our day to day lives are filled with actions that scream that we don’t believe in the premise one bit. We buy stock believing we can accurately predict the direction its value will move, we make long-term plans believing we are prudent to do so, and we even choose educational paths believing we know what will be needed in the future. While we are busy crawling our way from one guesstimate to the next, some event occurs that jumps out of supposed nowhere, and the real actions we need to take at that moment become clear. Notice I wrote “at that moment”. “
Claire’s message was that her granddaughter Annie was in the hospital. Annie had just been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This was not totally unexpected since Annie has been monitored for many years. You see Annie comes from a family that appears to be a medical anomaly for diabetes. Her older brother Bobby was diagnosed at 20 months of age some eight years ago, her Uncle Christopher and Mom Rebecca were diagnosed five years later in — the same week. All type 1, all one family, all without any noticeable family history prior to Bobby’s original diagnosis. Some of life’s black swans just keep pooping on your head.
So here is the Dr. Success Request. If you feel so moved, please make a donation (http://www.curetype1.org/). And if you happen to be in the neighborhood on Friday, July 24, join me at the Ladies Luncheon for the Drive for the Cure at Wente Winery. I have the honor of keynoting that event and the topic will be Resilience, Heroes and Hope. At this moment admittedly I need all three and so do my friends the Stearns, Lien’s and Wolfe’s.