Torres column: What would you do if catastrophe struck?
Michael has a normal life just like most of us. He has a stable job, a family with two kids, a mortgage and a new car payment, and he takes care of his health. Michael understands that his family, mortgage, car payment and health expenses depend on his job.
Michael has a perfect life, and it’s going the way he wants it to until, just as could happen to anyone, he undergoes a series of catastrophic events: One of his sons turns suicidal; his hours at work get cut down to half time, so he loses his benefits and can’t afford his mortgage or car payments; and his wife has become disabled and cannot work. With all of this he is considering canceling his personal training membership. Michael now is under physical, moral, financial and health stress.
What would you do? What are the best decisions to make? Will you stop exercising and work double to keep the house and the car? Will you double your son’s drug prescription? What are the best steps to take when under stress?
Fortunately, Michael knew that good times are not forever and there will be bad times, so he saved some money for these events.
He decides to sell his house and buy a smaller, more affordable apartment, and he does the same with his car. Now he can make both payments without getting another job, and hopefully he can get a promotion by performing better. Michael understands that his family is more important than any material or social status, so he starts helping his son understand life and spends extra time with him, taking away all the psychiatric medication that made his behavior worse.
Also, he supports his wife and helps her to get better, so she can help out as soon as possible. They are very supportive of each other.
The commitment he made a year ago to his health is still strong, but he does reduce his personal training sessions. Instead of paying several sessions a month, he decides to meet only once with his personal trainer to go over his program, which he will continue on his own. By doing this, he will save money on doctor visits, medication and personal training.
These catastrophic events are a step back for Michael. He did not plan for them. However, Michael is resilient and continues going forward. Rehabbing his son, supporting his wife, and getting a promotion at work won’t happen overnight. But he knows that if he continues moving forward someday his life will go back to normal.
After four years, Michael’s life is better: Michael has become the CEO of his company; his son is no longer on psychiatric drugs and is doing great in high school, winning some scholarships for college thanks to his grades and dedication; his house and car are paid off with his wife’s help, and they are planning to rent their small apartment and move to a bigger house; and Michael is strong and healthy and training to do his first triathlon.
These events were a wakeup call for Michael. He responded by coming up with a plan, spending more time with his son, doing better at work (where he had been just going through the motions), supporting his wife and buying something he could afford no matter the consequences, all without dropping his health habits.
Can you imagine what would have happened if he had stopped exercising, put his son on psychiatric drugs, divorced his wife and tried to maintain his social status by getting a second job?
What are your tendencies? Are you resilient? What is your strategic plan? What would you do?
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale, author of the book “Lose Weight Permanently” and a Watch Fit columnist. His column appears on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month in Body & More.
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