My state of California has set a new low-water mark this month with lakes and snowfields at their lowest levels since record-keeping started in the late 1800s. The snowpack is  5% of the 28-inch average; boats sit on dry river beds; salt is seeping into the Sacramento Delta; and rivers are being closed for fishing. Every household must reduce water consumption by at least 25%.

Flushing a toilet — even a low flush one — wastes gallons. The California mantra now is “If it’s yellow- let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”  Water that used to run in the sink while it got hot is now collected in plastic basins and poured on my plants. Shower water is collected while we bath. Ice cubes left in drinks are also thrown on plants.  Our washer has a sensor to only fill according to the level of clothes in the machine and artificial turf (installed years ago) helps a ton.

If you’re not from California, what does this have to do with lessons for everyone?

Glad you asked.

Stop ignoring the obvious! California politicians and many people just re-arranged the deckchairs on the proverbial Titanic. We are a desert state and yet water has been treated like a never-ending commodity instead of the finite resource that it is.  This drought is NOT a surprise. Part of the problem is “inter-temporal discounting,” which also causes problems in terms of people eating healthy and saving for retirement.

The business implication: In your business or personal life, are you choosing to ignore the obvious? Example: I just changed my beautician. She has ignored the inevitable world around her. You can’t email or text her. As a professional, I need flexibility in appointments yet now she only works 3 days a week. My new stylist will work 7 days a week whenever her clients need her. She texts reminders, studied my web site, bought my book, actually read it, and came up with new ideas to help me manage my hair on the road.

Take steps to mitigate “drought.”  We  will experience some form of drought or lack in our lives. It can be the loss of income, a physical set-back, the loneliness from friends that have moved on or away, or even the drought of feeling life is stale and dry.

The business implication: Have you saved for a financial drought?  Have you nurtured old as well as new friends so you can support each other in challenging times? Do you watch your diet and exercise on an ongoing basis, so that even if a physical challenge happens, you’ll at least have some resistance and strength already built up? Do you look for different books to read, different experiences to have, new learning opportunities? While not the only solution to a feeling of personal or emotional drought, every little bit might help.

Nurture your home team. I’d have a hard time staying water-wise if my husband wasn’t doing his part and if we didn’t work together to reduce our water consumption.

The business implication: Who makes up your home team? Have you talked about potential scenarios and what steps you might begin now?  Back-up plans are always smart. Once in place, you move forward with the NOW of your life — confident that if and when a drought occurs, you at least have actions to try.

And since I believe that laughter is always a necessary resiliency trait — even in drought — here’s the latest I heard:

“It’s so dry here that  the fire hydrants are chasing the dogs around.”

About Eileen McDargh

Since founding McDargh Communications & The Resiliency Group Eileen McDargh has helped organizations and individuals transform the life of their business and the business of their life through conversations that matter and connections that count.

Her programs are content rich, interactive, provocative and playful—even downright hilarious. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. She is the author of six books, including Gifts from the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life's Complexities ,a Benjamin Franklin Gold Award winner. A training film based on this book was awarded the Silver Telly, the highest award for commercial productions. Her latest book was written to help everyone who is stretched too thin by competing demands My Get Up & Go Got Up & Went. As a business author and commentator, she’s appeared on network news, on radio programs and in business journals and in major metropolitan newspapers .

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