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SPECIAL SECTION

Small business

EMERGENCY PLANNING

REWARDS OF DOING BUSINESS

> Use your calendar

> The sweet battle of becoming you

as a preparedness tool

by Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D.

by Ana-Marie Jones

A calendar is an often-overlooked tool in emergency preparedness.

Whether you use a wall calendar, a pocket diary, a web-based calendar or a smart phone, you have the opportunity to prepare for greatness throughout the year. The beginning of the year is a great time to plan for preparedness. Here are some ideas to get you started: • Copy recurring items from last year’s calendar. Include annual preparedness conferences, monthly emergency manager’s meetings, and any events where you share your preparedness efforts. Ana-Marie Jones •Create reminders to keep your supplies updated, batteries charged, food, water and medication fresh, and photos and information current. Changing to or from daylight saving time are good times to schedule. You may have other important annual dates that make sense for you as well. •Set dates now for renewals of important classes: staff preparedness, First Aid, CPR, fire suppression, etc. •Revisit your MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding), and otherwise ensure that your written relationships and agreements are still strong and valid – before you need them. Think about the things you never found time for this year – and look for ways to take control in the future! •When planning ahead, consider who else needs to know about this event and make sure it gets on their calendar as well. •Don’t forget preparedness planning for your family, community of faith, neighborhood, school or other groups you belong to. •Determine how much lead time you need to gather critical supplies, remind partners or book resources and put an appropriately timed reminder in your calendar. Using your calendar as an emergency preparedness tool isn’t limited to January, either. Anytime you create the space to plan ahead, you are planning for brilliance! ■

Ana-Marie Jones is the executive director of CARD – Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters.

The goal of life is to become who you are. This statement, stipulated by many a wise person over the span of recorded human history, is as simple as it is complex. To become who you are describes the process of stripping yourself naked of your ideas of the world, ideas more often than not made up of wishes and fantasies of how we would like the world and ourselves to be. In this process fantasies give way – often very slowly – to a more comprehensive understanding of the way we are, not in the way we would like ourselves to be. Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D. In everyday language we call this process “becoming more realistic” and generally mean that our view of the world has become larger, more encompassing, and thus has moved beyond the confines of our own personal perceptions. If the goal of life is to become who we are, I cannot think about any other occupation that helps this process move along more intensely and fiercely than being in business. The successes and failures in business – not necessarily measured in money alone but just as often in the way we feel about ourselves and the business we are building – continue to give us continual feedback as to how our personal perception compares to actual reality. For example, my business is to care for elders. Having been raised as a child by elders who taught me all I know today, I started this business some 20 years ago with the simple conviction that elders are the most valuable resource on the planet. As the planet’s most valuable resource, elders ought to be in the limelight of life, central to guiding and informing us younger in years. This was my conviction, remains my conviction. Equipped with this certainty, I thought I needed to simply show my teammates how I wanted to see such a belief implemented in an elder community. With a little back-office help, so I thought then, I would have the core of a business in place. If my business had not grown beyond this first elder community, this might even have been a correct assumption. But just as it is in the nature of the human being to continually grow and develop, so it is the nature of business to keep expanding. It wants to test itself, wants to know its limits. So the business grew and alongside of it I had no choice but to grow with it lest I would harm the health of the organization itself. This is a central point: whereas in many other occupations one might have an opportunity to slide by, perhaps even kick back and relax somewhat, business is ruthless: be open to learn and adapt, or else start over again. Such a tireless demand does not come without pain. In my case, the source of pain was the reluctance to let go of my ideals of how life ought to be. Enduring this pain indicated that I was on my way to becoming “more realistic” and understanding of the complexity of life. With this recognition of how my fantasies colored my perception of life came the rewards of being more appreciative of life as it showed itself in the way it is, not in the way I wanted it to be. Being in business is pushing me to understand life more comprehensively, that is “realistically.” These, then, are the rewards of doing business. It is a constant sweet battle with life where ideals and beliefs must confront reality as it is, where ideals are tested in how they measure up against reality, where reality is tested as to how it is willing and ready to grow and change itself. In becoming who we are we can enter into the role of the wise elder, giving back, mentoring, guiding, making this world a better, more loving place. This is a sweet reward, indeed. ■

Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D. is founder and chief executive officer of AgeSong.

February 2012 | 9

Oakland Business Review February 2012  

Oakland Business Review February 2012

Oakland Business Review February 2012  

Oakland Business Review February 2012