Robert C. White & Co May 2019




MAY 2019


What To Do When Murphy Strikes

“Well … this is a problem,” is what the text read from my wife with the picture to the right.

than the others. That is what you need to focus on completely. Your brain will automatically try to overwhelm you by thinking about all of the other problems that exist. But you need to worry about and fix the one most burning issue. In this case, the car was useless until that door could be closed, and Anne needed a car by 7 a.m. the next morning. That was the most burning issue: closing the door. I called every mechanic and every autobody shop I could, but they were all closed. I searched for mobile repair companies, but they weren’t responsive. Then, I finally tried to work my friend and family network. In the end, my brother Josh said he could stop by on his way home to see if he could help. The burning issue was addressed. Now I could move on to the next step. 3) Create a backup plan. Now that I knew Josh was in route, I needed to figure out what we would do if he couldn’t get the door closed. Again, Anne needed a car by 7 a.m. the next day. We had to rent a car until I got home. I made some calls, and while the local rental car location was closed, the call center could get some of the paperwork teed up for the next day. Here is the thing about a backup plan: By creating one, you shift from a reactive position to a proactive position. You always want to push to be in a proactive state as quickly as possible because your body will deal with stress that comes up differently when you are in a proactive state. 4) Plan the permanent fix. So, Josh is in route to try to close the door and the rental car is lined up as the backup plan. Now I can work out what to do to actually fix the door. Again, this is a proactive stance. I am assuming Josh will be able to fix it or we will rent a car. The main plan and backup plan to address the

I was in a hotel in Colorado nearly 2,000 miles away. My cousin was getting married the next day, and we decided I would attend solo because of my daughter’s play performance and logistical challenges. (Who said having four kids is easy?) As you can see from the picture, the passenger sliding door to our minivan partially fell off. Luckily, it happened after Anne parked in the garage, so she and the kids were already home. Sadly, she couldn’t close it, rendering the car useless. Our other car was parked at the airport (with the keys inmy pocket) and at the time, all local mechanics, auto body shops, and rental car companies were closed. Murphy’s Law happens the most when I am away fromhome, and Murphy is an expert in bad timing. Whenever Murphy strikes, I find I need to keep my head and work through four stages to get to a good result: 1) Be grateful, 2) Address the most burning issue, 3) Create a backup plan, and 4) Plan the permanent fix. Here’s how we worked through all of those during the minivan incident. 1) Be Grateful. I find being grateful for something, no matter how small, resets the situation and grounds you. In this situation, I was incredibly grateful that the door broke after Anne got home with the kids. If the door had broken when she was picking up the kids from day care or school, the problem would have been much tougher. We were really lucky. Gratitude, even for something very small, frees you to approach the problem with the right mental state.

burning issue are in motion. The

permanent fix is pretty straight forward. I need to get the car to the mechanic so they can fix the door. I don’t need to do more now because I won’t be able to do anything until Monday when I return to Connecticut anyway, but I know what actions need to take place to solve the problem. I used this framework to address the minivan door breaking, but it’s also the systemwe use at Robert C. White & Company when things go wrong at a property we manage. We have had fires, sewer backups, and so many other issues happen at our properties. We use this framework to keep our heads, address the most pressing issue, and get into a proactive stance. I hope it helps you next time Murphy strikes.

Yours in battle against Murphy and his law,

P.S. Josh was able to get the door closed (my hero) so no need to resort to the backup plan. Now I just need to get it repaired next week when I get back. Take that, Murphy!

2) Address the most burning issue. With any problem, there is always one issue more pressing


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