Last week I checked through the clothes we have stored away in the attic at home for the UK winter ahead. I rescued the coats we needed and then I noticed another perfectly good jacket I hadn’t used for ages.
I tried it on and as a result of being a bit more healthier these days (#spin), the jacket was just too big. Awesome I said to myself. But the jacket was a really good quality water & windproof one; I loved it when I bought it and used it all the time until eventually, (somewhat a sad reflection of materialism) I forgot about.
Cutting to the chase, it wasn’t that the coat was old or unwanted; I just didn’t need it anymore!
IN YOUR EARS
Paul suggests listening to this song to accompany reading this post!
Mrs K and I are big believers in recycling and we give more than our fair share of clothes and other items to the charity shops. But early last week I saw a homeless man not a million miles away from where we live and I happened to notice his coat, or more importantly, that it had seen better days.
Over weekend I decided to give my coat to that man, if I could find him again that was; but it wasn’t that hard to come across him once more at the same place, same coat, same situation. I knew (thought) what he wanted and needed; my amazing coat.
‘I don’t care what it is’
When I approached him and said I had a coat and asked would he like it, without any hesitation, he said ‘what’s it like?’ To some that might surprise you. But to me it did not.
I didn’t expect him to be just grateful for any old thing. He knew he needed something that was useful to him; his situation. Not me just giving him anything that I think is right for him. I don’t live in his world. I can only try to make sense of it.
I showed him the coat and he said yes please, if I didn’t mind he would have it? Why would I mind anyway? I thought I was doing him a favour but his decency came across and he was helping me to get rid of my coat.
Now I will talk to anyone me; I can communicate as I’ve done so all my professional life. So, in the few seconds that seem like an eternity as I handed him the coat and he was pleased at the prospects of using it, for some reason, I thought of the resilience word.
To me this would help him be a bit more 'resilient' in his circumstances. So, I asked him a question...
“What does resilience mean to you?”
He looked at me and said “I don’t really care what it is, I just survive from day to day”.
Life is for living
In the few seconds of (slightly) uneasy silence, I reflected on his answer. He was right. He didn’t need to know what resilience means. He just needed to be it; to survive.
It was a real moment of connecting my business profession with a real-life situation.
I’m in a current phase of trying to demonstrate and influence the need for some change in the business continuity world. Some sense of reality.
I don’t proclaim to know fully, what the moral of this real-life story was, but the bottom line is, I guess the man was going to be resilient with or without my coat. My coat just helped him be, (perhaps) a bit more resilient. Gave him some further security, confidence and capability to do his own thing.
I suppose my coat could be a metaphor for somethings in the resilience industry and profession; but in the end, does it really matter? It was about what he needed, not what I wanted him to have. The coat in its simplest form will help him along the way but his survival matters the most.
He thanked me and I thanked him and I parted with ‘you’re welcome’.
Survive and thrive
I normally end my articles with a standard paragraph about resilience and my previous posts. But on this occasion, I would rather just say, if you do have any clothing you don’t need anymore (rather than thinking they are unwanted), please consider giving them to the homeless or to charity.
A truly down to earth, grounded individual who is a resilience professional. Helping people and organizations to build and maintain their capabilities to respond to and recover from, crisis, emergencies or disasters. Paul is the 'resilience maverick' because he is not like the average resilience professional. Paul wants to help everyone be a bit more resilient because they can! firstname.lastname@example.org