Hurricanes, Power Outages, Flooding, Oh My!

hurricanes and gratitude


Let’s talk gratitude. Having survived Hurricane Matthew with minimal damage, gratitude is top of mind. Before, during, and after the hurricane, I watched people come together to help prepare, weather the storm, cleanup after, and deal with the widespread power outages. Watching our small community pull together to help each was beautiful to see. Neighbors checked in with each other and freely offered assistance without expectation of anything in return. Beautiful humans helping other beautiful humans.

The day after the storm, power was out, travel was limited by flooding and downed trees, and the sound of generators filled the air. The sky was clear and blue and the sun shone brightly. It was hard to imagine that such a devastating storm had occurred the day before.

Giving power to those who need it.

My husband got our generator going, and we became a coffee stop for the neighborhood. We hooked a neighbor’s refrigerator into our generator with a hundred-foot heavy duty extension cord and had several neighbors store their frozen food in our chest freezer. Later in the day as batteries started failing in electronics, we became a charging station. Looking at the cell phones and laptops charging in our kitchen, I thought about others who might have taken advantage of this situation and charged people for small things like this. Instead, in our gratitude that we were spared major damage, we gave freely of what we had to offer. The relief and few moments of happiness we saw in the faces of the people we helped were enough.

Often we see the opposite behavior in times of trouble. Rioting, looting, and violence are sometimes the outlet for those who have been through a difficult time. In our community, we watched business owners taking care of their employees, calming fears, and offering hope, even while they were worried about their own homes and businesses and had plenty of their own cleanup to do.

Businesses closed days before the hurricane to allow their employees time to prepare their homes and to evacuate if they lived in an evacuation zone. While there was some grumbling about preparing so early, in the end, it was the right thing to do. Lives were saved, property was protected as much as it could be, and employees felt valued by their employer.

I so often see employers taking their employees for granted and forgetting that they are human too. A humanistic approach makes such a difference in your employees’ loyalty to your business and to you as their employer. When you show you value your employees, they are willing to go that extra step to help, like the staff who opened the local bagel shop when the owners were kept away by the authorities or the business owner who opened the day after the hurricane and offered free coffee and bags of ice. These are the humanistic touches we need to practice daily, not just after a hurricane or other traumatic event.

Today, I ask each of you to pause for a moment and reflect on what you can do to be more human and recognize and be grateful for the value of what your employees do for your business. Unless you are a solopreneur, your people are critical to your success. Take time to say thank you, ask how they are doing, and what you can do for them to make their work easier or more enjoyable. The payoff is invaluable.

Because if you don’t show that you value your employees and their contributions to your business every day, your employees won’t be loyal to you, the quality of their work will suffer, and you will spend your time dealing with negative issues rather than positive ones.

Share your hurricane experiences in the comments. How did you care for your business and your employees? Your insights may be just what someone needs to move forward.