Mike Hodges spent most of his career in the health insurance industry before starting his own business consulting and personal development company. You can contact him at [email protected]

 

So as I watched the coverage of Hurricane Michael yesterday, which missed us and headed east, I was remembering 14 years ago when I lived through Hurricane Ivan in Pensacola, Florida.

 

The memories were intense.😯

 

Like Michael, Ivan was a devastating storm. It wiped out Pensacola and put us back in the stone age for several weeks.

 

Houses and business were destroyed. Roads were impassible. Downed trees and debris were everywhere. So were downed power lines, and wild animals…including many that were once pets.

 

No electricity, no gasoline, damaged sewer systems, no water.

 

It’s hard to explain how bad it really was…the pictures and the videos can’t do justice to how COMPREHENSIVE the damage caused by a powerful hurricane is.

 

It’s not just physical.

 

The community hurt and hurt badly. Businesses and family homes were destroyed. People were frightened and desperate.

 

You go from living in a really nice place, to living in a really nice place with National Guardsman and “You loot, I shoot” signs in people’s yards.👮‍♂️👮‍♂️

 

There was crime, despair, lost hope and suffering.

 

But there was also courage, kindness, and generosity in the form of charitable donations and volunteer workers. Neighbors helped neighbors…and total strangers.🙂

 

It brought out the best and the worst in people.

 

It also made me realize…with DEVASTATING clarity… what was and wasn’t important.

 

My family and friends were alive. We repaired and replaced and went back to work…and discovered an amazing blessing. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were pregnant with my daughter while we were rebuilding our lives…and for our family she is the biggest blessing that came from that time.💟

 

Ivan could smash houses, and damage my stuff…but he didn’t take my intellect, my creativity, my compassion, my work ethic, and my desire to rebuild and serve others.

 

But that wouldn’t matter if I didn’t get back up from the canvas and get back to work rebuilding.

 

In many ways, Pensacola is better than it was before. We improved our infrastructure, and built up our downtown area in the ensuing years.

 

My wife and I raised our children, and I ultimately set out on my own entrepreneurial path.

 

And as I was watching Michael devastate the Gulf Coast to our east, I realized that dealing with an entrepreneurial lifestyle is a lot like dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane.

 

It brings out the best and the worst in you. You lose assets…time, money, relationships.

 

The loss and the uncertainty breaks down things that once seemed rock solid, and replaces them with impostor syndrome, uncertainty, confusion and doubt.

 

The highs are high….but DAMN, the lows are low.

 

The thing is, it can’t take your intelligence, creativity, compassion, or desire to serve others…unless you let it.

 

What it CAN do is cause you to dig deep, and find a strength and resilience you didn’t know you had…and if you keep going and refuse to quit, it will make you a better person.

 

If you are a praying person, please offer a few up for the people of Panama City, Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, and the other communities affected by Hurricane Michael.

 

If you can spare a couple of bucks, there’s some people who could use some help.💲💲

 

You should also take a look and ask yourself, as you continue to fight the obstacles in your way:

 

Is this really important, or am I just upset about my “stuff” getting smashed up?

 

Am I giving it my best? Am I going to keep going with passion and grit and joy?

 

What can I learn from this….how can it make me better?

 

Don’t let your hurricanes define or destroy you…let them make you better.