I’ve had my share of failures in life and in business — but nothing like this.
My home in Owls Head, Maine was recently hit by lightning, which caused a fire that practically burned the place to the ground.
My wife and kids got out safely, as did our pets — but we lost almost everything in the house.
This article is about how I rebounded from that loss…
Two days after the fire, I was standing in the basement with BG, the senior adjuster from my insurance company, and JD, a general contractor.
BG referred to my wife and three kids (he actually remembered their names) with great care and concern for our situation.
I consider myself a fairly strong, self-sufficient, street-smart kind of guy. I hold up pretty well under pressure. But the fire stripped away my facade. I looked at the devastation and just cried.
The two guys stood there quietly… not sure what to say.
BG finally looked at me and said, “Marc, we’re going to make this right for you. I’m saying this as a man, not as an insurance adjuster.”
JD added, “I’ve rebuilt more than 40 homes destroyed by fire. When I’m done… if you allow me to do the work… you won’t smell or see any sign of the fire. I promise.”
The men followed me outside. BG patted me on the back and said, “Maybe you can stay at a resort or something with your family for a few days. Have some fun. And don’t worry about what this is going to cost. You’re covered.”
One of the first steps in my rebound came when I saw how men can rise to greatness when they’re moved by genuine compassion. BG and JD broke out of their “bureaucratic shells” and took my ordeal personally.
The rebound continued when I realized the fire wasn’t a “total” loss. My family is alive and no one was physically injured.
In other words, when I looked at the reality of the situation, and not how I felt about it, the rain clouds parted.
And a good laugh didn’t hurt!
Four days after the fire, I was sitting with my family at a park by the ocean, eating lunch. Everyone was quiet. No one talked about the fire or all of the “stuff” we were going to have to replace.
All of a sudden, we heard a noise. We looked up and spotted two snow white poodles about 20 feet from our picnic table… doing the dirty deed!
My two youngest kids started laughing so hard they fell to the ground! My wife was laughing to tears, and my 18-year-old was trying to control himself long enough to get a snapshot on his iPhone.
The fact that we were able to laugh like this… I knew deep in my soul the rebound was in full swing.
I’ve seen firsthand how, as the Book of Proverbs tells us, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
In the aftermath of our loss, I’ve tried to keep my heart merry. I haven’t allowed the circumstances, anger, or bewilderment to steal my cheerfulness. And that has helped me rebound.
We’re often told to “take the time to tell people you love them.” That’s good advice even when you’re not faced with a tragedy. But doing it more now than I ever did it before… that’s another thing that’s helped me rebound.
In fact, my kids are getting annoyed because I’m kissing them so much and telling them I love them. My daughter said, “Okay, Dad, we get it.”
It’s been a few weeks since the fire. We’re finally over the initial shock, and we’re ready to rebuild.
As a side note, the first time we built this house, it was a family affair. I played general contractor, and the kids watched it go up, every step of the way. So they have their hearts invested in it too.
Anyway, we’re moving forward — and we’re making some changes to the original design of the house. We now have an opportunity to correct some annoying mistakes we made the first time around.
Here’s the takeaway on this…
In the midst of a serious loss, it was good to “tip my hat” to the reality of the situation and not focus on the emotions associated with it.
It was good to keep reminding myself to be thankful for what I have… and my wife and kids was a good place to start.
It doesn’t hurt to laugh either.
A final note: I want to wholeheartedly thank all the Early to Risers who sent me e-mails after hearing about the fire. You have touched my heart in ways you’ll never know. I hope to see all of you at ETR’s Info-Marketing Bootcamp in November.[Ed. Note: Marc Charles is often referred to as “The King of Business Opportunities.” He has launched more than 40 successful businesses over past 22 years (and advised on many more). One business (ad rep agency) produced more than $6 million in sales in 36 months with a start-up budget of less than $2000.
Marc is a regular contributor to Early to Rise and The Liberty Street Letter, ETR’s premium wealth building newsletter. He’s written dozens of bestselling e-books, courses, and special reports on business and moneymaking opportunities. He recently launched the China Wholesale Trader, a guide to starting an Internet-based import-export business.]
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