Living Intentionally Personal Growth

3 life lessons I learned from losing power for 5 days

February 10, 2014

house with generator

Last week due to a bad ice storm here in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 90 percent of the county’s residents lost power. We were part of that 90 percent, not getting our power back till five days later.

Temperatures plummeted, both inside and out (our house got down to 44 degrees at one point), tree limbs and wires littered roads, and schools and businesses stayed dark.

For the first night, we stayed with family and then were able to borrow a generator from Claudia’s dad and come back home. Even though we had lots of cords running throughout our house, didn’t have hot water, and needed to cook on a camping stove, we were grateful to be back home and not freezing.

It all made for quite an adventure, one I wouldn’t choose to repeat, I might add.

Reflecting on it all, I asked myself, “What did I learn?” Here are three of those things.

1. Perspective is key – It could always be worse. Just this morning someone was telling me how a tree fell on his brother’s house causing major damage. Even though their power has been restored, the family has to stay somewhere else while the hole in their house gets fixed.

2. Leadership is key – Honestly, I did a pretty crappy job at leading my family well during the first couple of days without power. Rather than turning the situation into an exciting adventure, I got stressed, snappy, and irritable. It took me a couple of days, but I was able to be more the kind of husband and father I want to be in challenging situations.

3. Good habits are key – I normally do the same things each morning to get my day started off right. I like to take a hot shower and then spend time in my office reading, praying, and preparing for the day. With no hot water and my office closed off to keep the rest of the house a manageable warm, my morning routine was all thrown off. Not having those good habits in place negatively affected the whole rest of my day.

Those are three of the things I’ve learned from an eventful week. What about you? Have you ever lost power for an extended period of time? What did you do and how did it go? More importantly, how did you respond?

You can leave your comments in the comment section of the post. I’d love to know.

Photo by Claudia Good

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  • Reply Ann Musico February 10, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Michael we have lost power for the same length of time several years ago. I can strongly relate to the the things you shared. When you are without power the entire schedule is upside down. And that makes a huge difference in your attitude and ability to remain calm. It did for me. We did not have a generator and there was so much snow we couldn’t get to my dad’s where the power was still on. For me the difficult thing is dealing with my husband who gets very upset. Try as I might to keep a positive attitude and make the best of things – he just gets angry. After 30 years I just accept that this is who he is and I try to make the best of it. I actually was able to have him and my son go to a neighbor’s who did not lose power to shower and I was going to meet them there – I decided to sit down and pray while I had peace and quiet and in the midst of praying – the power was restored. I am glad you and Claudia got the generator and that power has been restored. It’s no joke in the middle of winter! Thanks for being so honest about your experience.

    • Reply Michael Good February 10, 2014 at 7:46 am

      Wow, Ann. That’d be not not to panic if you’re without a generator and not able to make it somewhere to stay warm! It’s amazing how quick a house gets cold when it’s 10 degrees out side! And then on top of it, to have someone close to you not handle it well. I’m sure your calm and peaceful approach helped you keep a level head in a difficult situation.

      • Reply Ann Musico February 10, 2014 at 7:50 am

        Oh Michael, I would love to tell you I was calm and peaceful the whole time – but that would be a lie. After a few days of that I definitely lost my patience with the negativity. Actually the house was down to 40 degrees but I insisted they go to the neighbor and I actually was happy to stay in there bundled up and pray just to be free of the negativity.

        • Reply Michael Good February 10, 2014 at 7:53 am

          I bet. That time to think and clear one’s head is vital. Glad it ended well.

          • Ann Musico February 10, 2014 at 8:03 am

            Haha yes – he’s still alive so it defintely ended well. I’m just glad it ended lol.

  • Reply John Cole February 10, 2014 at 10:54 am

    My wife and I have been through this 2 times. Once for a week while we lived in an apartment in Lexington, KY and then again while we rented a house in western KY (That was for almost 2 weeks that time). Both major ice storms. We stayed in friends houses and also spent several nights in hotels both times. In fact, we were supposed to have an ice storm a few weeks back in TN where we now live. So I went ahead and reserved several hotel rooms around the region in anticipation of the fact that power would go out. Thankfully that one did not materialize and we didn’t have to pay for those rooms!
    Situations like that really make your realize how much our lives depend on electricity. Glad you guys are getting back into the swing of things…..

    • Reply Michael Good February 13, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      John, what a great idea to get a hotel room ahead of time, especially if you can cancel it without paying for it. Two weeks. Oh man…

  • Reply Derek C. Olsen February 13, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Carrie and I haven’t lived in our house for 3 1/2 months.

    And it could be another 2-6 months before we move back in!!

    Long story made short: A tree fell on our house back in November 2013. The repairs are caught up in insurance claims, city inspectors, structural engineers, and even a lawyer. (We don’t own the house, our landlord is dealing with it all.)

    At first, we were told it would take 2-3 weeks to repair. So we asked my brother if we could stay with him and his wife. They live 5 miles from us. They said yes. TWO MONTHS later, the arrangement was getting old, for everyone.

    We moved into a furnished apartment that our landlord just happens to own. We have been there for almost two months now!

    It could take another 2 – 6 months to finally cut through all the red tape and finally fix the house.

    Oh yeah, did I mention that my wife Carrie is due with our first child the first week of April???

    Sounds bad, right? Well, it’s not all bad…

    We have learned so much during this experience.

    We experienced true hospitality when my brother and his wife let us stay at their place for two months, no questions asked. We offered several times to pay them and they said no. This changed me, I will no longer view requests from others to stay at our place as a burden. I offer to help out more quickly and have more sympathy towards others misfortune now.

    We realize how lucky we are to have the things that we do have.

    We have grown closer together through sharing an experience that we never would have volunteered for.

    God has his own plans. He teaches us in the strangest of ways.

    Can Carrie and I come stay with you guys for a few months? 😉


    • Reply Michael Good February 14, 2014 at 7:47 am

      Derek, wow, that is crazy! Already 3 1/2 months and it could be another 2 to 6 months! I can relate to all the red tape and bureaucracy.
      We’re at the tail end (hopefully) of a lengthy short sale process. It’s going on for over year now. It’s been a lot of wait wait wait… Okay, now hurry up! But all in all, we’re very grateful for the position it put us in.
      Hope you get your house back soon. And sure, if you need a place to stay, come on over! 🙂

      • Reply Derek C. Olsen February 14, 2014 at 1:50 pm

        Oh man, a short-sale?!

        Carrie and I did that too!
        It took over a year to complete the process.

        Good luck with that, I know how stressful that can be.


        • Reply Michael Good February 14, 2014 at 4:34 pm

          Thanks, Derek. Yeah, it can be a roller coaster!

  • Reply Alex Barker February 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    It’s our trials that show us who we really are
    I’ve been there Michael. I freaked out numerous times against my family because of unfortunate events. But, you recognized where you made a mistake and corrected it in front of the world(!), speaks “leader”.
    Continue on this path towards leadership! I love the kind of action you two take on the blog 🙂

    • Reply Michael Good February 18, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Thanks, Alex. I appreciate that! I think leadership, like many things, is a journey. One can always improve.

      Keep up the great work at Leadership Dojo!

      • Reply Alex Barker February 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm

        if there’s anything I’ve learned from really successful people, it’s that you can always pivot to higher success!

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