May is upon us and June is just around the corner. Typically, this is a time for leisure, as the kids are just about “out of school” and the temperatures are starting to warm up. We collectively are looking for opportunities to let our hair down and relax. And far be it from me to stop you and your plans. Relaxation is important, it revives us and allows for us to recharge our batteries and get ready take on our worlds with new energy. Unfortunately, what can happen during the summertime is that we tend to get too laid back with our routine. Excuses disguised in a leisure lined wrapper are still excuses and the peril of procrastination looms near.
The truth is, as we allow ourselves to break completely from the routine that has brought us consistent results up to this point in the year, we run the risk of taking our hands off the knob. And what exactly do I mean by “taking our hands off the knob”? Our friend, and mentor, Richard James, who offers fantastic marketing magic tips in this monthly print newsletter (check out our section here called “Marketing Magic” in our monthly print newsletter, Dickerson Digest – tip, you can subscribe below) tells of a time he owned a funeral business. It was in an old building in Scranton, Pennsylvania that was heated by a radiator. When the the heat went out in the building he had to go down to the basement and turn on the water to get the radiator to fill up. You had to “keep your hand on the knob” and turn it off when it was full, or it could flood all three stories of the building. As you can guess one day, he had to fill the radiator, and as the water was filling up, he got a call and he “took his hand off the knob” to attend to a customer. Two hours later, he came back to the funeral home and remembered he had taken his “hand off the knob”. He quickly ran in and turned off the water and ran up the to top floor to see what happened. Sure enough, every floor had inches of water. He was distracted and stopped concentrating on what he had to focus on.
How many times do we get too relaxed, and we lose our focus on our family plans to get organized with legal documents of protection like a will, powers and directives and a revocable trust? We get districted by a shiny object or the slower pace for the summertime. Don’t get me wrong, summertime schedules can be challenging for those of us that are creatures of habit and creatures of leisure. I am all for relaxation and finding new ways to devote my time to my family, but not at the expense of the protection of my family. As our kids get older and move further away from us for school, work or play, I shift my focus on what can keep them safe if they need us and we cannot be there right away.
Last month’s section of “Real Resolve” in Dickerson Digest, I reminded you that if you have college age students, now is the time to prepare the powers and directives necessary if they plan to be away and there is an emergency, they can use those documents to help get them out of a bind, especially when time can be of the essence, like a medical emergency. This also is true for us as parents.
This summer, Mike and I are going to NOT put off any longer updating our wills and trusts to include our two baby dolls, who are now 4 and 5! Now that was two “life changes” that should have triggered action on our parts 4 and 5 years ago! (You know what they say, the cobbler never has any shoes – ha-ha, but it happens.) My point is, even estate planners get too busy with shiny objects like law practice growth and expansion and are guilty of procrastination and “taking their hand off the knob” to attend to what appears, in the moment, to be more pressing matters. But nothing is more pressing than taking care of your family obligation and protecting your loved ones before some type of emergency happens. I have a close relative whose husband suffered a traumatic tear of his aorta. As they say, “a widow maker”, type event, indeed. Praise God, he is ok and on his road to recovery. But you better believe we did not take it lightly. NO ONE has tomorrow promised and the best we can do is not fall into the trap of leisure, the seduction of procrastination nor the delusion of a promised tomorrow.