Looking ahead is a great leadership skill

ajc.com

Wise people anticipate what storms are on the horizon and plan accordingly

Access to this AJC content is brought to you by our sponsor, Wellstar

Do you realize the value of reading the future? This takes focus and a willingness to face the truth. Picturing what’s likely to occur can help you prepare for it.

While no one should be looking for trouble, wise people anticipate what storms are on the horizon. Then, they plan accordingly.

ExplorePulse: a digital magazine for nurses in the Southeast

For example, if your child is 10 years old, it pays to anticipate that child’s desire to go to college. Can you start a college fund? Will your child need a tutor at some point? Keep your eye on helping your child succeed.

Or if your aunt is in her 80s, you might want to figure out ways to support her daily routine. If you know she isn’t in great health, it pays to look at resources. Could you afford to hire household help for her? Will she need help with shopping and doctors’ appointments?

“I’ve seen a lot of my patients get caught off guard,” says a physician we’ll call Albert. “The needs of their children, along with the needs of their older relatives, start to crush them. One day, they have a heart attack in their mid-50s and didn’t see it coming.”

ExploreBest career advice for nurses, from nurses

By thinking ahead, you can help guide your own future. Be very honest about these types of questions:

Do I see potential health problems developing with loved ones? For instance, if your elderly mother is losing her balance, maybe it’s time to sell the two-story house she lives in.

Will my own family finances work well after retirement? Many people have retired only to find out they need a part-time or full-time job to supplement income. Take a good look at what is truly going to work for you.

How can I get some volunteer work within my own family? For example, do you have a niece or teenage grandchild who might stop by to check on certain relatives? Any of us can get into real trouble regarding our mental health by trying to manage everything alone.

Do I or my spouse have health problems we’re ignoring? No time for exercise and grabbing fast food too often can impact anyone’s health. Face up to what needs to be done to ensure you and your mate feel your best. Buying and cooking healthy food might be the starting point.

ExploreWhy making a decision is harder than making a choice

“While no one has a crystal ball,” says a manufacturing plant owner we’ll call Troy, “we all need to take a look at what’s working and what’s not.” Troy recently made the decision to sell his business because his wife’s health is not great. He wants to enjoy more leisure time with her while that’s possible.

It’s also a good idea to look ahead in your marriage issues, needed goals for your life, and what you have control over. Minor adjustments can make life flow much better.

For example, you might hire a little household help, cut your work hours just slightly, trade your older car for a slightly better one, join a weekend hiking club or downsize your home or apartment. Be proactive to push your decisions forward. Don’t just talk about needed changes.

Every family must have good leadership to thrive. Start by making several small decisions to see how your leadership is working. Then, take a look at bigger decisions you need to make.

“Our family finances improved when we obtained a home equity loan to pay off my old college debts,” says a father of three we’ll call Brian. “Jumping on problems to whittle them down to size will definitely lower your stress.”

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.

Judi Light Hopson is author of the stress management book, “Cooling Stress Tips.” She is also executive director of USA Wellness Cafe at www.usawellnesscafe.org.