I’m typically a cheerful person. Unfortunately, I’ve been humbled by a front row seat to life getting in my way.

Within the last two years, my husband and I suffered a home burglary so violating that we packed up and moved to a new city to start a new life.

A close family member was diagnosed with dementia, creating new part time jobs for my sister and me as we manage from states away.

Last December, my husband of 32 years had a mini stroke that required 36 hours in intensive care, during which I worried about what life would be like if I would be lucky enough to bring him home.

He’s fine now, and I am so grateful. What a wake-up call.

We Like to Focus on Happy Experiences

What starts out as an ordinary day can sometimes go very wrong and change our life forever in an instant.

That’s why most of us are happy to be in smooth sailing mode. We live our lives, tend to jobs and businesses, and plan for the wedding, baby shower, or graduation.

We create dream boards to illustrate our big goals with images from magazines that show vacations to exotic destinations, beautiful homes, and sporty new cars. The focus on happy experiences, material possessions, valuable assets is fun to talk about.

It’s not so fun to talk about what could go wrong.

Life Gets in the Way

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that only the top 6% of wage earners will achieve a six-figure income at their jobs.

Cautionary statistics are also true for those who start businesses. The Small Business Administration states that 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years. Only 25% make it to 15 years or more.

Why is that? Many reasons, mostly focused on absence of capital, lack of know-how, creating the wrong solutions, and changing trends.

Here’s the piece that also stops many in their tracks: Life got in the way in the form of disease, divorce, disability, disaster, or death. In the United States, there are:

  • 365,000 serious fires per year;
  • 9 million identity thefts; and
  • 2 million car accidents resulting in permanent disability.

That means that some big dreamers are sidelined to tend to life as it happens. They are likely unprepared for the fall out.

Dreaming Big but Skipping Preparation

Why are we so quick to dream the big dreams and so reluctant to take steps to protect them?

Fear, denial, procrastination, not knowing what steps to take or when, and overwhelm are excuses that come up again and again.

Here are five actions to take today to get your act together and feel more empowered before something random or crazy can stop you.

Claim Utilities

Put the names of all adults in the household on the utility statements for the next billing cycle so all can call for help when the power goes out or worse.

Keep Beneficiary Designations Up to Date

Check your beneficiary designations often and make sure they’re current to avoid an inheritance denial due to administrative error.

Keep Records of Your Valuables

Take pictures and assemble receipts and appraisals for jewelry and other valuables before being victim to a burglary.

Entrust Phone PIN to a Reliable Party

Share your phone login information with your partner or best friend so they can access personal contacts just in case they need to share important news quickly with people who have a need to know.

Secure Your Documents and Valuables

Set up a document storage box for social security cards, passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, property or vehicle titles, and wills, and rent a safe deposit box for valuables best left stored in a secure location.

Having this information and other crucial documents where you can easily find them will save you time and grief when life takes a turn by surprise, while making the journey ahead a bit softer and gentler for those who need to drive life forward in case you can’t.

Coming back to big dreams for the future, you might be wondering, what is on my dream board?

No More Drama

When you’re in a drama-free zone – the kids and parents are alright, jobs and health are good, your dreams are clear, along with the path to make them come true – that’s the time to do one more thing to ensure the success you’ve worked so hard to achieve up until now.

Dream with your eyes wide open and:

  • Compile, save, update, and share your personal financial information and crucial documents with the people in your life who have a need to know.
  • Ignite conversations with your loved ones to understand your wishes, just in case life doesn’t unfold in a neat and tidy fashion where every box gets checked in perfect order.
  • Get on with the rest of your life to achieve your big dreams with the comfort that you’ll never leave a legacy of chaos to clean up later because you got your act together long before something random could stop you.

What action will you take to get your act together today? What do you wish you had done before life got in your way? What advice can you give to those who haven’t thought forward yet? Let’s start a conversation.

Let's Have a Conversation!