How prepared are you to rebound after a full blown natural disaster with catastrophic consequences?

I wasn’t prepared when it happened to me.  I left for work on a rainy day and came home to find a landslide had gone through my house.  The fire department arrived and “red tagged” the house, indicating that the structure was condemned.  They allowed us to grab a few things. We rescued and slowly rebuilt our lives.

Are you prepared for the tornado that rips through your home town?  Or the mudslide that sweeps away everything you own?  Or the fire, flood or earthquake that drives you from your home for days or even weeks?     Although these disasters are different, they have some things in common.  They are all encompassing –they affect you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  They come fast, unexpectedly and you slip into survival mode.

Each and every one of us will face major setbacks.  The question is not so much “if” it will happen, but how well you will handle it.  The good news is that you can train yourself to respond quickly in an emergency, on automatic pilot, and provide yourself a solid support structure to help you rebound as quickly as possible.


Make a checklist of what you might need for a variety of time frames or in different scenarios.  Numerous examples are available from the Red Cross, FEMA and other online sites.  We’re talking the basics.  Medicine.  First Aid.  Food.  Water.  Shelter.  Clothes.  Games. Tools.  Computer.  Communication.  Finances.  Fuel.  Power. Skills to barter.

At the very least, pack a couple emergency To-Go bags.   We never know when disaster will strike or where you will be so it’s a good idea to have one at home, one at work and one in each of your vehicles.  The bags you grab as you escape should include a first aid kit, any medications needed by you, your family, your pets; food and water, critical items such as your computer, cell phones, contacts, money, batteries, and flashlights.

If you have enough time, you can think through what you will need for more than an overnight stay.  How will you prepare food?  How much water can you carry?  Do you have a life straw to purify water once you run out?  What will you sleep on?  Where will you go?  Who can you stay with?  What clothes will you need?  What tools and protective gear might prove helpful?  What about credit cards?  How will you pay the bills if you are gone for a while?  Do you have enough fuel?

Start thinking through “What If “scenarios and do some “If – Then” Planning.  This is a great exercise to do with your family, friends and community.  What would you need for a few hours, 3 weeks, or to rebuild?  Do you have an escape route?  Transportation?  What if someone or something is injured?  Do you have a first aid kit?  Do you know how to use it?  In some cases, you’ll need to stabilize a situation before you can move.  Can you call for help?  How can you get to safety quickly? What are you going to take with you?

Start making your lists and gathering those things long before it’s an emergency.  Even if you don’t have to leave your home, you may need this kind of preparation if services are not available for a time.  Fuel, heat, stoves, light, power and water services can all be disrupted.  Most of our lives are connected to power in some way.  What will you do without it?   Can you generate it?

Practice new skills you may need so that you can react automatically if a situation presents itself.  Take advantage of classes to learn first aid and CPR or how to use tools.


Prepare for longer situations.   Once the food, water and cash run out, what do you do?  Being prepared for long term situations gives you confidence and helps you bounce back more quickly.  Do things to be more resilient. Fear and a sense of devastating loss accompany disasters.  Being ready and able to face challenges dissipates fear.  Being ready to jump in and help others helps you as well.


Have a supportive routine that you can re-establish as quickly as possible after a disaster.  Routine, daily actions help us keep our sanity.  The following list is recommended to prevent depression during a crisis : exercise, eat well, sleep 7-9 hours, find something to laugh at every day, talk to someone you can share your thoughts with, learn something new, be in beauty or meditate, and be of service to someone else.

Learn a skill that you can trade for necessities.  Learn carpentry, something manual.  Plan your finances around diversification — from where you store your records to multiple sources of income.

Get physically fit, manage your weight.  Eliminate bad habits so they won’t be in your way.  You may need your body to sustain you through some touch terrain.  Join a hiking group or a sporting team.

Get active in your community.  You want to know the people in your immediate area so you feel comfortable calling them in difficult times.  Know what your local government has in place.  Know how you can be of help to others.   Take part in survival and other community preparedness days.

Do things with your family.  Play problem solving games; schedule times when you don’t have anything electric with you.  Play games that have a winner and a loser.  Resilience develops in the face of failure.  Have fun learning survival skills together.  Camping is fun and teaches important skills at the same time.

Finally, focus on more than your Outer Game.  Become aware of your Inner Game – listen to yourself.  What are you saying to yourself?  Develop positive self-talk now so it’s in place when you need it.  Learn to meditate; do centered prayer.  And if you are at all religious, connect with a church or any center.  In our disaster, it proved to be one of our most important resources.

Cultivate the inner keys to bouncing back:  faith, resilience, purpose, persistence and your relationship with your true self. 

If you are proactive now and embrace positive change as above, you can do more than survive a disaster, you can bounce back and thrive.  To explore more, claim a free copy of “Survivor’s Guide: 12 Tips to Gain Inner Peace” at

About:  Susan Sherayko has been the executive in charge of production for “Home and Family,” a daily television show that airs on Hallmark Channel, for several years.  She is also a mindset coach and author, “Rainbows Over Ruins,” in which she shares her journey that began after a landslide destroyed her home.

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Are You Struggling to Get Through a Disaster?

A few years back, we found ourselves in the same situation facing the reidents of Montecito, California right now.  We had a mudslide come through our home.  It was a mess.  We faced financial ruin, physical and emotional losses, fear (lots of fear) and the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing where to go for help.

Fortunately we had a great church community  They were our rock during the worst of it.  Government help was not available.  Insurance money was not available.  As I said, it was a mess.  But we got through it.

That’s really my message here.  You can do it too.  You can survive and, more than that, you can go on to thrive.  That may be so far from your mind.  It’s more likely that you are feeling overwhelmed with no vision of a future at all.

But I repeat.  You can get past this disaster, regardless of the circumstances.  You can survive, rebuild, refocus and go on to thrive.  You can make choices to let go of anything that isn’t working in your life.  You can embrace what you loved and reincorporate it into the new lifestyle you create.

9781452592619_COVER.inddI write about our journey back in my book, Rainbows Over Ruins. What’s important to know is that we not only survived, we now feel as if we are thriving.  The finances worked out in a couple years.  We have a new community, with new friends and business opportunities.  Our home is closer to what  we had always envisioned, but never imagined achieving.  Our lifestyle fits us to a “T.”   And I feel as if I am at the apex of my career.  It’s a far cry from the night we stood outside the house that was filled with mud and looked on helplessly at the boulders piled from ground to rooftop behind the house.

I went on to create a 12 episode podcast series, “Bebuilding Your Life: Moving from Disaster to Prosperity.”  It’s on iTunes and Stitcher.  It’s designed to take you through the steps to get past a disaster.  There are some wonderful people who participated to help others by sharing their own experiences.  There’s no charge to hear that information.    image-43253.jpg  I also wrote a free Survivor’s Guide with tips to help you get through this experience.  It’s available at

These are all available to help you get your feet back on the ground  If you are reading this and have friends going through this experience, please share this post with them.  It’s very lonely on the down side of a disaster.  Help seems so far away.  And if these shares can help inspire someone to begin to rebuild, they will have served their purpose.

Please stay in touch.  Let me know how you are doing.  Share your questions.  Working together, we can plot a course to move past these life events.

I believe in you,




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I know the title to this post looks a bit odd.  It’s actually the title of a book written by Dr. Randall Bell.  I had the pleasure to meet and speak with him after he appeared on Home and Family – the show airs on Monday.    I was in my office listening to the show feed when Dr. Bell began his segment.  I had to stop and listen.

He was speaking about why some people become perpetual victims after a disaster, while some survive and others go on to thrive.  As he talked, I heard his words echo those I had written in Rainbows Over Ruins.   It felt as it Dr. Bell was talking about me!  I just had to go meet him after the show.

If you don’t know, my book is a personal journey through such a disaster experience, while Dr. Bell’s is an explanation of the rich habits that accompany the phenomena of what he calls “post traumatic thriving.”  He interviewed and studied the experiences of thousands of people to arrive at his presentation of these four cornerstones of success:

  • Me – our personal growth in knowledge and wisdom
  • We – our developing relationships with positive people
  • Do – our actions and level of productivity
  • Be – our continual journey on the path to becoming

Me/We/Do/Be is available in bookstores now.  If you are looking for suggestions on how to get past a disaster that’s affecting your life, or in the midst of building a dream project so you can go on to thrive, Dr. Bell presents some very practical ideas.  Take action on them  and you may find yourself thriving soon.

I believe in you.

To Your Success,




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So Many Faced with Rebuilding Right Now

Twelve years ago, Peter and I were faced with rebuilding our lives after a mudslide swept through our homes after an extensive period of rain.  Six months later, I watched as Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and I wept.  By then, I knew the challenge of starting anew.  It took 18 months to recover, but we did it.   We went on to find a lovely ranch overlooking a valley, enhance our careers and feel good about our lives.

Yet last week, a huge wildfire swept through our old neighborhood of La Tuna Canyon.  As soon as it was safe, we went back to see old neighbors and survey the damage.  All these years later, it made me sad to see the barren land, with only a few structural elements to show that anyone had ever lived there.  And on this day, the land was blackened by evidence of fire sweeping through the canyon.  For whatever reason, we become tied to the soil we inhabit and I hated to see it so lonely.

I cannot help thinking about all the people who are going through this now.  The news has been filled with Hurricane Harvey, the La Tuna fire, an 8.1 magnitude quake in Chiapas.  Today, we wait to hear how much damage Hurricane Irma will deliver.  It is a scary, uncertain time for everyone in the midst of it.

That’s why I’m writing today.  I’ve been writing and speaking on rebuilding after disasters ever since we went through it.  I want to help people get through the worst, get past what happens and start moving forward again.  Although my book “Rainbows Over Ruins” is for sale online through Amazon, most of my thoughts are given for free.  There is Your Survivor’s Guide: 12 Tips to Gain Inner Peace and, perhaps most apropos for the moment, a podcast series:  Rebuilding Your Life: Moving From Disaster to Prosperity.  These episodes take you from the moment when you’re packing to escape to those magical moments when you are ready to put it behind you and move toward a new future.  Once you are ready, I’ve created a course, Manifest Your Dreams, as a road map to identify and achieve the new goals that emerge after a significant loss.

The best news I can share is that you can do it.  You can recover and build a bigger and better life.

If you are in need, please check out the podcast, or if you have friends and family who are going through this right now, please share a link with them:

image-43253.jpgIt’s available on both iTunes and Stitcher, as well as my website (under the podcast tab): Susan

Whatever the circumstances for you and your loved ones, you can get through this.  Join hands with other in community and you will find a mutual support system.  Keep your eye on the future and your feet moving through the next step.  The Quakers have another suggestion: Pray and move your feet.   My prayers are with you.  You can do this.

I believe in you,







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Technical Difficulties

I just realized that the link I provided in my earlier post cuts off in mid podcast. I apologize for any inconvenience that may have caused.

The podcasts can also be heard at

Thank you.



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Maintaining Momentum While Managing Crisis


waterwheelDo you know this law of energy? “An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless a force like friction or resistance steals it away. ”  I came across this while thinking about the power of flywheels.  Flywheels?  That’s right.  I am contemplating the best ways to maintain forward momentum while managing any number of crises that may come up in both personal and professional life.

Historically, when I’ve thought about building momentum and productivity, it has been from the perspective of developing the tools and systems that support these qualities.  My own story is about surviving a disaster, a landslide, and going on to not only rebuild our lives, but to improve them dramatically.   I’ve written a book, produced podcasts and created a course designed to help people understand that they can do this as well and lead them through the process.

What has surprised me after a year of managing a series of crises is that it is as important to the long term survival of the lifestyle and businesses you create to also come to grips with how you maintain your momentum when friction and resistance occur.  And they will.  According to the laws of physics, it is impossible to build a perpetual motion machine.  Energy will bleed away unless you are actively maintaining and watching for cracks in the systems you have built into your operation.

I am still developing my understanding of how to maintain momentum and manage crisis at the same time.  However, I believe I can share a few insights that may prove helpful to you when and if you find yourself in such periods.

  1. The basic success principles hold true. Know your purpose, your why and your prime directive.  This is your GPS system to keep you on track and provide your anchor when stiff winds blow against you.   Master the art of positive self-talk.  It will give you the discipline to stay focused in a positive direction and help you be more resilient and resourceful.
  1. Plan well. Plan the intended flow of your activities, schedules and calendar.  Then go back and plan for the unexpected so you can be prepared with a Crisis Game Plan.  Buy insurance.  Stay up to date on what’s happening in the world around you.  For example, three times this year we have had to pay attention to union negotiations and determine their potential impact on the show.   Hold strategic planning sessions and build “What do we do if” scenarios.  If you have a game plan, it will reduce the uncertainty of your situation.  You will have What-If options defined.

I had the opportunity to speak with one of the producers of The Amazing Race at an Emmy event years ago.  He told me about the depth of their contingency planning for each episode.  I was impressed. It took a lot of work to anticipate all the things that could go wrong with 12 people running around the world, catching flights, losing things, missing connections or running out of money.  It’s a good lesson to apply that kind of planning in your play book.

  1. Establish systems and routines. We established regular systems and routines and each person in the company quickly learned where they fit into those systems and what they were expected to contribute to keep the daily machine running.

I am really thankful for these systems.  During the past year, the show has gone through several challenging situations.  They were unplanned and our attention needed to be focused on them.  We had to manage the crises coming from so many directions that we did not have time to be proactive.  A good team, the systems and routines held it together.

  1. We didn’t stop.  We didn’t let crises interfere with our prime directive to deliver one new 2 hour show per day, 5 days per week, 52 weeks per year.  At differing times, we were frustrated and angry, producing in spite of broken hearts, and always uncertain of the outcome.  Our professional team kept it going.  They have never failed to “get ‘er done.”  They persisted in the face of numerous personal tragedies affecting them, their co-workers and the company and continue to give their best.
  2. The show’s creator frequently spoke to me about the importance of “keeping it fresh.” During the two daily production meetings, ideas were examined from a variety of perspectives, but finding the new and unusual was important.  And I imagine that the excitement of keeping it fresh also helps us when we are dealing with problems.

What I have been writing and creating applies from a crisis management perspective in both personal and business scenarios.  If you are going through such situations yourself, feel free to download my Survivor’s Guide: 12 Tips to Gain Inner Peace and apply the tips you find there to them.  It’s available at

Personally, my goal at the moment is to keep positive energy flowing into our work and reduce friction and resistance, so that we are that object in motion that stays in motion.  Keep pushing on that flywheel.  It appears to be a key to maintaining momentum while managing crisis.  Enjoy the tips — and use them.

I believe in you,


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The Power of Positive Cash Flow

Positive Cash flowA friend phoned last night, struggling with a cash flow challenge that is all too common when starting up a new venture – or recovering from a personal life event.  Just like individuals, all businesses face such challenges periodically for a variety of reasons.  As the founder, it behooves us to find and build in a system in both our business and personal lives to help us get through these times successfully.

Cash flow represents money coming into and through our lives.  Along the way, it is the physical resource that enables us to manifest everything we see in the world around us.  If the flow “out” is too rapid, we may not have enough time to use our resources effectively.  If the flow “in” is too slow, our abilities are choked off at the start.  So, in an optimal situation, cash flows in at a strong, steady pace, is held long enough to utilize its value to us and provide reserves according to a plan, and then passed through for the benefit of all in the supply chain, as well as places where we choose to contribute to the well-being of others.

Our plan to build cash flow and use it effectively should be part of our life and business plan.  In the beginning, we may have a viable business plan – for the business – but no plan for the cash flow that sustains us personally while we build the business cash flow.

Answer this:  Do you have enough cash on hand or anticipated cash flow to sustain you for a 2 year period (traditionally the time expected to get an operation up and running)?  Do you know where you will get that cash flow as part of your business plan?  What’s your system to build your cash flow?

Obviously, I feel a cash flow system is important, however, the process begins further back than that with your idea – your vision – and why you want what you want.  Your why carries passion, energy and feelings within it.  It brings the power to stick with all that has to be done to accomplish your goals.  It brings the power of your Inner life and your link to the non-conscious mind.  The non-conscious mind links you to creative, problem solving capabilities.  It coordinates with the conscious mind to receive great, inspired ideas, set up a plan and take action.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Get clear on what you want and why. Get in touch with your feelings and passion.  Document it on paper.  Place this paper where you can go back and look at it whenever your energies ebb and your feelings sink.
  2. Make a list of your existing resources. This is more than just money in the bank.  It’s everything – skills used and acquired in school, jobs, family life, community involvement, income earned before and currently, a complete personal balance sheet of assets (stuff you have) and liabilities (what you owe as a result of the stuff you have), what you know, what interests you, people you know, and groups you align with.  Think out of the box.  Don’t forget your friends and family.  Are they in a position to carry some of your nut (monthly cash flow needs)?  Are they part of your team?  Are you supporting each other to build a better future for your family?
  3. How much cash flow do you need? When you are pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, start where you are.  What do you absolutely need to keep going right now?
  4. If you know what you want, roll up your sleeves and start to work for it. Trade time for money.  Do whatever it takes (mowing lawns, telemarketing) to get a small amount of cash flowing.  Be open to opportunities that appear out of nowhere.  In my bootstrap plan, I had to make enough to pay for food, gasoline so I could get to and from work, and a minuscule payment on my credit card debt.  My first goal was to create positive cash flow – and I was willing to do whatever it took in the short run to get that going.  The first opportunity that I found was telemarketing.  It wasn’t much – less than 30 hours per week at minimum wage, however, it gave me a cushion to keep looking and to watch for alternate income sources.
  5. The fastest way is to use skills you already have and the most basic marketing like handing out flyers. To grow beyond that, develop the skills that will serve you well in the future.  Learn to pitch and present yourself – verbally and written, through your creative expression.
  6. To keep money, learn how to manage it – spending and saving it. Spend less than you earn. T. Harv Ecker is a prominent educator on this topic.  He recommends using a jar system and regular % contributions to each jar for spending and savings.  Using this system, people count their money and keep track of where they are.  Whatever you put your attention on tends to increase so by paying attention to your positive use of money, you can make money increase as well.
  7. Focus on your business in whatever time you can give it. It is one of the best ways to build your financial future, as well as feed your soul.  As you build income stability with it, you are not dependent on someone else to give you a raise or keep you employed.  You can make the choices that work best for your future.
  8. You may find you want to throw yourself into your business full time right away. Burn the bridges and leave no possible retreat.  That is really a personal call.  I tend to follow Jim Rohn’s advice and example in this.  He built a successful business working part time until he was successful enough to have twice as much income from his business as he did from his job.  It was a great marketing story – to be able to be so successful working only part time!  And he and his family suffered far less.
  9. The ultimate goal for almost everyone is to achieve financial freedom where you can do, be or have what you want whenever you want it. Your own business, regular savings, investing and having a method to earn consistent income even while you sleep are the components of this   You can invest your money in something to rent or sell to other people.  You can invest your money in learning a skill that enables you to provide a service that others will pay you to do.  You can invest your money in someone else’s business and allow them to help you earn more money.
  10. Your goal is to maintain your cash flow while you are still growing. Get started.  Later, you can look to use other people’s money to expand, but that is the topic of another post.

What kept me going during this time of building cash flow?  Certainly, the outer game aspects were a big part of it: holding a goal as part of the larger vision, making and working a plan, seeing bits of progress and making time to keep pursuing my vision.  However, I also paid attention to my inner game.  I worked on my mindset, utilizing Afformations (positive why questions) to bring in the power of my subconscious mind as a search engine for the best solutions.

Cash flow gradually built to cover my monthly bills and provide the resources to publish Rainbows Over Ruins and start to “build a business with my book.”  To this date, I still cash flow my business from my job, however, I now have products: the book, an online course, blogs and podcasts, and I’m making preparations to take it “on the road” through speaking engagements and workshops.  Cash flow – however you establish it – gets you to this point and carries you into the future as you provide value to your customer base and develop relationships.

When you reach this point, you’ll be ready to decide if you are ready to “take it to the next level” where your business generates substantial cash flow on its own through the value of the products and services you have created.  Wherever you decide to take your journey, cash flow provides the power for you to keep doing the work you love with a lifestyle that is comfortable and brings you joy and well-being.

Pay attention to and nurture your cash flow and it will help you grow into the life you want to live.   You can do it.

I believe in you,



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