Starting January 1, 2013, I got a great chance to expand my outlook…

For the past year I have been visiting and training agencies in Texas on how to begin using Therap and specifically on the use of T-logs, GERs and SComms for the provider Mosaic – aka my regular job! At the beginning of the year, though, I was asked to visit a very different part of the world… Northern Iowa!
My colleague Jeff had been working in Iowa for the past year and had asked for a little help in training one of the agencies. Not thinking about it, I was happy to pitch in and help a brother out. As the time drew nearer to my departure, I asked a friend who had moved from Iowa years ago to Texas what I would need for my week in Iowa. She told me in a very reassuring manner the following:

“It won’t matter what you bring. You are from Texas. You are going to freeze to death! That being said, any good Iowan always has some essentials in the trunk of their car. Make sure your rental has the kit!”
I inquired about “the kit” because it was obvious I would not know what would be a good one from a bad one, since I was from Texas afterall. Apparently if I were stuck in the frozen tundra of northern Iowa without help I would need the following to survive:
1. safety triangles for when I drive off into a ditch – happens all the time apparently.
2. a blanket for when I get stuck in a ditch overnight
3. matches – parcel them out for warmth I suppose.
4. flashlight – for when I get scared in the dark in the ditch
5. back up batteries for flashlight because inevitably the flashlight will go dead and darkness = death.
6. flares – maybe for warmth because, let’s face it, no one will be around for miles.
7. another blanket wouldn’t hurt – again warmth or to build a fort later to be set on fire with flares.
8. snow shoes – although I was informed never to leave the car
9. good socks – without good socks you will surely die
10.a short wave radio for when my cell phone does not work
11.hand and feet warmers – again warmth or entertainment. Seriously you can think about how they work for hours in a ditch.

I was then again told it would not matter what I brought since I was from Texas and surely I would die anyway in a ditch in Northern Iowa because that’s just what happens.

Feeling very prepared after this conversation and quite frankly scared, I over-packed my bags of course with lots of wool and hand warmers. When I got to the airport and picked up a rental car I was shocked to learn that the rental car came equipped with none of the above information in my list but instead it came with… an ice scraper. When I asked for the survival kit, the attendant of course laughed.

Needless to say, I survived the week with an ice scraper, a pair of gloves and good company. I thought this was a funny correlation to a mentality I run into now and again. Often when people are afraid of the unknown, we either over-prepare with an arsenal or freeze up instead of thinking through what we may really need. I will say that the leap to using Therap over the past year – in Texas and Iowa – has been surprisingly upbeat. My week in Iowa was spent not in a ditch, but with highs in the 40’s and lots of friendly people who helped me just as much as I did them. The moral of the story – don’t get bogged down in fearing the unknown and know your friends!