I think I dodged a bullet

It was an ordinary Friday, except for the constant rain. 

My wife drove me to the airport to catch my flight to Melbourne, where I was going to join the P&O Explorer for a 10-day cruise. I had been booked to deliver a couple of Keynotes as part of the cruise. 

The conversation in the car surrounded our intentions about our house. Should we renovate the kitchen? Then we would need to replace the flooring. Well, it depended if this was our forever home, or if we would move out and rent it out. 

Despite the rain, the trip to the airport wasn’t onerous. Check-in, immigration and security went smoothly. All I had to do was wait for our boarding call. 

The incoming flight was about half-an-hour late, but we still managed to take off. We were only 20 minutes behind schedule. Something that I was convinced that we would catch up on with a favourable tail wind. I even took a photo of the plane to let my wife know that I was flying a Boeing 737-800. Nothing inauspicious in the photo. 

When we landed in Melbourne, four hours later, I switched off flight mode on my cellphone and my phone started to blow up. The day just so happened to be Friday, January 27th 2023 and my office became a victim of the torrential rain that fell in Auckland that day… 

Depending on the report that you read, 280 mm of rain fell in under 24 hours and 211 mm in under 6 hours. My office decided to provide refuge for over 40 cm of water. If you think that was bad, my next-door neighbour’s cars ended up submerged up to their roof line. 

But I was in Melbourne, unsure if I could even fly back to Auckland and uncertain if there was much that I could do. So, I decided to stay put and do what I could remotely. The good news is that I had a fantastic support network that kicked in. 

This experience got me thinking about what we can do when adversity hits and we find ourselves dealing with a crisis. As a TEC (The Executive Connection) Chair, we help the peer groups of CEOs navigate through crisis. I know that our first thought was for the welfare of our members, their families, employees and their businesses. It was no different to the action we took with our members in NSW and Queensland in 2022, when flooding there led to lost lives, homes, belongings, pets and livelihood. 

As an international keynoter who speaks on resilience, I often reflect on our experiences being stranded in Newfoundland, Canada as the result of the terrorist acts in NYC , DC and the Pentagon. Here are three points to ponder on for the next time you find yourself dealing with a crisis: 

    I was blessed that Dean Payn (CEO of The Crate Flexible Work Spaces) was straight on the phone when he heard that we had been affected. He spoke to me and my wife and set in motion a plan to get a troupe in to help us clean up. In total 8 people came to our rescue. That didn’t include my wife, 2 kids and my brother-in-law. 
    I am eternally grateful for all that they did to bring a semblance of normality in the chaos. What they were able to do in less than four hours would have taken us weeks to accomplish. 
    In Galatians 6:2, we are encouraged to help each other. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Doing things alone was not part of God’s original plan.  
    Where is your support network? Often it materializes as a result of all the value that you add to others.  
    Give without thought of receiving back. I believe that if the shoe was on the other foot, I would have done the same and rallied the troupes to help someone else in need. It will surely come back to you in droves.

    Author Jim Collins, who wrote the books “Good to Great” and “How the Mighty Fall”, spoke about creating margin in our lives. 
    There are many areas that are affected.  
    – Financial. 
    – Spiritual. 
    – Personal. 
    – Health. 
    The list is almost endless… 
    When you print a book, you don’t use the entire space on the page to cram in every word. You leave a margin – on the sides and at the top and bottom of each page. There is ‘white space’ that surrounds the words to make it easier on the eyes. 
    In a similar fashion, what are you doing to create margin in your life? 
    Are you a workaholic? Do you neglect your family? Are you putting your health at risk? 
    Maybe it is time for us all to take stock of our priorities. What are you going to do different to help create more margin in your life? 
    In the story where Jesus feeds the 5,000 with just two fish and five loaves, we read in the account documented in Matthew 14:20 that they collected the fragments that were left over. Some will call this margin. “So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.”

    At The Executive Connection, we blend confidential group meetings guided by an experienced Chair with one-to-one mentoring to keep leaders at the forefront of their industry.  
    Imagine having access to your very own peer advisory board. Confidential group meetings guided by an accomplished Chair provide a safe and stimulating environment to accelerate personal and professional growth. 
    One of our Chairs, Michael Robertson, once said that he wished that he was a member of a TEC Group when the crisis caused by the pandemic hit them in Melbourne and Victoria. He rationalised that as a group member, he could access the collective wisdom in the room and use it to navigate the grants available. Access to that knowledge could help fast-track decisions and save time and reduce stress. 
    If you don’t belong to a peer group, give it some serious consideration. It could provide you with the confidential environment that you might need to bring your issues to. An environment where you can leverage the collective wisdom in the room to help you solve your problems. 
    All too often, we are too proud to ask for help. It is biblical for you to do so. In Isaiah 30:18-19 it encourages is to reach out to the Lord “So the Lord must wait for you to come to him…” so that He “will surely respond to the sound of your cries.” 

I would also encourage you to review your personal and business plans. Do you have a back-up plan to help you transition through a crisis. It could be as simple and redundancy in your information technology infrastructure (having a back up laptop, for instance). Or it could be updating your back-up plan for your data. Or possibly ensuring that your applications are available in the cloud, giving you access from any device, in any location. 

Yes, I did dodge a bullet. Oh, and I was blessed by Dean and the team that came to my family’s rescue. I simply made the decision to join the ship on Saturday afternoon, and we started our cruise from Melbourne. It was pointless worrying about the issues at home because I had a fantastic support network, enough margin to know that insurance covered my losses. And I had the network of TEC Chairs surrounding me with advice and help to navigate me through the troubled waters that lay ahead. 

And I made one more discovery as the result of this crisis… When you have a three-drawer filing cabinet, don’t store all your confidential and legal documents in the bottom drawer. That’s where the water gathers in a flood! 

 Now I have enough material to add to a second volume of my book “Leading From The Stop”. 




Elias Kanaris helps leaders lead. He is a thought leader in the area of resilience, leadership and building trust. Elias is an author and speaker. He has written three books on leadership, resilience and finances, and has spoken in 13 countries, on four continents.

Elias is the CEO of the Insight and Strategy Group and has served as President of the Global Speakers Federation (2018-2019) and was the President of the National Speakers Association of New Zealand (2015-2017). He is also a Founding Partner of Maxwell Leadership® – the largest and fastest-growing leadership training organisation in the world – where he is a certified Coach, Trainer and Speaker in the Maxwell Methodology®.


In a time of need there is no better feeling than to know that someone, even a person you had never met before, truly cares about you. This was basically the approach of the citizens of Gander and the surrounding towns for the days that followed September 11, 2001. The needs, worries and care of others became ours. Through it all strangers became friends and then became family to us.


Elias has written a short Whitepaper on Building T.R.U.S.T. to help you, as a Christian Business Owner to build trust in your organisation, Get your FREE copy delivered straight to your inbox.