047: How To Turn A Disaster Into An Opportunity [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

667F5882-2557-44A7-9D84-DF663B7D8E9CHow do you respond to disasters? Do they sink you or are you able to see them as a potential opportunity? Today, I tell a story about meeting a brilliant fisherman who taught me a great perspective.


I met a fisherman at the banks of a flood.  I commented how disastrous it could be.  He just smiled at me and said,

“When it floods. It brings the fish closer”

Based on that statement, the key idea and the key way to turn a seeming disaster into an opportunity

  • Change your Perspective on the meaning of the disaster.
  • Ask “What is the opportunity?”

John Templeton took the strategy of “buy low, sell high” to an extreme, picking nations, industries, and companies hitting rock-bottom, what he called “points of maximum pessimism.” When war began in Europe in 1939, he borrowed money to buy 100 shares each in 104 companies selling at one dollar per share or less, including 34 companies that were in bankruptcy. Only four turned out to be worthless, and he turned large profits on the others.

B3C3FA98-65C3-45D0-BB17-B557C68202A7If you get laid off from your job, what is the opportunity that this disaster presents? Starting your own business?  Maybe staying at home with the kids? 

Disasters are tough, there is damage, but remember that all is not lost. 

In the bible, Paul says that all things work out for the good of those who love God….  basically that means that whatever seems to be a set back, a dead end or a disaster, ultimately can be worked out for good as you turn disasters into opportunities. 



The Two Tables of Thanksgiving

000c0065-0000-0000-0000-000000000000_00000065-07e2-0000-0000-000000000000_20121112174243_111212_kidstable_600x300If you come from a larger family, you are familiar with the two tables of Thanksgiving.  First, is the adult table which is aptly named for those who grace it’s lacy clothed edge.  Lit candles, real china and elegantly etched wine glasses decorate it’s festive landing.

Second is the kids table.  Lucky just to have paper plates, this table holds less expectation and prestige as the former since it’s occupants couldn’t care less.  Most of the occupants, that is.

I remember sitting at the kids table at that delicate school age of 6th grade.  That was the time of transition, the time when I sat in view of the adult table.  How I longed to not have to dodge the cranberry sauce globs being thrown at my head by my little brother and sister.

The next year, my father pulled out a chair and I joined the ranks of the outnumbered elite at, (pause for dramatic effect) the adult table.  It is a grand thing to be invited to graduate.

Reflecting on the two tables makes me wonder how many people live their lives at the kids table.  Life has invited them to a better standard, a higher living, a progressed status and yet, they choose to stay with the status quo.  They find security in the mediocre and actually have a fear of success.


If you look around, life invites you to be better, to do better, to achieve and succeed.  Opportunities still dot the hours of your day like cloves in the skin of a well-goldened turkey.  Look.  The world has just pulled out a chair.  It is time for you to take it.



3 Things to STOP DOING Next Year

StopDoingListStatistically, most people make and break New Year’s Resolutions by the middle of January.  I’ve stopped making resolutions to do something but use the turn of the calendar as an opportunity to stop doing something.

My choice flies in the face of my natural inclination to add more and more to my personal and professional plate.  However, over the years, I find that my intentionality does not need to focus on adding but subtracting.  So here are a few attitudes and behaviors that you can stop doing in the new year:

  1. Stop comparing yourself, your business and your family to others.  Andy Stanley says “There’s no win in comparison.”  (Click Here for his talks on that subject).  Take finances, for example.  If you compare yourself to someone who has more, it may push you into a desperate sense that you’re in the poor house and cause erratic spending habits in order to achieve their level.  If you compare yourself to someone who has less, it can cause pride.  Comparison can be positive if it is used to inspire you to be better, but most of us struggle with over-comparing.
  2. Stop giving your time away.  Only within the past few years have I been really intentional about creating margin in my calendar.  Margin is a space in which you create “free-time.”  That free-time can be used for relaxing, relational connecting or hobbies that generate a sense of refreshment.
  3. Stop being a victim.  There are circumstances beyond our control.  We have to do what our boss says.  We have to pay bills.  We have to step through the doors of duty.   But much of our life-events can be control by two simple words, “Yes” and “No.”  God has given us a great power of choice during our day and unless you’re being physically restrained, you have that power of choice.

Question:  What do you need to Stop Doing in 2013?




While at graduate school, I entered an 8-ball pool tournament.  Unbelievably, I made it to the quarter finals without loosing a game.  Confidence carried me to the next opponent and I calmly placed the cue ball just off center, “in the kitchen” to break.  Gripping my cue, I shot the ball into the tight rack and spread the solids and stripes evenly over the table, plopping one of them into a pocket.

From there I handily won the first game.  Repeating the same pattern in the second game, I continued to sweep the table clean of the solid balls.  Down to one and the eight, I missed the shot.

Now it was his turn.

My opponent calmly bent over his first shot and nailed it.  Then another and another.  Game after game, this pattern repeated.  He, standing calmly, as I rushed the table almost winning each match.  When the dust settled, he claimed victory.

After, I asked him, “Why didn’t you freak out when I got down to one ball then the eight.” He said, “The less of your solids on the table, the more opportunities I saw for my stripes.”

I learned a lesson that day.  Sometimes, when I have less, it provides me more.  When I feel that I have less energy, strength, resources, or time, I gain more opportunity to trust God, to simplify my life and to gain clarity about a certain direction at work.  The less I place on my Wunderlist to do, the more I get out of life.

And like the game of pool, when there is less on the table, there is more opportunity for success.


(CLICK HERE for a Bible story about LESS is MORE)