I bet you’ve never seen the word priage before. I hadn’t either, that is until a couple of weeks ago. When I first saw it, I sat there and scratched my head for a while, and then I got it: Priage is the other end of triage. It’s what you do when you know you’re going to have a transitional event, but it just hasn’t happened yet.
Why priage can save you a lot of pain.
I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life when I knew things were going to go wrong and I did nothing about it. I stuck my head in the sand and just hoped bad things wouldn’t happen.
You can probably guess the rest of that story. Whatever I was pretending wouldn’t happen did. It was staring me in the face and if I had taken just a little bit of time I would have been able to manage the transition coming my way.
I eventually learned that not having a plan B and even a plan C was a bad idea. I learned to live by the mantra, “plan for the worst and hope for the best.” That way if things didn’t work out, I would already have a plan ready for action. This is what priage is all about. It’s getting ahead of a transitional event you know is going to happen.
Why don’t you plan for painful events before they happen?
I think we all like to think that only good things are going to happen. It would be nice if that were true. My experience is that there is always a little bit of pain waiting around the corner. If I don’t plan for how to deal with this pain it could get out of control.
You don’t plan for our death because you don’t want to think about it. You might not plan for a divorce even though you know your marriage isn’t going to work out. You might not think about your next job even though you know layoffs are right around the corner.
If you think there are things like those above that could happen, planning for how you’re going to handle the transition could be the difference between real pain and just being inconvenienced.
What about planning for windfalls ahead.
These are often done in a triage process as well. You’re going to sell your business. Have you thought about what’s next? Have you thought about how to invest the proceeds from the sale? Do you know if the sale will bring you enough money?
You’re about to retire. Do you know how you’re going to handle your retirement money? You’re about to inherit some money. Do you not think about the changes in your life this might bring because a loved one is about to die? These are all events that could be improved if you did a little priage beforehand.
The benefit of creating a priage plan.
I think the main advantage of creating a priage plan is that when a transitional event happens you’re prepared. You’ve already thought through what you need to do. All you need to do is start.
I know that starting can be hard and even painful. It’s not going to be easy for you to move forward. I can tell you one thing; it’ll be much easier with a priage plan in place than if you start thinking about what you need to do after the event.
What your next step should be.
Sit down and think about transitions, windfalls, and shortfalls that could happen in your life. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being not likely to happen and 10 a certainty the event will happen in the next year rank the changes that could happen. Take one at a time and write a priage plan.
You can either write your priage plan with a professional advisor or you can do it with your spouse, a significant other or even by yourself. Put this plan aside for a week and then review it a week later to see if it still works for you. If it does great, if not, make changes till it works.
The purpose of priage is to take thinking out of the equation because you can’t think as clearly as you normally would. We know that when we’re under stress our IQ goes down. I know I want to have all of my mental capacity at work when a transitional event happens and I bet you do too.
We have a workbook called the Decision Free Zone. This workbook can help you work through the priage process even though you’ve not had a triggering event. It can help you think about the decisions you might have to make and make some of them before your event happens. To get this workbook, click on the button below.