Sunday, January 3, 2010

Your List of Go-To People

Sometimes you need help from other people. Do you know who these other people should be? Do you know how to contact them? If you were in a completely new and potentially litigious/dangerous/life changing situation, such as happened to the two bloggers when the TSA agents showed up on their doorsteps a few days ago, would you deal with the situation yourself or call in the Cavalry so to speak? Here's a list of people you may want to cultivate in order to help yourself out in any of the above mentioned situations. At a minimum, you want these people's office phone numbers, email addresses, and cell numbers (additional contact information such as their home phone numbers, Twitter/FaceBook/other social media contact information if they regularly monitor these services are also helpful). It is also a very good idea to cultivate good relationships with these people--the stronger the relationship, the more likely they will be to help you out in a crisis.
  • Accountant. Anytime you deal with finances (you own a business, invest, buy property, have a trust, etc) you want an expert to be able to provide you good financial information. Accounting and tax rules change quite frequently and unless you are in the business, you may miss something important. A wise accountant is worth his/her weight in gold.
  • Lawyer. Or maybe a couple of them. I have friends who practice in a variety of areas of law so depending on the situation/need I will call up one of these guys for assistance. A good lawyer is also invaluable.
  • Doctor. One of your priorities is to keep yourself in excellent health so you can continue to function normally. Usually you will make an appointment and see your doctor in their clinic, however there are circumstances where it is nice to have a doctor who is also a personal friend on speed dial. A friend, who happens to be a doctor who specializes in tropical medicine, has provided useful information on more than a few occasions. And did you know that in most cases if you present at a hospital with a gunshot wound, the hospital is mandated to call the police and report the situation? Sometimes it is nice to have a physician who makes house calls.
  • Dentist. Ditto the above. Usually you don't need dentists in crisis situations but it can be very convenient if you are pressed for time, to have a dentist that will see you anytime, anywhere.
  • Local law enforcement. Most people try to avoid the local LEOs at all costs, however it is a good idea, if possible, to have contacts with your local police/sheriff's office. The higher ranking the officer, the better.
  • Politicians. Although politicians usually have a less than stellar reputation, there are many situations your Senator or Congressman can help you with. Having friends who are local, state, and federal level politicians, despite their reputations, can be quite useful and are always good to have on speed dial, just in case.
  • The media. Again, you usually don't want the media around but there are times when having the media--hopefully a friend who will be sympathetic to your cause--on your side can be very useful. Contacts you may want to cultivate in the media include reporters for your local newspaper, national media contacts (think CNN, New York Times, etc), bloggers who have a huge reach, and anyone else who can spread a story quickly and efficiently.
  • Money people. I am not talking about loan sharks or payday lenders. I am talking about friends who can front you a large sum of cash, on a moment's notice, with no questions asked.
  • People who get things done. These people are few and far between but infinitely useful. I am actually one of these people which is why I happen to have so many contacts. People who get things done are those who can fix a situation, any situation, and generally create a positive outcome. I have a couple of people whom I can call on, any time, any place, with any situation, and with very little, if any guidance from me, they can figure out how to fix a problem. If you are being hauled off to jail and have one phone call, who would you call? If you have a major crisis in the middle of the night and you have one call, who would you call? If you are in a legally dicey situation in a third world country and have time to make one phone call before TSHTF, who would you call? You may have more than one of these people depending on the situation but you want to be sure that they are people you can trust with your life and who know how to fix a wide range of problems.
  • Fed types. A local FBI contact, someone placed well with Homeland Security or the myriad other agencies that made up the government can also be useful for information and advice.
  • Those who aren't going to win any citizenship awards. Whether it is a drug dealer, mercenary, muscle, or what have you, when being politically correct is not expedient/effective, sometimes you need other people who can help you. A note, that playing with fire may get you burned, so proceed with caution.
  • Mentors. In every field, there are people who are much better at what they do than I am. These are the people I use as mentors. Over the years I have developed relationships with people in a wide range of fields--military, firearms, business, etc--who are excellent at what they do. These are the people I call on when I need help with a specific project/problem. Note that I don't choose these people by how much they brag about themselves. I choose these people based on what I see--are they skillful at what they do, are they humble, are the "less talk and more action", do they produce favorable outcomes?
The way to have contact with these people is to socialize or work with these people. You can't just call up someone out of the blue and make friends with them because you think they will be useful sometime in the future. It doesn't work that way. Instead, you build relationships like you would with anyone else, by meeting people "on their turf" which may mean a golf course, a Chamber of Commerce meeting, your kid's soccer game, or an expat hotel. Relationships take time to develop and it helps if you do favors for people and otherwise build their trust. You want to avoid people who have negative traits (bragging a lot about themselves, can't keep confidences, speak negatively of others, those who lie/cheat/steal) as these people will do the same to you that they do to others.
For the most part I rely on myself. I don't like owing people--whether financially or otherwise--and I prefer it if people owe me. There are times, however, when a crisis happens and I need to call in reinforcements. It is good to be able to have these reinforcements on speed dial.

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