Be the Master of Disaster (and Crisis Management) Like Shelby Edwards – Episode 31

September 6, 2013

Thanks to our former guest and friend Paul Jarvis, Phil and I got introduced to one of the funniest people we’ve ever met in disaster and crisis management. I know what you’re thinking. Funny and disasters do NOT belong in the same sentence. Typically they haven’t, but lucky for us, Shelby Edwards has changed that general perception.

In this episode, Shelby takes us through the importance of building resilient systems from the start so your business isn’t toast when big disasters come along.


Watch the show (uncensored & unedited)
Listen to the show (coming soon)

Share Some SHUT UP Love –> Take that little step. It’s not a cliff. Usually it’s more like stepping off the curb. @STEWest on @_theshutupshow #shutupshow (click to tweet)

Fun Facts:

  • Shelby came up with the name for her business and blog while experiencing turbulence on the plane during her flight sitting next to a woman chanting The Lord’s Prayer
  • Shelby jumped out of her corporate job less than a year ago to start helping small and mid-sized businesses with the work she had been doing for one large company
  • Shelby is a professional crisis manager and recognized expert in disaster and emergency management
  • Shelby served 21 years in the United States Army Reserve, Special Operations branch

Defining SHUT UP Moment:

What serving in the U.S. Army taught me in very visceral ways is you have to face the fear. Something big like trying to do harm to somebody or a small thing like exposing yourself to something new. There was a moment in Bosnia where we were doing reconstruction work and I had a bad day. I discovered in that moment and in that environment, I’d much rather go at the thing and deal with it than run away from it.

I didn’t know until that moment that I’m that kind of person. I get more scared by not acting than acting. If I could deal with it in a forward way, that gives confidence to people on my left and right. I found that talent and it translated into all parts of my life. Former executives who hired me said it was because I made them feel comfortable… “If Shelby’s not scared then I don’t have to be.”


I wanted to give back to small and mid-sized business… the real objective is to take the fear out and create resilience and more adaptable business. – Shelby

Big businesses have enough capital to keep going but if you’re small and bootstrapped your business and something comes along that’s not normal, it generally puts 50% of small businesses out of business. – Shelby

We avoid all of it, we’re all human, we don’t like to think about the thing that’s going side ways. It’s a very scary thing. It’s about getting to the really human level and make a list of 10 things you can do today to keep the lights on. – Shelby

Reasons for true terror are really few in the world. There are some things we should really be scared about and the rest our imagination is generally making it worst than it usually is. – Shelby

Don’t build the bunker in the back yard. You don’t wanna go out in a hole in the ground. That’s not a classy way to go out. – Shelby

What can I do in my four walls to make sure I’m likely to weather shocks and disruption? You can actually have a really good time when the waves are breaking. Limits are good. – Shelby

Disaster could be one of the best things that ever happen because it forces you to get rid of all the crap and focus on the most important thing which is serving your customer. It might just be reframing what we need in order for our business to move forward to the next level. – Phil

I can handle other complicated, scary things. Knitting needles? Not so much. – Shelby

Sometimes that 1% change is all the difference we need. – Phil

I’m much better now not thinking I have to make any decisions alone because there are very few things in the world you have to do by yourself. It’s about the team you bring to it and the trust and the relationships that you make. I’ve been wrong. We’ve all been wrong. Just dust yourself off. – Shelby

All of those things we talk about being good business practice is really about resilience. – Shelby

Shelby Recommends:

Post that was mentioned in our chat: My Last Will and Testament: What’s Yours?

Find Shelby: