Have you ever had one of those days in which everything seems to go askew? Wait a minute. I meant to say: when was the last time you had one of those days...
Everyone has them. It isn't just a matter of if, but rather when.
When I have a day like that, it seems like it is usually when I am traveling. One such day that comes to mind was a few years ago (it would be perfectly natural to assume one hasn't happened since then, but that wouldn't be correct) when Dave and I were traveling back home from a two-week trip to Europe right before we were to be moving from Florida to Arizona. We arrived to Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, checked in then went to the gate. As we stood there, waiting to board, a notification appeared saying the flight was delayed, then just as quickly changed to "Flight cancelled". Uh-oh! No, no, no. Our flight from Paris to Atlanta couldn't be cancelled because Dave had to get back to Florida to meet the movers who would soon be packing our entire house for our move to Arizona.
On top of that, I was supposed to be flying to a school district in Florida to do a keynote and break-out sessions for them. Dave and I quickly scurried to find a gate agent who could help us. I ended up changing my flight that would end up getting me to my training location the night before my training. Dave ended up not getting home until extremely late the night before the movers arrived early the next morning. It seems that all would be fine. But wait! There's more (like a Ginsu knife commercial without the knives, and Murphy's Law has ownership over times like these)!
The next morning, I was in Orlando (which, miraculously, was where I was supposed to be), preparing for my keynote and I notice that my powerpoint was missing some slides. Scratch that: a bunch of them. I was about two hours away from presenting and I had very little on my slidedeck. My heart was pounding and I started sweating. Some might mistake these signs for being in love, but no. It definitely a thump-thump but no loving feeling was attached to it. If you have lost something big from your computer, you know the wave of panic I felt. Side note: I have a dear friend with whom I got my doctorate who lost all of her material from her computer as she was 3/4 of the way finished. Not great.
I was experiencing conflicting messages: one that said, "Freak out and take everybody with you!" and one that said, "This, too, shall pass." I chose to listen to the first message for several minutes until a still, small voice said, "Take this opportunity to re-do your presentation." After all, I knew the message I wanted to present, I had some of the slides, and I had the printed material the participants would have. I took a deep (read: enormous) breath, and got to work. One hour later (with minutes to spare before I was "on"), I had a new powerpoint presentation which, admittedly, was rushed but a better product than I had before.
The key ideas that I learned from this experience were:
1. Don't getting bogged down in self-pity (for too long, anyway)
2. Start by taking some action
3. Use the experience as a learning opportunity (have I mentioned I now have an "auto-save" feature on my computer, now?)
I am extremely grateful for the re-do opportunities I have been given in my life. Yes, I have often had to be tapped on the shoulder in order to jumpstart the re-do, but the choices were mine to take or ignore. Some of them include:
*Choosing to move into an educational leadership position almost 20 years ago
*Dave and I chose to move to Tucson 10 years ago to "do something new" and then moved to Texas 2 years ago to build on our "what if someday" land in the hill country
*I chose to quit drinking and become more "present" in my life over 25 years ago
What have been yours?
I would love to hear your stories and the lessons you've learned!
Check out this great song by Francesca Battistelli that pretty much sums up life to me:
Happy Communicating!! (and now I am going to save my work) :)