Have you ever had "one of THOSE days?" You know--the kind where you want to hit the "pause" button, then rewind and start over? I was 'gifted' with one of them this week. It snuck up on poor unsuspecting me. Well, actually, I've noticed that's usually how they happen - one event quietly and simply follows another until the only words coming out of my mouth are "Of course, that's exactly what I ought to expect from a day like today!" Briefly, technology crashed on every front, every deadline I was working toward was missed. And, when a quiet voice in me said, "You never heard back that the agency that booked your airline tickets to Europe got the final payment fax." I decided to pick up the phone and call.
"No Ms. Feinholz, we didn't get that fax. Let's look at the reservation. That's the one departing on June 14 for Paris?" "That's right.
" I said. "And returning June 22nd." "No, July 22nd." "No we show June 22nd" "Well that's wrong. I was on the phone for over an hour and we talked about all the stops I'm making in Europe, priced out trains versus planes and so on and we said repeatedly July.
" Can I cut the story short, please? I don't want to relive it. Suffice it to say, the return flight is booked on the wrong date, the flights are all booked at that price point. But, gosh, I could pay $1,400 more for the 2 of us to come back within 24 hours either side of that date. You get the picture. Days that go to Hell In A Hand-basket days offer us 2 choices: Choice Number 1 - Loose our heads and run around like.
a chicken without a head. What I wanted to do at that moment was go into a complete rant. I wanted to slam the phone down, pick it back up again, tell her what a hell of a day I'd been having, that this was the crowning moment and on and on and on.
But if we live long enough, we actually gain perspective. Yes, I've spent weeks working on the itinerary for the trip I'm taking my niece on to celebrate her graduation. Yes, I'd finally notified everyone of the itinerary including friends who are now making plans to join up with us on those last days. Yes, it's such a mega trip that I'm watching the costs. But really, my reaction had two sources: aggravation about the costs, but also embarrassment that I'd have to tell people that my plans went awry and I'm not as competent as I like to think of myself every moment on every matter.
And no. It was not the end of the world. It was friggin inconvenient, bloody aggravating, outright pissing me off that I wasn't 'done' with all the arrangements I thought were buttoned down.
but it was NOT the end of the world and I knew it. No calls in the middle of the night about dire events are involved, no hospital visits required, no health, safety or funerals involved. I know it because I've lived all of those repeatedly in this lifetime and this event didn't come 1/1000th of the way along that road. So I could live in reaction, protecting myself against embarrassment or move on to. Choice Number 2 - Step back and sort it out.
I stewed under my breath for 4 hours while waiting to hear back from the agency. That's pretty short considering that in my 20s I would have spent days in a tizzy, telling the tale to anyone who would listen, working my way into a rant over and over again. In the meanwhile, I focused on getting the technology glitches solved and prevented from occurring again in the future. Got documents prepared for a conference presentation, etc.
No, I didn't know what the resolution will be, but I did know that I was doing everything I could think of systematically, so that the best possible resolution could be found. The agency supervisor, who was the only one who can waive their policies, worked on it personally, I granted them some flexibility about the departure and return city and the exact times for the flights, and I got my attention back on what I can personally affect. And, if the nearly six-week long trip lost or gained an extra day it would be part of the adventure. Frankly, I really like living with Choice Number 2 a lot better than Number 1. So I picked up my hand basket to bring in some roses to enjoy while I waited for a call back from the travel agency! Copyright (c) 2008 Linda Feinholz.
Management expert, consultant, and coach Linda Feinholz is "Your High payoff Catalyst." Linda publishes the free weekly newsletter The Spark! to subscribers world-wide and delivers targeted solutions, practical skills and simple ways to build your business. If you're ready to focus on your High Payoff activities, accelerate your results and have more fun at it, get your FREE tips like these visit her site at www.YourHighPayoffCatalyst.com