Learning to flex gracefully when Murphy’s Law strikes is a mandatory skill of both great leadership and wellness.
Today, I relearned this & share it with total humility. My husband is traveling for CE, and I am solo-parenting for a few days. This is a reality to which I am accustomed, and I am a well-oiled machine when it comes to the coordination of home & children while also staying on track with my professional goals for the week. Self-admittedly, it’s borderline militant as my default tendency is to manage chaos through control.
Enter Murphy’s Law. Murphy always shows up when I’ve got the perfect plan. My plan today? 4:45AM workout (requiring overnight babysitter so I can leave the house), 6AM get self ready, 6:45AM get kids ready, and 7:30AM off to school. Today is Good Friday, and my daughter has a part in the school program at 8:20, and that is a non-negotiable. I will be there. So, 7:30 – 8:20; work via iPad in school parking lot. 8:20 Good Friday Service. 9:20: Arrive at work ready to roll.
- Call from babysitter last night due to illness. Request to cancel. I avert this by convincing her my home is virtually germ free with awesome air quality. I know – a little over the top but a plan is a plan.
- Awake at 4AM to rain, rain, and more rain. No outdoor run. Strike 1.
- Hit the yoga mat at 5AM only to hear the door crack open at 5:20. My son is up & ready to rock and roll 90 minutes ahead of my plan. He climbs under me in downward dog and over me in upward dog – talking the entire time. Finally give up. Strike 2.
- My daughter claims near death illness and refuses to abandon her bed. After a tussle, I finally have her up, fed, and robed in backpack and lunch box. Near Strike 3 resulting in elevated blood pressure.
- Arrive on time at work ready to generate amazing results only to walk into significant issue that sucks my time & increases the speed of my speech to Mach 10. Strike 3.
Thus far, my control the chaos MO is failing & I am growing less desirable to be around. Unless I can recover.
Recovery is an art worth mastering. Because the truth is, we all perform poorly in a state of frustration and stress. Even people who say they perform well under stress really don’t. It’s the same as saying you are an “awesome multi-tasker.” Frustration compromises quality thought and stress compromises empathy. Both compromise joy. While I am a proponent of discipline & building powerful habits to work at your peak, the reality is that adaptability is equally as important. A lack of adaptability causes a good day to evaporate.
We’ve all had these days. Something goes wrong in the morning, & the rest of the day unravels. But the truth is, we create the unraveling by our reaction to the unexpected. When we learn to adapt and realign, we move back into the present moment, reclaim perspective, and start forward again towards our goals. When we negatively react to the unexpected or undesired, we spend the balance of our day in a place of resistance and frustration.
Today is Good Friday. It is a particularly easy day for me to realign because perspective is all around me. This day reminds us that we are part of something so much bigger and that “our plan” is not the ultimate plan. It also reminds us that we are called to “work our plan” from a place of grace, humility, love, and gratitude. Most days; however, don’t have a built-in reset button. We have to be our own, and it’s worth developing the habit of observing ourselves so that we know when to push the reset button.