Like many of you, I’m busier than mustard trying to ketchup. I often teach about the dangers of operating beyond your bandwidth, as something will get dropped. This past week, I did not practice what I preach. I did, however, find out that even when we drop the ball, we still can have one.
Last Tuesday I was contemplating travel mode for my upcoming trip to NYC to spend time with a dear friend and coworker after a 10-year disconnect. I knew this trip was coming for months, so it was not a spur of the moment event. My departure date was Wednesday (yes, the next day) so I needed to decide, NOW. Trains, planes, or automobiles? I had plenty of airline miles, so I decided to book a flight with reward travel.
NYC has several airports. I got online to figure which one was closest to our Manhattan hotel. It was LaGuardia Airport (LGA). I got on TripAdvisor to find out which public transport I should take from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) once I landed to get to the hotel. I even confirmed the arrival time of my friend coincided with my arrival time at LaGuardia Airport (LGA).
Know what I did next? I booked a round-trip ticket to Islip Airport (ISP) in Long Island. How I picked ISP over LGA, I'll never know. But I did sit next to two tremendous people on my flight, so I was blissfully unaware of my error until I landed at the serenely calm and quiet airport. "Wow," I thought to myself, "things have settled down in the City that Never Sleeps!"
Know when it really hit me? When I went down to the taxi stand and the women explained to me that I was 55 miles away from downtown Manhattan. I believed her, but I had to be sure. I checked google maps on my phone. Yep, she was correct. I checked my ticket purchase online to see if someone they had printed me the wrong destination. Nope, they landed me exactly where I said I wanted to go. As I’m sitting there thinking, “Man, I need this vacation more than I thought”, and swearing the taxi reps to a vow of secrecy that they shall never tell the story of the Pennsyltucky woman who flew into the wrong airport, I finally took a moment out of my busy life to assess the situation.
I’m an optimistic and go-with-the-flow type person. I try hard to create and stay on tremendous fight plans in life, but sometimes I get it wrong. I drop the ball. I over promise and under deliver. I mean to go left when my actions take me right. I miss stuff.
The good news was, I wasn’t speaking in NYC, so my extra 90 minutes to get to the hotel was not an issue. Wednesday evening was spectacular on the East Coast. Clear, not humid, the setting sun against the backdrop of coming into the city, and minimal traffic. Best of all, I got to spend time getting to know my driver, Frank, from Puerto Rico, who shared his upbringing, his coming to the US, and all about his nine-year-old daughter who happens to love dogs. Providence.
Fast forward four tremendous days and I had the same issue of how to get from Manhattan back to ISP. Frank could not make the return leg but had a friend, Jason, step in. Jason is a seasoned comic who has been on stage everywhere with everyone. When he picked me up at the hotel and told me he was a professional comic, I almost lost it!! I got to hear how he writes his material, share our favorite jokes, and dive into the power of humor in connecting people. (BTW, if you haven’t yet checked out The 3 Therapies of Life by Charlie “T” Jones, people and humor are two of the therapies). Providence.
Measure twice, cut once. Never book a flight after midnight if you’ve been staring at the computer all day. Also, I am not an octopus. I cannot do eight things at once….seven maybe, but never eight!
Plan and commit. Squirrels that stand in the middle of the road get run over. Pick a side, any side, and go with it. Had I decided on my travel mode more than 24 hours in advance I could have noticed the error and made the correction without incurring a change fee.
Where did the city go??
It all comes out in the wash. Life is all about cycles and full of ups and downs (also in The 3 Therapies of Life by Charlie “T” Jones). My flight was free; my airport transports were not. After it was paid and done, the shuttles to and from the airport cost me the price of the plane ticket. The three hours I did not get to spend with my friend were spent getting to know two tremendous people I would never have crossed paths with otherwise.
In life, if we aren’t intentional and vigilant, we think we’re going where we’re going, but we're headed to an entirely different destination. No need to get angry at others or beat yourself up for your mistakes. Just take control of the stick, and rightly orient yourself. The good news is, you can forgive yourself and enjoy where you are until you get on the proper course. After all, you are the pilot of your life.