Saturday, August 10, 2019

When the Best-Laid Plans Go to Pot

August 10, 2019. I had two clients booked at my office on Main Street in Buxton, Maine. I was leisurely going about my morning at home when I was told there would be a parade going past my office that morning.

I was instantly gripped with anxiety. I called and messaged my clients to ask what they wanted to do, as there was no telling when the parade would end and whether or not we could get in and out of my parking lot.

I rushed to my office, frustrated with the cars doing 35 in a 40, frustrated with the town, and frustrated with myself for not connecting the dots sooner.

Pulling into my parking lot was easy; things weren't busy yet, though a local side-street was already reduced to local traffic only. As I finalized rescheduling my first appointment, I looked around my office...

And got to work.

"If you can't beat 'em" became my mantra as I put out my signs on the street, and then added Small Business Saturday balloons and business cards. I washed windows and mirrors and dusted surfaces, both inside and outside. I moved more signage and decoration around and tacked up an outlet cover to hide a hole in my wall. These are all things that I never would have made time for, otherwise.

I took a photo and shared it on Facebook, with a bit of (malaphoric) humor -- because that's how I deal with life when things go wrong.

The Importance of Being Adaptable

Yes, I allowed myself a few moments to wallow and bemoan the situation, as well as the (temporarily) lost income. Once that was over with, I made the best of it.

In massage school, I emphasize the importance of rolling with whatever situations arise -- because things can change in an instant, regardless of whether you're in a school clinic, working for someone else, or running your own private practice.

  • You will have no-show clients.
  • You will have five clients vying for the same day and time slot.
  • You may plan to work on a client's shoulders but, when they arrive, you find out they have a sunburn.
  • You may plan to start work on a client who is face-up, only to walk in and find them face-down.
  • You may plan to have no clients at all and come to work to find three of them.
  • You may expect to be fully booked and find out everyone cancelled at the last minute.
  • The business next door will throw a road race and BBQ in your parking lot and not tell you about it.
Life happens.

It's easy to panic and get upset and run in circles, but none of these things accomplish much in the long-run.
  • I can't guarantee that anyone is going to take my business cards while they walk up and down Main Street. 
  • Probably nobody is going to appreciate the cleanliness of my windows and office. (Though, trust me, they notice when things aren't clean -- they are just too polite to mention it.)
  • My landlord is going to have to pry that outlet cover off to fix the hole properly, someday.
But all of these little things add up. They didn't take much time or effort out of my day while my original plans were already thrown out the window.

So when life happens -- when your teachers ask you to do seemingly menial tasks, your boss needs you to come in after giving you the day off, or your client has to cancel due to sudden illness -- go ahead and take a moment to vent about it. 

Then take a deep breath.

Do what needs to be done.

Make the most of the situation.

And then be proud of yourself for remaining flexible and handling things with grace.