If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." -Milton Berle
I just spent a weekend out of town on a girls’ trip for a good friend’s wedding.
The wedding was in West Palm Beach. The flight from NYC to FL ended up getting delayed on the runway, which meant I missed my connecting flight. Suddenly a pretty short and straightforward trip turned into a bit of an adventure.
I was hoping to make it on time for welcome drinks but was told all the flights were fully booked and there was nothing available for another six hours! Aside from not wanting to hang in an airport all day long, I only had a day and a half to soak up my friends and the wedding festivities, so I really wanted to get in earlier.
Multiple conversations, a few sprints through the airport, three airports, three flights, and chasing a flight attendant to plead my case got me into West Palm Beach in time for those welcome drinks. In fact, I was early!
On the much, much easier flight back home to Manhattan, I thought about what went into getting me to WPB. Truth be told, I’m not sure I would have handled the delays the same way before having a business.
I realized being my own boss has taught me a few things, and there were some parallels and takeaways from this trip that relate to our business success.
How My Travel Delay Approach Is Also My Business Approach
1. There’s Almost Always Another Way
When my first flight was delayed, I was immediately rebooked onto a much later flight. When I nicely asked if there was an earlier flight, I was given a hard no.
I said thank you and promptly went to another counter. I again asked nicely, explained my case, and was told no. This time, when I got my ‘no’, I gently said I understood and explained I was willing to be flexible if there was a creative way to get me to my destination earlier. I asked if they wouldn’t mind looking again.
Turned out, when we looked a little closer, there was a flight that wasn’t direct, but would connect and get me there three hours earlier!
The woman behind the counter explained it left in less than half an hour, there was no guarantee I’d have a seat on either flight, but if I was willing to go for it, I should run, NOW!
I almost hugged her, said 'yes', congratulated myself for being smart enough to wear sneakers, and sprinted to the gate, where my second plea bargain began.
You already know I made it to West Palm, which meant I managed to wrangle myself a seat on both overbooked flights.
This was a reminder that there’s almost always a way to make something work. It might not look the way we expect it to, we may have to ask a few times, find an alternative solution, and get a little creative, but more often than not, there’s a way to make it happen.
2. Sometimes The Path Looks Different Than How We Envisioned It
I gotta tell you, three airports and as many flights to get from NY to FL was not exactly how I planned to spend my day off. But just like in business, you can make a plan, have the best intentions, execute everything to a T, be prepared, and life will throw you a curveball.
It’s tempting to get fixated on things working out exactly how we have them planned and mapped out. There will almost always be a few obstacles and detours, and it’s our ability to navigate them and pivot that determines whether or not we’ll reach our final destination.
3. Expect Things To Work Out And Be Persistent
I feel like I should preface that this blog isn’t about being a pain to flight attendants, rather the approach and mindset we can adopt when we want to make something happen, be that our businesses, creative projects, or making it to a good friend’s wedding.
One mindset that will always serve us is the belief that things will work out, which tends to encourage persistence.
We have to believe that whatever is thrown our way, we’ll roll with the punches, and things will work out. Then body follows mind and we take action accordingly, in business and in desperate flight attempts.
(Side note: expectations are a tricky thing and a big topic for another day. I believe holding onto expectations too tightly isn’t the way to go, but believing things will work out influences the actions we take and the results we get.)
In this case, assuming there was a solution and things would work out kept me calmer and also encouraged me to be persistent enough to keep asking until I found a solution. If I hadn’t believed things would work out, I most likely would have stopped with my first rebooking.
More often than not, when we believe and look for a way, we find one. When we don’t believe it’s possible, we miss solutions right under our nose. We get and find what we expect.
Whether you’re trying to make it to a girls’ weekend and wedding to see dear friends or make your business work there are bound to be snags, delays, and unexpected circumstances because, hey, we’re all human and living this thing we call life. It’s all in how we think about those obstacles and approach them that determines if we make it to our final destination.
I hope my travel delays will remind you that there’s always a way to make things work even if it’s not how we originally envisioned it, and there’s massive power in believing things will work out and being persistent.
Wishing you your version of success,