After the beautifully long, delicious, fun-filled, rejuvenating Thanksgiving weekend, I woke up on Monday to 8 inches of snow and ice, 50 mph wind gust, 31 degrees without the windchill, and … no power.
It was quite the floor-thumping arrival for our winter season.
This is what my mentor, Jenny Shih, would call an “oh s#!t” moment.
It’s true, and that’s exactly what I was saying to my husband and myself.
But, there they are, happening. And in typical OS moment fashion, they’re usually unavoidable.
So what do you do?
Here’s what I did…
I still had clients to coach, projects to deliver on.
I also could not do everything.
I simply did not enough mental bandwidth to be able to figure out when the power to our home was going to be restored (we weren’t even able to get an ETA on the restoration time from the power company), plus get adjusted to a new routine and full deliver on the dozen-plus tasks and appointments on my list.
We couldn’t stay at home because the temperature was dropping 1-2 degrees every hour due to the outside weather conditions, which also now included full cloud cover, blocking out any hope that the Sun would make an appearance to brighten up the day, both literally and figuratively.
For some people, an OS moment would produce one of two results:
1. try to still get it all done, keeping all systems go at full force, and leaving you frustrated and disappointed because it didn’t happen.
2. do nothing, call it a day for anything at all to even occur and have all systems come to a grinding halt.
Both have their merits in very specific situations, but here, in my situation, neither would do.
I took a third option – keep only the most vital systems moving forward.
To do that, first, I needed a place that had electricity. So, we all went to work with my husband for the day.
We’re lucky that I could go to a place with light and heat and desks and hot coffee and wifi. Oh, and we’re able to bring our dogs, too.
Now that I knew I could keep working on things that I needed to continue working on, I needed to sort out what those items were.
There were certain projects that I should have worked on, but weren’t actually due until the end of the week. So, I made the decision to push them to later in the week, and noted that I might need to put in extra hours towards the due dates, if needed.
The group program that I’m a business coach in, those clients couldn’t wait. This is the last week of the program and supporting each one of those incredible business owners became my client work priority.
Next, I took a look at my calendar and task list to see what could come completely off of it, which ended up being an early Monday morning phone call with a client. I immediately texted my client to let her know the situation, and she being the fabulous human that she is, was very gracious and understanding.
Two client calls later in the day stayed on the calendar.
Then, I lowered my expectations for the day and gave myself permission to have my work be good enough. Because my mind was frequently thinking about our house, checking the power company’s app for an outage update, I knew the quality of my work wouldn’t be my best and I had to be okay with that.
As the day progressed, it became increasing clear that we weren’t going to have power restored before bedtime and we needed to make other arrangements for where to sleep because by the time we got home at the end of the workday, it was 51 degrees in our home.
So, repeat the process again of figuring out where to go (which was a local hotel that happened to also be pet-friendly; it felt a little too swanky for us and our little pups, but was warm and cozy).
Then, it was looking at the calendar and task list for vital and non-vital items. This time, it included a call with our Zoom account rep that wasn’t urgent. I emailed her Monday evening, explained the situation and asked to move our call to the next week (side note – she was gracious and accommodating, too).
And lastly, I kept my expectations pretty low for Tuesday. Even though power was restored in the wee early hours, we still had to do some clean up at the house, mainly in our refrigerator. All I’ll say is that after we cleaned it, our fridge looked like a bachelor lived in our house… a bachelor who likes apples and oranges and nothing else.
Again, the client work that could wait another day, moved to Wednesday. And my group program clients were the main recipients of my attention as we reoriented ourselves to our living situation.
Today, our home and routine is back to usual and it the power outage is a blip on my month’s calendar.
When you find yourself in the midst of an OS moment, use my checklist for getting through it:
1. Acknowledge that this is an “oh s#!t” moment. Awareness and acknowledgment that something super sucky is going on right now is important. Do not sweep it under the run and pretend it isn’t happening.
2. Look at what truly needs to get done. This might include a simple task like checking your inbox, but maybe it only happens once during the day. If you need help gauging it, ask yourself if your business will close as a result of not working on the task.
3. Look for what can come off your calendar and task list. Is there a call that isn’t that important? Did you sign up for a webinar and they’re going to be doing a replay always? Take those items off your list.
4. Be kind to yourself. OS moments happen, and not only do they throw your logistical world for a loop, but they end up taking a lot more mental bandwidth than you might imagine. Show yourself compassion.
What’s your OS moment habit? Are you a get-it-all-done-er or a stop-everything-er? How might you bring more balance to working through the curveballs of life?
Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash