Late last year I was flying to Adelaide to facilitate a workshop with a new client. Now usually I travel the night before to make sure I’m on site and ready to go first thing in the morning. This time I couldn’t do that so I was catching the o’dark o’clock flight ready for a 9:30 start.
So it was great news when the plane pushed back from the gate right on schedule and taxied out to the run way. And not so great news when it turned around and headed back to the gate. An announcement from the Captain followed, “It looks like we have a little problem due to the storms in Sydney last night, and the Engineers are on their way”.
There was a collective groan from the ranks of business suits on the plane, some muttering and reaching for phones and iPads followed. You could feel the energy on the plane turn negative. There were choruses of complaints, frustrated people and even some anger. And all about a situation which none of us, as passengers on that plane, could change.
I quickly realised that there were a few possibilities here:
- I might be a little bit late getting to my client,
- I might be a lot late,
- I might not get to my client at all.
What to do? Go with the crowd and get upset?
(I fully acknowledge that I’m being a bit smug here)
Instead, I just asked myself the obvious question, ‘what are my options?’. Once I figured out the answer to that, I decided what I would do, did it, and then went to sleep. I woke up as we were taxiing back out to the runway over an hour later. The general consensus on the plane was ‘about time’ and some other comments I can’t repeat here. There were some very unhappy people on that plane. (And here comes my smugness…) I was feeling great, I had a plan for my day, a still happy client and I had an extra hour’s sleep. And all due to asking myself a great question ‘what are my options?’.
So what happens to you when you find yourself in a less than agreeable situation, one over which you have no control? Does the situation control you or do you find another way to respond?
A little self-coaching with a simple question to move yourself forward can really make a difference to your day. Great questions begin with How, What, Which , When and Who.
- How can I change this?
- What can I do right now?
- What else can I do?
- What are my options?
- Who can help me?
Try it next time your feeling less than positive about a situation, or feel like you have no control. You can change your whole day….for the better.