Tempus fugit - literally, time flees, but colloquially understood as time flies.
I write this after an experience this morning that really highlighted how time flies, stops for no one and should be rightly honored. I had a 7am flight from LAX to DC on business and decided to take the airport shuttle. I also decided I didn't want to leave at 3am, so I told the dispatcher I needed to be at the airport at 6am. I figured they'd pick me up early enough-you know how those shuttles are. I got the confirmation call for a 4:30am pick up. Even if we have to pick up more people on the way, I thought, we should be fine.
The first surprise was that the driver was almost 15 minutes late. Dang, that cut right into my buffer. He let me know we had two more pick ups: one at the local university and the other in Malibu.
CSUCI is already off the beaten path, but Malibu? I was not expecting that. While PCH at 5am is pretty clear, it also adds time and miles to the trip, so I knew there was no way we'd be getting to the airport by 6. I saw the driver's GPS was estimating 6:20. I had already checked in online and paid to check a bag. Knowing the 45 minute bag check rule, I figured I'd never get on my flight.
So how are you feeling reading this? A little stressed? Then you can imagine how I was feeling: anxious, a bit nauseous and sleep deprived with absolutely no control over the situation. Two main themes were going through my head: blaming self and blaming other.
"I should have given a 5:30 airport arrival time. 6:00 was too close. What was I thinking? Oh no-I have to pee! I should have gone one more time before leaving the house. I shouldn't have had that other cup of coffee. I might have to ask him to stop. There's no time! " Alternating with, "If the driver hadn't been so late it would have been fine. Does he even know where he's going. He drove right by my house and didn't even see me in the street waving my arms. And why did they put me in a car going to Malibu?"
Feeling better now? Of course not! neither was I; I was just escalating. I knew I had to quiet my mind. This train of thought was nothing but derailing. Ironically I'm doing a 21-Day Meditation Challenge, but I couldn't clear my head. Instead I tried reasoning with myself. "There's nothing you can do about it now. Just relax and rest and see what happens. You'll deal with whatever happens when you get there." "I should have booked a 5:30 arrival. Man, I have to pee." "Just stop. Breathe, relax. There's nothing else you can do."
I was finally able to calm myself and rest a bit. Acceptance was helping and the only thing I could control. I started picturing myself spending hours at the airport (I had in my head there was an 11am flight), writing this post, thinking about how much reading and writing I'd get done in my down time, that if I had to wait even longer I'd call my friend who lives near the airport and try to meet her for a while. Yeah, everything would work out the way it was supposed to (this is something I generally believe anyway-sometimes it just takes me a while to get there).
The driver pulled up to the terminal, and I ran inside. The greeter told me I was too late for my flight and directed me to the full service line. The agent scanned the boarding pass I had printed at home and the luggage tag came out of the printer. "I can still make it??" It was now 6:30. He looked confused. He didn't think so but having checked in online helped. There were no more flights to DC until tomorrow (WHAT?). He'd check if there were any flights from San Francisco, but I'd have to pay to get there. I was seeing my business trip dissolve before my eyes.
"Let me see if he can walk your bag to the plane." I didn't know what that meant, but it wasn't no, so I was hopeful. He came back, told me it was taken care of, gave me a priority security sticker, and off I ran (my version of running anyway).
I made it through security in under 10 minutes, got to the gate, and they were still boarding. I even had time to stop in the restroom (yes, mind over matter- I had held it all that time!). Have I mentioned how much I love Virgin America? I made sure to tweet them my thanks before the plane doors closed.
@virginamerica thx for getting me onto flight against all odds #108 lax-iad
— Gloria Miele, Ph.D. (@GloriaMiele) March 12, 2013
I boarded the crowded plane. To my delight, there was a spot in the overhead bin right above my seat that was exactly the size of my rolling brief case, AND the middle seat between me and the lady at the window was empty.
You see? Everything does turn out the way it's supposed to.
I settled in and took out a book: The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson. One passage after the next resonated: "The laws of time and space are more malleable than we think." LOL, you can say that again! "Mistakes and wrong turns need not throw us off. The capacity for correction is built into the universe." Woah. "Our problem is that we tend to have tremendous faith in the power of our disasters and far too little faith in the power of miracles."
You might say that making my flight was something of a miracle. Maybe getting to that stance of acceptance helped in more ways than I can explain.
But even with my faith in the universe, I can't ignore the fact that I could have done things differently. By not honoring time, I put myself in a stressful situation that could have resulted in inconvenience, lost wages, penalty fees and other unfortunate consequences. Right now I'm feeling gratitude for many people and things: the shuttle driver (he did get me there), the Virgin America staff, my personal resources to handle a stressful situation, Marianne Williamson's timely messages and those mysterious factors in the universe that worked in my favor.
All's well that ends well, right? Especially when there are lessons to learn. And speaking of lessons, I'm going to listen the Victory Circles Radio show I co-hosted last week to remind myself about some of the time honoring concepts we shared. Apparently I need a booster.
What experiences have you had when you didn't honor time and ended up feeling the consequences? Any tips for getting a handle on self-talk or other calming techniques during a stressful situation? Any other travel stories to share?
Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a business development and leadership coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California. She helps entrepreneurs and other business leaders develop the mind set and the skill set to achieve greater business success through coaching programs, workshops, staff training, executive coaching and keynote speeches. Visit her website at www.optimaldevelopmentcoaching.com and sign up to receive helpful business development resources, including a free Strengths-Based Goal-Setting Tool. We can also connect at www.facebook.com/optimaldevelopmentcoaching.