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It’s not the challenge, it’s how we handle them.

Sometimes it’s not the challenges that are thrown at you, but how you handle those challenges that make all the difference. Today started like any other day. I woke up early to get a workout in on my Peloton bike. I made some breakfast, coffee, and a quick check on a few emails to get ready for the day.

Today was a reasonably straightforward day. A conference call to help an organization achieve a desired outcome. A one hour drive to NJ for a quick presentation and meet/greet. Then off to JFK airport for an 8pm flight to Chicago. Overall, reasonably straightforward with plenty of time between each task, what could go wrong.

The conference call started well but then hit a few bumps as a few issues were uncovered. The clock was ticking, so I switched to the mobile and continued the call from the car. Traffic to my destination in NJ typically takes no more than an hour or so; unfortunately, it took 3-hours. It seems that everyone in NY, NJ, and maybe every other state decided to get on the road.

Luckily I somehow finished the conference call and pulled into the parking lot with one minute to spare. I ran into the building, was quickly escorted to the meeting room, pulled out the laptop, connected to the projectors, and wham presentation went off without a hitch!!!

With the conference call and presentation done, my last task for the day was off to the airport, or so I thought. I entered the airport address into the GPN unit to determine the best route. What should have been less than an hour was now reporting 3-hours in GPS. At that rate, it would get me in just as the flight leaves. Now the pressure is on, so I just stayed focused and drove in the pouring rain through the traffic-filled roads to the airport.

As I was about 30-minutes into the drive, I suddenly hear my mobile ring. It’s Delta informing me that my flight is delayed and will be delayed by one hour. Ok, I breathe a sigh of relief as that gives me some cushion and time to eat!! It is the first time I think I have ever been glad to have a flight delay.

At this point, I just relax and cruise at a snail’s pace on the highway. Progress was good, and it looked like I was going to be at the airport by 7:30pm, plenty of time now that my flight is delayed until 9pm.

But who doesn’t love a good plot twist!! So as I am about 5 miles away from the airport, Delta reaches out to inform me that my 7:59pm flight that was delayed until 9:00pm is now back on schedule and departing at 7:59. Let’s just say the panic monster has returned! The one time I want a flight delay is the only day I’m not getting a flight delay.

I pull into the airport parking lot, grab my things, and look at the clock. The clock says 7:27. I’m like ok, I have TSA pre-check, I got this!!! One catch, Delta Terminal 2 pre-check closes at 7. Crap!!!!!! I get into the line, take my laptop out of my bag, put it in the tray, and send my things through the scanner.

Unfortunately, there is no passing go and collecting 200; oh no, you see I forgot that the non-TSA pre-check line requires that you take all laptops out of your bag, I forgot to take out my second laptop!

Time is ticking, and there is a lady ahead of me that has packed 23 bottles of beauty products in her very large suitcase!! The TSA person spends what felt like forever finding all the oversized containers, and now it’s on to me. We remove the second laptop and send it through the machine again.

Alright, all clear!!! Grab my stuff, put it all back in my bag, and run like hell!!! To my surprise, after all that chaos and adventure, I made it!!! On the plane and sitting in my seat, 9B!!!

You thought this was over, didn’t you? Yea, so did I until a nice lady comes over and informs me that I am in her seat. “Uh no, my ticket says 9B, oh hmmm, so does yours.” Was I too late, did they assigned my seat to someone else, and now I’m going to have to get off? Nope, apparently, I was upgraded to first class.

So the moral of the story is always remain calm, always be nice to people no matter how stressful the situation. And remember shit happens, just pivot, it makes for a great story!! I could have at any point stressed over the situation, freaked out, or yelled at people. Instead I just remained focused on trying to get the tasks I had set out to do, done! It was tight, but remaining calm was what helped me succeed through this rather tough and challenging day.

By the way, I write this as I am now sitting on the runway delayed because well, it’s raining out and they need to reconfigure the runways to better handle the crosswind. That one-hour delay that they changed back to on-time is now a two-hour delay sitting on the runway.