That’s When I Totally Lost My Cool

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This weekend tested every last nerve and ounce of patience within me.

After a lovely and successful speaking engagement in Raleigh followed by a bonus visit to see my brother’s family who happens to live in that area, I was ready for a quick flight home Sunday afternoon.


But that flight got delayed… then canceled. So I was rebooked onto an evening flight… which also got delayed… then canceled. Along with virtually every other flight along the eastern seaboard due to thunderstorms (or at least, warnings thereof.)


The only flight the next day with availability before noon was 6:18am. Ick. But beggars can’t be choosers, so I booked it.

To share just a few of the highlights (low-lights?) over the next 24 hours:


  • My bags were already checked through, along with my toiletries and power cords for my laptop and phone (D’oh!), and I couldn’t get them back that night.


  • I got to a middle-of-nowhere hotel around 8:30 pm. There was a restaurant, “but it’s not open today” (?!)


  • When my alarm went off in the morning I realized I had set it for 5:30 instead of 4:30, and missed my flight.


  • After waiting in an endless line, I made it back to Philly a few hours later… but my luggage was not so lucky.


  • I returned to the PHL airport again at 8pm to look for my suitcase, only to find that the suitcases from ALL flights from the day were haphazardly left stacked 15 deep lining every wall and corridor in every terminal. (Whatever you’re picturing now, trust me, it was worse.)


  • I spent the next 90 minutes searching section by section, terminal by terminal, through literally thousands of suitcases until – thank God – I found mine.


  • THEN…I got home and pulled into the garage only to find that the extra freezer we have out there had malfunctioned… and nearly everything in it had defrosted.



That’s when I definitely let some “colorful” words fly into the universe.

Needless to say, there were numerous other times I was ready to lay into someone, especially when people (unintentionally) gave me misinformation or omitted important details, which compounded various problems and wasted even more time.

But even so, I was aware of a few things that kept me from biting anyone’s (everyone’s?) head off:


  1. Everyone’s stress level was maxed out; none of this was their fault or under their control, and they were all doing their best under impossible circumstances


  2. Yelling at them was not going to endear me to them or yield anything beneficial


  3. I’m pretty sure they took a lot of fire from unhappy travelers all day, and I would not want to be in their shoes on days like that


  4. Finding ways to be kind to others actually made me feel better (and ensured I didn’t say or do anything my conscience would regret later).


Beyond going from negative to neutral, I also kept reminding myself to seek and focus on positive things throughout the ordeal, e.g.:


  • The airlines made the hard decision to keep us all safe


  • The hotel receptionist was as compassionate as can be, and offered complimentary toothpaste and a toothbrush with a few other related items since I had no luggage (though I’m not sure if that was for her benefit or mine at that point!)


  • The hotel had a super-comfortable bed


  • Even though I missed my morning flight (my fault) they didn’t charge me to rebook, and miraculously squeezed me in on the very next flight (subsequent opening wasn’t until after 6pm!)


  • My husband was able and happy to rearrange his morning and pick me up at the airport with no trouble


  • We lost a lot of food in the spare freezer because we are blessed with abundance and had a lot of food in the freezer.


This is the kind of thing Richard Blank, CEO of Costa Rica’s Call Center, referred to as “character under chaos” on this week’s episode of the Speaking to Influence podcast.



Richard shares that a big part of a leader’s job is demonstrating that “Character Under Chaos” when the going gets tough.


He also shared stories and examples of


  • Why it’s important to recognize when you are “More disappointed than angry”


  • Why he realized it was important to NOT make major decisions when he was feeling emotional because most likely he’d regret it


  • Rewarding loyalty 


  • The value of investing in prevention rather than cures


  • The biggest risk he took: moving to a new country and leading a different path from family traditions


  • How to recognize when someone does NOT belong (or want to be) in a leadership role


  • How and why he builds rapport with his employees.


Listen to the full conversation here or watch the video on YouTube here.


This week I also had the pleasure of being on Charles Alexander’s self-explanatory podcast, Do More By Doing Less – Productivity and Time Management for Entrepreneurs.



In this episode, I chat with Charles about the power of storytelling in establishing authority and connecting with your audience. We dive into:


  • the nuances of hypnotic storytelling,
  • the importance of using personal experiences,
  • how to command attention right from the start
  • using your voice and body language to enhance your storytelling,

    making your narratives more engaging and memorable.


Check it out!


And of course, to all of you here in the US or Americans abroad, this Thursday is July 4th, so happy Independence Day!



Special thanks to all the active military and veterans who sacrifice so much to keep us free and safe. It’s thanks to you that the rest of us get to do what we love – personally and/or professionally – every day.


PS: Don’t forget to register for next week’s “Elevator to the Top” free elevator pitch practice and coaching session. If you either hate answering the question “So, what do you do?” or otherwise know you need to tighten up your answer, you can’t afford to miss it! Click here for more info and to register.

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