In early September, my little sister got married.
(I know the first question that comes to mind is likely “Do you like her husband?” and yes, yes, I do, very much! But, that’s not the point.)
It was a wedding many years in the making, delayed by the pandemic. We had been planning for months.
I flew out to my parents’ house (doubling as the wedding venue) about a week before the wedding to help with preparations.
We had a massive spreadsheet with dozens of tasks, all doled out thoughtfully to the best person on the “team” to handle them.
I was working that week, but had planned a minimal week; mainly client sessions.
Then, a couple of days before the wedding, I woke up, got dressed, and brushed my teeth in advance of my 9am client session, only to realize the internet was out.
I woke up my dad (because once he retired, he reverted to the sleeping schedule of a teenager!) to try to get some help getting the internet back online and we quickly discovered that not only was the internet out, so was the power.
Personally, I had a full day of client sessions ahead of me. And tethering to my phone wasn’t going to cut it.
And my sister and mom had a full day of wedding prep to do; wedding prep that was going to be difficult without power.
So, what did we do?
Well, I’ll tell you what we didn’t do first. We didn’t panic.
And why were we able to pivot? Because we had a plan.
You want details, right? You got ‘em.
We started brainstorming options. My first thought was to find a Starbucks and park myself there all day.
But my dad had a better idea.
He called a neighbor who he knew was on different power grid and found out they did, in fact, have power. He asked if I could take my calls from their dining room.
In short order, I headed over to that neighbor’s house, walking through a gate my dad had built in the fence between their 2 houses (cute, right?!), thanked them profusely and started my day.
(Fun fact, I had to do a Facebook Live that day and didn’t know how to, or even think to, blur the background using Facebook’s tools. So I ended up doing a live Q&A for my Time Well Spent program from a room whose walls were covered in giant “My Little Ponies”!)
Was it ideal? Nope. Did I get everything done that day that I needed to? Yep.
Now, how about my sister and her wedding preparation plans?
Well, she had to pivot as well.
She took a look at our massive spreadsheet, with all tasks scheduled out by day, and located all tasks that could be done without power or internet.
She reprioritized the plan such that the things that we could do that day, given our shifting resources, could be done.
- They went shopping.
- They moved around outdoor furniture.
- They gathered flowers from the garden for the flower arrangements.
Around 4pm, right after my last meeting of the day, my dad called to let me know the power and internet were back.
I walked back to my parents house and checked in with the rest of the family.
I learned about how they had also brilliantly pivoted so that their day was productive, even though it was very different than what had been previously planned.
And you know what? They had a beautiful wedding. We got everything on the plan done. Even if we did it in the “wrong” order. And we didn’t even have to scramble at the end!
The best laid plans are
sometimes often no match for life.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no point in planning.
If there’s no plan, we just start thrashing and hoping for the best.
In fact, having the plan in the first place is what allows for a successful pivot.