Yesterday I made a pretty stupid mistake that is embarrassing to admit, but in the spirit of openness and sharing (and good timing because I have a blog to write) I thought I would share the learning and the love! I had been Tiggy training with my gun dog trainer Geoff in the middle of nowhere and after a reasonable lesson and having put the world to rights, I jumped into Lana (my Landcruiser) to set off home. Unfortunately when I turned the key…no joy, nothing, nada! So being the seasoned traveller – out with the jump leads and using Geoff’s truck, we tried to jump start her. Same result! Oh dear I thought – well something like that!! So nothing for it but to call the AA. Forty five minutes later (it could have been much worse) the cheerful and bright yellow presence of Tony pulled into the field. We explained the situation and shared our mechanical trials and tribulations, he muttered and tutted and prodded and poked and measured ‘engine output’ only to confirm – “that will be a new starter motor mate!” Having had a new alternator before Christmas after a similar experience with the AA I was grimacing inside and thinking how I would justify that “of course she isn’t a money pit” to my family. Just as I had resigned myself to my fate he jumped behind the wheel to check the mileage and then realised something rather stupid and incredibly simple. I had left the automatic box out of Park which induces a cut off switch… he pushed the lever and the engine started with no bother! I think Homer Simpson said it best…. DOH!!!! ☹
Well to be fair the AA man was very good about it, he had fixed the problem – although I would hate to have heard the conversation when he relayed back to control – ‘fixed the problem but left the root cause behind the steering wheel’! Geoff is probably still laughing.
The thing is, my Volvo is also an automatic. I know that it must be in Park before you can start it, if that had happened it is the first thing I would have checked – so why the outbreak of extreme stupidity and what can I learn from it?
Don’t leap to conclusions – because something similar had happened on Boxing Day, resulting in a new alternator, and because Lana is an old vehicle, a project and under slow redevelopment, I automatically assumed the worst! Instead of checking the obvious I jumped to the conclusion that it was something serious and was unable to see past that.
Start at the beginning – like everything in life there is a process to go through when resolving an issue or a problem. Because I leaped to conclusions I didn’t follow the process, the simple steps that make sense. I see this manifested in all sorts of areas of my working life, people not being clear about outcomes before calling a meeting or people escalating an issue before they have really understood the impact.
Stay in the moment – the learnings above stem from not being able to stay in the moment, easier said than done I appreciate. I had certainly spiralled almost instantly to imagining the costs and hassle of a new starter motor. The ability to be present in all that we do will eliminate the voice inside our heads, help us resist the temptation to shortcut and enable our conscious minds to work something through with greater clarity!
So the next time a work colleague says that the project is going to be delayed by a month, your partner says the oven is broken and won’t light, or your daughter says her computer doesn’t work – just stop for a second and reflect, I am sure that I am not the only one to have made a mountain out of a mole hill.😊
A very wise man once said – “it is better to let people think you are stupid than to open your mouth and prove you’re stupid!” Or write a blog 😊 but I hope that the lessons resonate.