I arrived in London last Sunday to find the London Marathon taking place—what a treat and how appropriate! London was my first stop on a three-country, six workshop, seven day tour around the world—my own personal marathon!
Like the marathon, I anticipated my first few miles (or in this case, workshops) would be the easiest. The jet lag would be minimal compared to what I would experience upon arrival in my Asian destinations later in the week. I would be speaking a common language with my participants. I was in a city I had been to before.
In short – I was in my comfort zone. And I did what we all do when in the comfort zone—I lost my edge, I got caught off guard.
It started with a missing power cord. How hard is it to find an Apple power cord in London? Pretty hard. Especially when you are simultaneously teaching a workshop (and watching the battery life on your lap top slowly wind down to 0%).
It continued with a morning jog—intended to be 30 minutes, but that turned into 90 minutes. Why? Because I didn’t bother to consult a map—I knew where I was going. After all, this is London, how hard can it be? Three polite Londoners and four maps later, I realized just how hard it could be.
The sessions went just fine, and I was right to make assumptions about language and even alignment with the content—our English colleagues view the matrix much the same way as we do. My biggest disconnect was referring to traffic circles instead of roundabouts (in my latest matrix organization analogy) and repeatedly forgetting the “u” in words such as endeavor.
But I was taken aback at what I had done. Because I was so focused on the sessions later in the week (more on that tomorrow) I overlooked my early miles. I was like the team that was so focused on the next team they will play, they lose to the team they are actually playing.
Looking ahead is great—often needed. But don’t overlook what is right in front of you. Today, the immediate, probably needs and deserves a little attention too.