We were heading out for a big pitch presentation, google maps said 1.24 hours to our destination. Filled with pre-pitch adrenaline, we set off in high spirits. Hardly 10 minutes into our journey, the map turned into a snake of red. Estimated arrival time, 3.00 pm. We got there just in the nick of time, raced through the security check and went running into the building. Behind us was a set of friendly faces from another consultancy and as we rushed into the reception we saw even more familiar faces.
A glance at the watch tells me it’s now nearing 4.00 pm. By this time, the reception is starting to feel like a mini PRAXIS. There are teams from 6 consultancies milling around. Information is exchanged and we figure out that the meetings are running very, very late.
We decide to go in search of tea. A strong wind is picking up outside and dark clouds are gathering. Fortified with Samosas and Chai we return to the holding area and still no word on when our turn will come. Some smart young soul had got a handle of each firm’s time slot, and it looks like our turn is still an hour away.
After three hours of waiting we are summoned to the first floor. We can see light at the end of the tunnel, our wait is finally over. And then the unthinkable happens, we see another team troop up the stairs and head into the conference room. The order of the universe has been rudely upset. All hell breaks loose. Tempers that had been simmering erupt. The unfairness of it all is bubbling forth and after a quick huddle, we stomp off towards the conference room demanding answers.
The team ahead of us, it appears, had made a plea to jump the queue since they had flown in from another city and had a flight to catch back. We ranted and raved for a bit about how the meeting coordinator should have had the courtesy to at least check with us. Egos bruised but pacified we retired to our waiting area, with the assurance that our turn would come in ten minutes.
Twenty minutes later we decided to stage a walk out. Sent a message saying we were leaving and headed out into the thunderstorm in a thunderous mood. We had reached the out gate when frantic calls summoned us back saying our turn had come. We looked at the pouring rain outside and decided to brave the meeting room instead of the thunderstorm. Forty minutes later we walked out with smiles on our faces. We had an animated conversation, no slides, just talking about our ideas and how we could help.
How do I remember the experience of this day of my life?
An afternoon of irritation and rage
An example of how my time was not respected
An exercise in managing tempers
A reminder of how unimportant firms are sometimes
A lovely roadside chai
Meeting old friends
A bonding with the team
A conversation that energised a prospective client
How I chose to respond (not react) to this situation was absolutely in my control. How I choose to remember this day of my life is also my prerogative.
As we head into a difficult week of social isolation and uncertainty, here is my pitch to you. Time is precious, don’t waste it being grumpy or angry. Catch yourself going down the negative path. Choose positivity. Choose to find and nourish the good in every situation. What you focus on becomes your reality. I choose to be happy. I choose to enjoy every day and make the most of it. I choose my mental health and wellness. A pitch in time can really save nine. Stay happy. Stay healthy.
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