Yesterday I had a plan:
- Go for a run with the little one in the stroller
- Go for a bike ride with the little one
- Head to a play date, where we had plans to paint pet rocks and eat a picnic lunch
Then life got in the way.
Husband didn’t realize we were out on our bikes when he left for work, and so he did what all good homeowners do: Shut the garage door.
Problem: Ours has no keypad on the outside, and we have no hidden key around the house. Nor do our neighbors have a key. Hey, we’re new to this homeowner stuff, so cut us some slack! (Okay, lesson learned – heading to the store today to make a spare key!)
When we returned, sweaty and hot and hungry, we found our house to be shut up so tightly not even a butter knife could penetrate the locks. I know. I tried.
We wandered the neighborhood until we found someone home, who graciously let us use her phone. (Small town – we used my daughter’s kindergarten teacher’s mom phone!)
Husband couldn’t return home for a few hours as he was teaching a class, and so we proceeded to take a walk, check out the crabs, watch the lizards, play Tinkerbell, blow bubbles, and meet the neighbors.
My four-hour adventure taught me some invaluable business lessons – or if not taught me, at least reminded me. So today, I’ll share them with you. You will get to benefit from my mistake without having to be locked out of your own house!
- Be prepared for anything. In business, and in life, we often get bogged down in the day to day and forget the larger picture. Being prepared for whatever may happen is key. In business, this means looking at all options – for growth, for potential pitfalls, for networking, for meeting others that do the same work as you – and learning from these. If we close our eyes, all too often great opportunities pass us by.
- You can always network. During yesterday’s walk I got a potential job, and discussed another potential job with a friend. Had I not been in this capacity – locked out of my house and casual – I probably would not have even mentioned my work! Instead, I would have talked about my daughters, the day, the weather, but being left unguarded I was able to say, “This is what I do – when I can get in the house.” We have to remember it doesn’t take a crises to open our mouths and talk about what we do, and gain potential clients in the process.
- Time goes quickly. Yes, four hours is a long time without food, at least for me and the little one, but we got a lot done in that four hours. When I’m working, I sometimes forget that I can get a lot done in just a few hours if I sit down and focus. It’s important to plan the day correctly, especially as a business owner who also has children. Our time is cut up into chunks – we have to be here, there, and everywhere – so it is important to sit down and work when we can – and to take advantage of all the hours we have.
- Be prepared, but be flexible. Not getting to do what we wanted yesterday was a hindrance, but it reminded me that good things can come out of sudden happenings. We had a good time despite the conditions. We saw new things – a baby lizard, or snake, we aren’t sure which, and many crabs wandering our yards – that we would not have seen had we followed through on our original plans. So, while it was a terrible thing to get locked out and miss our scheduled fun, it turned into a great day of bonding with my daughter. By the end, hungry and tired and hot, we were laughing about our misfortune and talking about what we did get done.
- Get out there and connect. I don’t mean network to find new jobs, I mean connect with others, whether they are employees, employers, clients, customers, or friends. It’s important as business owners that we take the time to connect with other people. Many times our jobs are spent inside and alone, going over spreadsheets or figuring out issues or trying to gain new ways to find clients. We have to remember that connecting with other people is vital for business owners. Even if we are not looking for a new client, we need to make connections to remember why it is we do what we do.
- Ask for help. And if the first person you ask can’t help, ask someone else. I wandered door to door before finding someone at home with a phone. If you are faltering in business, or you are overwhelmed between kids and job, get help. Most people want to help, they just have to know you need the help. Ask!
- Be appreciative of the small things. Finally, remember that life is a gift, and each day a present. Open it carefully and enjoy it fully. You can turn a bad day worse by being upset or better by enjoying the surprise happenings. You get more done being happy, and it sure makes the time go by more pleasantly.
Now, if you don’t have a spare key, get one made – but if you ever do find yourself locked out, try to enjoy what the hours bring.