Friday, June 5, 2009

It's Laugh, Think & Act. NOT Laugh, Act & Think!

Early morning last weekend, I was psyched to get on the road for a 5-hour drive to the beach. Everything was packed and all I had to do was load the car, as the restless wife, kids, and yes - mother-in-law - waited to pile in. So I opened the garage, popped up the SUV rear hatch and started loading. Suitcases. Boogie board. Food. Had it all. Running back and forth like a mad man, chucking stuff in. In the middle of loading, "Ugh," I exclaimed. Better pull out the car out of the garage so the mom-in-law can get in easily.


I forgot that the hatch was up, and the edge of it smacked into the lip of the garage door. Well, the car was fine but a roller on the door was knocked out of the rail. No biggie. Sit the mum-in-law back down, give the kids a toy and the wife a sedative. And I'll get the roller on the rail. So I roll it on the rail, only to discover that the other rail was knocked out of whack a drop. I tried my feeble best to fix it, but it was beyond my capabilities. Usually not a big deal -- just call the garage people and get it fixed, but we were out the door and hitting the road, so I needed to get the darn thing shut and deal with it upon our return.

I gingerly tweaked the rail with a screw driver. Plucked at it with some pliers. Nothing. Kids yelling, dog barking, I knew it was time to kick it into high gear. Wrenches flying. Bolts spinning. Still nothing. Metal pieces were getting stuck and wedged and getting worse. Time for the heavy artillery. I got the hammer and started wailing on the infringing metal. Five, ten minutes. Sweat pouring down. I was like a blacksmith with an anvil, smacking on a horseshoe for an impatient mare. Twenty minutes in, a huge crash brought that door down. Went inside and declared to all: "Piece of cake. Let's go!"

As we're pulling away, I start thinking. "Hmmmmmm, maybe I shouldn't have left my own car inside. What if we can't get the garage door fixed right away? I'll need to be shuttled everywhere in this kiddie mobile I'm driving. This really upset me, because I try to live by the motto of "Laugh, Think & Act through everyday situations." Instead, I went this route:

Laugh - I did find humor in my bonehead backup
Act - Mad man with a hammer
Think - It would be nice to have my own car next week

I tell this story because I like to point out my own shortcomings and hopefully find a lesson in it. It's easy to write down a catchy motto, but we need to remind ourselves to live by our messages each day. Just because it's in print, doesn't mean the messenger is so perfect. In fact, my book points out that "great words are far greater than the person who utter them, and the real hard work is putting those words into action." (page 125)

The good news -- I called the garage people from the beach, we got home yesterday, they fixed it today, and my car is out and FREE. Though the lesson wasn't. Cost me two bills for new material to incorporate into my next speaking engagement.

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