Yesterday I woke up feeling tired and a little anxious. A great deal is happening at the moment so I'm conscious of my time management affecting everything I do.
Pushing things forward for the agency and the business academy, although really exciting, is not just pressure but a reality I have to manage every day.
I woke up not wanting to go to yoga (been quite religious with it lately as it helps focus my mind - yoga is saving my sanity!) I had loads to do before I left to see Sinead and work on the content for the Academy, so I cancelled yoga. Now a mixture of guilt and pleasure as I realise I can get on with loads of emails instead.
It was raining. Rain, rain, rain. One of those days when you want to stay in bed, watch, TV and drink hot chocolate. But no, that's not going to happen Valerie, so snap out of it and get ready!
Out I go, take my car and drive. My mind full of thoughts. I should have gone to yoga, I must do this, have to do that, who needs what, priorities for today, this weekend, next week. My mind on overdrive.
Traffic light, Hammersmith, thoughts keep rattling in my head. No make up as I have the bright idea of taking a mask to Sinead for a girly day of work, dressed for staying in (don’t even want to mention that!). Then I see it - smoke! Smoke so heavy it comes into my car and stops my rattling mind; “Oh the guy in front of me has a smoky car!”
Oh no! It's not his, it’s mine! No! OMG! OMG! OMG! what do I do? I'm going to burn alive (dramatic, must come from my French roots!). I manage to take the car to a side road, even park it and stop the engine.
All I keep thinking is WHY???? Not today of all days! I have sooooooooo much to do! Stupid car, what next!?!
And it rains and it rains and it rains……
I call the insurance who call the road assistance, going to be an hour, you have time to go for a coffee she tells me nicely. I need to purchase a parking ticket. Last thing I need is to get a fine. Of course the machine only accepts coins, not one of these new ones where you can phone or use your card…typical….got no change. Take the risk of going to a cash point, buy some bits from the corner shop, get change, go back to the machine really not dressed for this weather - getting soaked!
Go back to the machine, money ready. But suddenly half of it falls from my hand and to my horror, £3 of it goes down the only drain in the vicinity! (told you, French dramatic!).
Not my day I keep thinking, come on Valerie! I have £1 left, put it in the machine. It leaves me enough time to have a coffee - this is the only way forward. Not my day, not my day I keep thinking.
Costa coffee, warm, plug to charge my phone. Phone Sinead. We chat and chat, got so much to do. Frustration and guilt from the morning of non yoga, it’s not my day, i don't have time. I seriously don’t need this. Sinead reassures me as only Sinead knows how.
I go back to my car, time has passed and the ticket will run out. The heavens open and heavy rain pours down. Really should have worn something else!
The promise of having a rescue man within the hour has not been delivered. I phone the insurance company, their wording is carefully rehearsed: “We aim to send you someone within the hour.” “We aim”! Frustration mounts. I could still get to Sinead if only they would hurry. We could still do loads of work, must do loads of work, have to!
I am in the car, soaked, annoyed and playing a game on my phone in an attempt to calm myself down.
An hour and a half later along comes this lovely man. He looks into everything, has a gentle go at me for not looking at my oil levels and brake fluid - that is another matter! He then finds the water tank has a leak - I cannot drive the car! This is getting serious - I cannot believe this! I am now incandescent. Today day is not going to plan!
I have to wait another hour for a recovery van. Need more change for the parking meter. Much more careful this time - one learns quickly when it comes to money and drains!
Then go back to Costa. Food, drink, phone charging. The recovery man comes along quickly, don’t even have time to eat my sandwich. Never mind, I will eat in his van.
Rain, rain, rain.
We are in the van, I finish my food. He is lovely, talking about life, his wife, five children. My mind is still going round in circles - should have, could have, must have. Thinking of all the things I now need to do. Adding the car to my to do list!
Suddenly, out of nowhere, his van breaks down! No! seriously?! Yep, this is for real - his van breaks down!
So here we are waiting for a recovery van for my recovery van man who is in the process of recovering my car!!!!
We burst into fits of laughter! Cannot stop laughing. Now it's the other drivers who are getting hot under the collar. We are on double red lines, right next to a traffic light - not ideal.
Then he says: “I promise you, this has not happened in all my days of rescuing people.”
I mean, I believe you but WHY MEEEEEEEEE????? WHY NOWWWWWWWW???? I am so BUSYYYYYYYYY!!!!
As I sat in his van waiting for the other recovery van, I manage to let the day go, see the funny side and realise that today was not meant to be the way I had planned it.
Since I am now not far from home, he suggests I go home and he will call me when the recovery van comes. He said it should be within about 40 minutes. Great! Forget about letting the day go, I can get on with my work!
I go home and work, work, work. I have so much to catch up on after such an awful day.
An hour and a half later fear strikes me. I mean seriously, I have left a complete stranger with my car, my keys and my possessions in the boot. Ok it would be an elaborate way to take someone’s car but seriously Valerie, you don’t even have his number!
How do I explain that to people? Someone stole my car - I gave him my keys! I am so gullible. It is not my day, and it’s not just raining, it's pouring!
I walk back to where I left him waiting for his recovery van - stressed! What if he's left with my car and my belongings! (more French drama!). The 5 minute walk feels like an hour. I didn’t even take a coat I was in such a hurry to see if he was still there. I'm getting soaked again. But by now, I don’t care, I just want to see if I still have a car!
To my relief I see him waiting in his van, my car behind, I can breathe! I step in his van, tell him what's been going through my mind and we laugh again. Apparently the guy that is rescuing him is new and doesn't know what he is doing! Of course, because that's the way today is going, right?!
Then he said, “Sometimes, it’s not about luck, you just can’t control certain things, you need to let them go as it will happen anyway.”
What a great reminder, I have read this on numerous occasions. I teach time management and tell people how sometimes life can take an unexpected turn and all of a sudden your priorities change. it’s how you deal with it that matters. Why couldn’t I see this today?
Life takes over, you forget your beliefs and worry about things that are out of your control. But it's important to know that if you've built the foundations, you can go back to them when everything goes crazy around you.
Today is a new day. Yesterday's crazy car shenanigans has inspired me to start something new on my blog and schedule days off in my diary. Learning from the bad days in order to improve on future ones is the only way forward, and we all have the power to do that.
We carried on laughing and talking. I let the day go, got home, stayed in bed and drank hot chocolate. Maybe I simply needed a day off!
Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co agency and Business Academy
Consulting agency and Business Academy specializing in the Hair and Beauty industry