Control What You Can Control

There are always going to be unexpected situations and events that have the potential to throw you off course. Are you going to let them?

I need to write about timeliness. Hopefully this will be the kick in the butt you need to finally be on time to things. I mean seriously. It’s just rude to be late. I can’t believe that… Apologies.

I’m talking about myself; I’m not talking about you.

I’ll do my best to include a message within this piece… if you don’t see it, just keep scrolling.

I’ve just been on a bad streak and I’ve had some trouble breaking it and getting back on track where I need to be and where I want to be.

I’ve been arriving for work past 9:15 when I really want to be getting there closer to 8:30, I showed up at 7:20 to our 7:00 men’s group, and I arrived at the airport at 3:25 for a 4:05 flight… like I said… I’ve just been on a bad streak.

I can’t particularly attribute it all to poor planning because my intentions are good, and my initial planning is on point. However, something gets lost along the way.

This past Thursday it was about 5:30 and I was like alright great I’m going to finish up a few things and be on my way around 6 to get my friend and show up a little early for the men’s group. The next thing I realized, it was 6:30 and I was still in the office. Whoops!!

I quickly amended that, got on the road, and drove faster than I’ll put into writing. I’m thankful for grace, I’ll say that.

So, anyways, I never want to be late. But… I’m notorious for pushing the envelope… and sometimes it bursts. Whoops!!

I’ll use the flight as the most recent and the best example.

I was at the office today, the 9th, until maybe 2:00. I was leaving and saying my goodbyes and a few coworkers were like, “don’t you have a flight to catch?” “Well, yes, but it leaves at 4:00 so I’ve got plenty of time.”

By the time I ran home, finished packing up, and headed towards the airport, it was 2:40 and I wasn’t even on the highway yet. Waze was telling me that the parking lot I always park at (so I can get shuttled to and from the airport) was 45 mins away and I wouldn’t be there until 3:25. Well… no way that would work. No. Way.

My heart started racing. Maybe I pushed it too far this time, maybe I called it too close. Maybe just maybe I was wrong this time and I couldn’t do it. Maybe I couldn’t execute.

So, I checked the time to FLL airport directly. Maybe I’d just have to eat the amount I spent on parking for 3 days ($34.72 for a flight that cost me $80 + $20 for a bit of extra legroom). Not terrible but now I was preparing to spend another $15/day = $45 because of my negligence. Not happy about it.

Well, I could make it to the airport by 3:20, that’s better than 3:15 + I could maybe get closer to the terminal… but I was hesitant. So, I called the parking spot and confirmed the drive time to terminal 4. I thought it would be 8 minutes, the guy told me 6–7, and it was actually 6 minutes. Perfect. So I reverted back to the original plan and when the navigation told me I should arrive at 3:25, I arrived at 3:15. That was the very upper limit of what I was planning on. Ideally, I could’ve made the drive in 35 minutes like the maps initially said and I would’ve arrived by 3:00.

The shuttle drove me quick to the airport and he let me jump out as near to the door as he possibly could. Perfect. I made my way to the security checkpoint and asked the girl there to radio ahead that I was going to be there in a little bit. She did me one better and let me go through the priority lane. How lovely of her to do that. I was through security in 5 minutes.

I had time to go to the restroom, fill my water, and make my way to the gate. Perfect.

So, I left the house at 2:35, drove a 45 min. drive in 40 minutes.

Then, the shuttle drove me by myself in 6 minutes to the airport.

I made it through security in 5 minutes.

Then, I got to the gate in 8 minutes and got right onto the plane.

All in, I was point to point in 60 minutes. That’s impossible, right? Can’t be — it just happened.

And then… I wrote most of this while we sat on the runway for 30 minutes waiting for some lightning to get out of the way so we could get in the air.

I said there was going to be a message in here… let me find one. Ok, I’ve got two now.

There is a message here, I promise.

Message part 1: Plan the plan and then execute the plan

It’s important to understand how long things take. I knew that the drive to the parking by FLL usually takes me about 25–30 mins. If there’s a lot of rain, then maybe it could take an hour. Maybe. But, with what I knew, that wouldn’t be the anticipation if I was on the way there before 3pm EST.

With those baselines, they can form the foundation for our decisions.

You probably know, for example, how long it takes to cook your favorite dinner. That means, if you have only 20 minutes, you’d know, intuitively, if it’s something that you could cook in time.

The trouble comes when there are corresponding plans. I had a flight. I can’t move the flight. I had to adjust everything else to fit into the overarching plan of the flight.

Trouble also arises when there are minimal, or no contingencies. Perhaps you have only food in the house to make your favorite dinner. But, if it takes 40 minutes and you now only have 20 minutes, what are you going to do? You must bend somewhere… somehow.

That’s the most difficult part with being timely. Accounting for the various rigid aspects of your planned plan.

If you are living in a remote area and have one vehicle — when you come outside to a dead battery, you’re stuck! Unless… your contingency plan includes a backup charger that could charge your battery enough to start the car.

Are you getting me now? I had other options too!! No one told me to stay at work until 2:00. I did that!

No one told you to skip buying groceries for other foods. You did that! Why have only that one meal in the house? It’s your choice, no one else’s.

There are always going to be unexpected situations and events that have the potential to throw you off course. Are you going to let them?

Plan the plan. Execute the plan. Find a way to get it done. Finish what you committed to. There are always other options and there are always multiple ways to get the same result.

“Everything is negotiable.” — Jenny Sechler

Message part 2: Plan to Adapt

As I said, nothing ever goes 100% according to plan. (Not even for the most structured people like myself). So, don’t expect it to.

You need to be able to think on your feet; literally.

“When it rains, it pours.”

I don’t know if that’s always true, but I do know this, when it’s raining, it’s raining!

So, if it might rain, have your umbrella ready. When we make a plan, God might have other plans!

“I laughed with God as I struggled impatiently to write about patience.” — Paul Zabroske

Closing Thoughts

Not many things every happen exactly as we’d like for them to, but we can do our best. We can do our best to adapt, work hard, and keep moving forward.

It’s most important that we control what we control what we can control.

Ultimately, that’s all we can control.
“You don’t have to love the hard work. You just have to crave the end result so intensely that the work becomes irrelevant.” — Tim Grover
“Your success is determined by your mindset, your will and your work ethic — not someone else.” — Amanda Rose

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