It wasn’t my plan to visit their establishment twice, but when you leave your credit card behind nestled quietly in the vinyl guest check holder, you really don’t have any other option but to return. It meant a morning’s panic, a call to Capital One, an extra cab ride ($30 round trip) and a missed session, but I did finally manage to retrieve it.
What has any of this to do with the conference? The Wednesday keynote featured Michael J. Fox, an inordinately talented and brave man who keeps making lemonade regardless of how many lemons life pelts him with. In front of a packed audience of 14,000 he spoke calmly and eloquently about “playing the result,” what he calls it when you plan for an outcome and behave in a way that makes that outcome likely. He tells us that we shouldn‘t play the result but instead believe in the possibilities. “Don’t impose your story or script on others,” he reminds us. “Celebrate the possibility in people.”
Looking back on my experience with the (temporarily) lost credit card, I realized that in my anxious state of mind I had automatically done everything that Fox warned us against. I assumed that Capital One would be no help at all. I also assumed that the card was gone and that I would find hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars charged to my account. I then assumed that, even if it hadn’t been used, the restaurant surely wouldn’t be able to find it–if they even cared to look. Finally I assumed that my cab driver would be surly and would balk at waiting the few minutes it took me to run into the Hard Rock and check.
I was wrong on all counts: customer service at Capital One was excellent, the people at the Hard Rock had my card and were keeping it safe, and my cab driver gladly waited for me while I ran in to get it. (As a bonus he told me a great story about where old Las Vegas signs go to die. Really fascinating.)
I think we often let circumstances get the better of us and, when they do, we slip into bad habits. As this conference ends and I head for home I’m going to keep Fox’s words in mind. How often do we “play the result” impose our script on others?