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When You Forget Your Pants

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Dave Wilber

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I can sit here and say that it isn't my fault. It is. But for the sake of my own argument, let me suss it out.

I didn't want to get pet hair all over my nice clean pants. So I hung them in a different spot so they would be ready to pack. It made sense to me at the time. But after a few decades of packing and being on the road, you develop habits. And hanging those pants where I did was out of my usual checklist. I should have known.

So I went on to think about the outfits I wanted to pack and the electronics and the gadgets and supplements and all the rest. Proud of myself, my bag perfectly packed. My gear in hand I left home with my only worry, my presentation that would likely have me up most of the night finishing. It's my habit. Build talks, tear them apart, make them better. Rinse. Repeat. This one a little different, as the subject area wasn't my usual.

So after a few hours sleep, it dawns of the day of. And as I am getting ready to dress myself in my amazing, perfectly sized clothes to fit my ever shrinking body, something isn't right.

No pants. And now in my mind's eye I can see them hanging where I had hung them and that means that they are not where I am. They didn't walk themselves into my bag with all the other perfectly folded clothes. And I am at the conference hotel. MC of the event starting in an hour. And perhaps the most important presentation of my professional career after lunch. 

...now in my mind's eye I can see them hanging where I had hung them and that means that they are not where I am.

Some years ago, I packed two left shoes. And many times, the right dongle or adapter didn't make it into my briefcase. But this. Wow. This means I have to wear the jeans I was wearing the day before. Jeans. A bit of a no no in our world. I did have my coat. And Tie. And Sweater. And well tailored shirt. So I wasn't as if I was going to look like a bus stop troll.  Still. It's not perfect.

Later that day, I was able to have said pants sent to me. So they would be there tomorrow. But today was today and well. Jeans. What really had me spinning here was that I didn't follow some of my own often given advice. I didn't follow my checklist to avoid complacent behavior. And I didn't give myself options. 

The checklist. Used daily by thousands of pilots around the world. A checklist is a means to keep you from thinking you know it all and have it all covered. From the low time pilot to the high time one, it gets used. And for good measure.

wilber_presenting.jpgThe option. By wearing jeans, I left myself one option. So lets say that this gig required a long flight. I often wear shorts on long flights, because I get hot. And when I do that, I pack a pair of dress slacks in my carry on. Just in case I get cold or my bag gets lost. I drove to this gig. And instead of following a well made rule, I skipped the step. And paid for it.

Lemons to Lemonade, I made jokes about it as I MC'd the event. And I even made it an illustration for my presentation. It worked. I saw pics later and while it wasn't my first choice for how to look, it didn't look all that bad. I also have a more relaxed Turfhead culture to thank. And also my grey hair and rebel self means I can get away with stuff I couldn't a decade ago. Privilege, I guess. 

I was fortunate enough to speak to the Rocky Mountain GCSA about Mental Health and Stress. And to be able to tell my story in my effort to bring awareness to an important topic. I had amazing conversations with new friends and old friends from around the region. And I even got to hang with some golf association royalty. Pretty cool.

Is there a lesson? Lemons to Lemonade? I don't know about that overused thought. But I surely did make the best of an unplanned and unforced error. E for Wilber. W for Wilber. I'll take that.

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