Ben and I had a meeting this morning at 11am with our good friend, Derek, who is a wealth management consultant over at Merrill Lynch. Actually, I’m such a finance space shot that I don’t even know if he “works for ML” or if he’s just in their building and owns his own practice or if that’s even what you call running your own wealth management business…or, honestly, if that’s even what you call what he does.
That, actually, doesn’t have much to do with my point, so I’ll move on.
So, last night we’re talking about how we have this meeting with Derek and how it’s pretty important because he’s got some of his people involved in this meeting and it’s over in his Wellesley office and everything. Basically, it’s not like we’re just going to meet up at the gym after training and casually talk about our finances.
Derek’s actually putting a lot into this meeting and I’ve gotta’ put my big girl panties on for an hour or two and act like a responsible, mature human being. Which is actually the polar opposite of what I would normally be doing at 11am on a Wednesday. Or, any other day of the year, for that matter.
I start off my morning KILLING IT. I write up my chalkboard with all of my to-do’s, my errands, and my schedule for the day…which I take directly from my Google Calendar on my phone:
8am-2pm Kids at The Tobin School
8:30am-10:30am Train at CFNE
11am-12:30pm Meeting with Derek
3:30pm Maya: Game @ Groton
6pm PPM Photo Shoot at home during dinner
Busy, but nothing crazy or abnormal for us. And, it’s all laid out there so I know what’s up for the day.
Like I said, KILLING IT.
But, sure enough, I get to Tobin and after casually dropping both kids in their respective classrooms, I’m about to head out to my car and get to CFNE early for Ben’s class when WHAMMO, I run into Harley Love’s teacher who says,
“Oh, hey! We have our parent-teacher conference right now, right?”
“YES, OF COURSE! Let’s do it!”
I, of course, just then remembered being at Curriculum Night signing up for this meeting when my calendar wouldn’t load and I couldn’t put the event in like I normally would. I thought I would remember to put it in later, but why in the WORLD would I think my brain had the capacity to be that responsible?
So, no big deal. I’m just 20 minutes late to Ben’s class when I thought I was going to be 20 minutes early. Honestly, not a huge deal…especially when I actually love parent-teacher conferences because I get to hear and talk about my kid for a straight 20 minutes which I find hysterical and fascinating all at the same time. But, just not “ideal planning” on my part.
Fine, moving on.
When I pull into the CFNE parking lot, I quickly check my email to make sure I’m not missing anything critically important…like a parent-teacher conference.
Of course, I have an email there that was just sent to me from Bode’s teacher:
I noticed Bode has his lunch today, but it is an Early Release day. We dismiss at noon without lunch.
RIIIIGHT. Of course, I knew that.
Again, 364 other days of the year, this would be a non-issue. Except that today I have that super-important meeting with Ben and Derek just an hour before the kids now need to get picked up…20 minutes from Derek’s office on the other side of Wellesley.
Now, if you know Ben and Derek at all, you know that they are the most on-time, responsible, prepared people in the world when it comes to work-related stuff. Me telling them that I’ve royally screwed up and forgotten about early pick-up and now need to leave the meeting just 30 minutes after it starts isn’t going to be a hit.
Lucky for me, because they’re so uber-professional, I know they’re not going to yell at me or go out of their way to make me feel bad. And, they didn’t. But, I 100% know that it was a shock to poor Derek who put all of this time and organization into our meeting, he had to restructure the agenda for the meeting on the fly because they needed me there for certain parts of it, and it made the whole thing a little less productive and distracting because I had to leave at a certain time.
It was just all-around inconsiderate on my part and I felt AWFUL. Really. It’s not like I blew the whole thing off and was like, “Well, I just didn’t know the kids were getting out early today.”
Well, I didn’t know they were getting out early, but that was my own fault…not the school’s fault, not my calendar’s fault, and not some other random bystander who should’ve told me about early release day since I never put it in my calendar.
I just blew it on something that really affected other people and I felt like absolute trash because of it. I left the meeting 2 hours ago at the time that I’m writing this right now and not more than 60 seconds has gone by that I haven’t thought about how disappointed I am in myself, how I need to try so much harder than I already thought I was at being punctual and responsible, and how terrible I feel about letting down people that were counting on me.
This, however, is typical behavior for me: I do something or say something wrong and spend countless hours dwelling on how I’m a failure, how I am an awful person, and how I don’t deserve all of the people around me that end up cleaning up the mess I’ve made.
Now, because this is typical for me, I’ve spent some time trying to not just get better at whatever it is that I did wrong, I’m also trying to get better about not over-reacting and beating myself up so much for whatever it is that I did.
I know that sounds a little lame and like I’m trying to make excuses or make myself seem better than I should be, but it’s not that.
It’s just that this has happened to me so many times that I’ve been able to see other experiences that happen to other people and realize that I’m not the only one I know making mistakes. Because that’s my immediate reaction to myself in situations like this: you’re a loser, why can’t you just grow up for once, no one else ever screws up like you do, you can’t do anything right, how can anyone ever trust you again?
In all honesty, that’s what goes through my head after mornings like today.
But, I think I have to change gears and (a) apologize to Ben, Derek, and his team, (b) chalk it up as a learning experience and realize that everyone makes mistakes at some point, and (c) spend my energy on going over calendars and schedules and making sure I’m not missing anything more.
I guess it’s like this: just because you make a mistake or slip up in some way, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person and that everything you do is a failure. Overgeneralizing and using blanket statements like that does nothing to improve an already unideal situation. It more than likely just makes it worse and can sometime even be enabling in that you are likely to just label yourself as “that type of person” and make yourself feel like there’s no way you can ever get better.
Which is ridiculous, right? We can all get better, we just have to have a little more patience with ourselves and determination to work on something that we’re just no “naturally” good at.