Friday, October 29, 2010
Shaving in the Dark and Other Vital Business Lessons
The conference I was attending in LA had ignited my passion. When I awoke after day two, all I could focus on was writing out all my new thoughts and ideas about building my business—critical, creative ideas I didn't want flying out of my head before I returned to Boston.
I was lost in my mad scribbling. Suddenly I looked toward the clock. 7:50 am. So much for morning yoga, I mused. The last day of the conference opened in thirty minutes. It was time to go.
I threw back the covers, grabbed my makeup bag off the desk and hurried into the bathroom. I pushed the button for the lights and then closed and locked the door behind me. (Yes, I know this seems a little paranoid. But, I don’t trust hotel housekeeping and I wasn't taking any chances.)
The water felt so good--soothing, regenerating. I lathered up my hair with my new shampoo and then put one leg up on the corner of the tub. Yep. These bristles might verily puncture my delicate nylons.
I soaped the first leg, picked up the razor and drew it carefully across my skin...creating a clean path. I repeated, stopping momentarily to wipe away the shampoo suds that were slipping down my forehead. Leg one done. Next.
I began the process over on my left leg, again making the first point at my ankle and dragging the new razor up over the back of my calf. Suddenly the room went black. I froze in mid-drag.
"Awesome. Just flip'n awesome." I hadn't realized the lights were on a timer, and evidently I had set it for five minutes rather than thirty. To spite all my brilliance, sometimes I'm just undeniably, stereotypically blonde.
I stood there momentarily, naked and frozen in place amid the pitch blackness. The shampoo ran down into my eyes and I squeezed them tight. Great, now I was blind, too. Although at that point it was all the same, wasn't it? I stood there and debated.
Should I try to get out of the shower and make my way to the wall and feel for the timer to re-set it? If I did, I might slip and crack my head open on the toilet or the countertop. Should I stay in the shower and just finish up since I was already in mid-process? De-soap? Stay? Finish? Get out? Then back in? What was more time efficient? (Sadly it always comes down to this!)
"What the heck," I muttered. I lifted my face up into the shower stream and rinsed the soap out of my eyes. I reminded myself that I knew where the walls were, where the soap was, where my razor was, and inherently, where my legs were. We can do this, I assured all my inner girls. (Note: some of them were not all that confident. I ignored their voices, although the image of Hello Kitty Band-Aids peeking out from beneath my sheer nylons was an added reminder to proceed cautiously.)
Keeping my eyes closed, I felt around for the soap, seized it in my hand and lathered up the last leg. I reached down slowly, only stopping when I felt the razor's edge touch my ankle. I drew the sharp razor up toward my knee using my free hand to guide the razor and to double-check for prickles that I might be missing.
When I was convinced the job was done, I turned off the water and pulled back the shower curtain. I felt for the metal hand bar, grabbed it and lifted one leg over the edge of the tub. I touched my toes to the floor, rooting around for the edge of the bath mat. There it was!
I used my big toe to drag it closer and then planted my foot down firmly. I lifted leg two and set that foot down precisely next to the other. Then I started moving forward toward the area of the counter, shuffling across the floor, gripping the fabric of the mat beneath my clenched toes and dragging it along with me. I reached out and felt the front of the counter. Ok, now left. I repeated the shuffling process until I hit the bathroom door. I felt up for the light plate, then the button and pushed. Voila! Light!
I pushed back my wet hair, grabbed my towel and dried my legs, examining them for cuts and streams of red. Nothing.
Really? I asked myself taking a second look at front and back.
Nope. Not a knick. (I have to tell you I was pretty pleased with my sightless capabilities. Somehow this seemed like a big WIN for me at that moment.)
But herein was my lesson. If you know your boundaries, you can do anything. So here is my advice: In life and in business, you need to be acutely aware of where you are and where you stand. You need to know the lay of the land so you don't go in whole only to be tossed out all cut up and bleeding.
The way to successfully navigate the landscape of life or business is to carry the right tools in your arsenal. These tools are your compass, your map, your divine guidance...all of which are your values. Without your values—your lines in the sand, your lists of acceptable and non-acceptable actions and behaviors—it is impossible to navigate any realm of life safely and achieve a desirable outcome.
You need to know your own rules of how you will play so you can determine which games you can play happily and successfully—and (this is important!) without compromising your soul.
When your values are committed in your mind, etched into the tender flesh of your heart, you can achieve anything at hand...launch a successful business, maintain a rewarding relationship, build a strong, healthy body. And best of all, when there's a power outage in your life, not only will you be able to navigate safely, you’ll even be able to shave in the dark.
© All rights reserved. Kathleen Aston. Kathleen Aston International.