Had another great life lesson smack me in the face (the best kind) just this week. I need to beware (and be aware) of my habits.
Allow me to illustrate - I don't travel an inordinate amount for business, maybe 25% of the time. It's not cumbersome, and it's usually planned well in advance. Not only that, but the destination is almost always the same - San Francisco, CA.
So I can plan that trip in my sleep...and that's the problem. Sometimes when we have our actions on auto-pilot, we don't pay attention to the small differences that could make a significant difference in the outcome.
- (bad habits...get it?)
In ONE trip, I actually did the following:
- I drove to Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport and actually went into Terminal B looking for my flight. Never once did I take note that this trip I was flying out of the other major aiport in the area, Dallas Love Field. No worries, I'm generally pretty good about getting to the airport with time to spare, so after a brief cursing of myself I hot-footed it to downtown Dallas where Love Field is located. Made the flight, and made note of a funny story for the wife.
- Upon reaching San Francisco International Airport and proceeding to the Alamo Rental Car counter (yes, "Alamo," I'm a Texan, it's intentional) I was informed that I had booked the car for two days later in the week. How I did that I have no idea, but the end result was being relegated to what appeared to be an M&M with wheels. Frustrating, but just another dynamic to the now funnier story for the wife.
- Coincidentally, my outbound flight had actually been delayed on the tarmac in Dallas for almost 2 hours, so as I'm heading to the Marriott it seemed like a prudent idea to call and alert the hotel of my late arrival. Time to start being the smart traveler again. I had my Marriott Rewards number and even had my confirmation number written down - that's how I roll. Except - I was "rolling" to the wrong hotel. After about 10 minutes of waiting while a Marriott agent look in futility for my reservation, I was exasperated and getting a little snippy with the agent. She must have figured out the problem, however, when she realized that the code I gave her included one too many digits; "are you sure that's a Marriott code, sir?"
"Am I sure? Of course I'm s.......whoops, gotta go."
I was booked at the Westin.
That's what you call a trifecta. Wrong airport, wrong car, wrong hotel...winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Rainman could have traveled more efficiently.
The lesson, besides the obvious realization that I'm not very smart, is that I had too much confidence in my habits. I never thought to double-check this trip in case things were different (in this case the hotel changed because of over-booking, but that's the only remote excuse I can come up with.)
Because of that, I wasn't on top of my game, I wasn't sharp, and I certainly wasn't productive. Keep that in mind if you're on auto-pilot on any of your daily/weekly/monthly duties ~ habits can be a detriment to your overall success.
Just ask the guy driving the Skittle down Highway 101 South.