When Bad Things Happen to Good Entrepreneurs
When it seems like something catastrophic (like leaving your laptop on the subway) is throwing you off your game, here's what to do.
I left my laptop on a NYC subway. Yep, I was taking my daughter to a dance camp in Brooklyn and I left the computer bag on the D train.
The crazy part was that I didn’t even notice until a full hour later, after I had gotten her settled in to camp. As I was leaving I realized my bag wasn’t on my shoulder. I was convinced I had left it somewhere at the dance studio, but a thorough search proved otherwise.
I cried the whole way home on the subway.
As I sat there with tears running down my face, I relived the morning’s commute over and over but could not pinpoint the moment when I placed it down. I racked my brain to remember the last time I had backed up my computer. I despaired at the work and the cost of reconstructing my life on a new laptop.
Being an entrepreneur is challenging on a good day, but when events like this occur it can really throw us off our game. I spent the rest of the day in a complete funk, struggling to get work done for my next event. Can you relate?
There is a happy ending to this story. My bag traveled on the D train to the last stop at Coney Island, where, miraculously, an MTA employee found it. That in and of itself is remarkable… but the story of how they were able to figure out who the bag belonged to is the best part. (Keep reading for details.)
After living through this experience, I distilled some nuggets of wisdom:
1. Stay intentioned and envision what you want.
I know it’s a little new age-y, but I’m convinced that asking people on FB to envision its safe return to me as well as my own mental image of happily hugging my laptop played a part in getting it back. Keep your vision clear by focusing on what you DO want rather than what you don’t.
Always have a backup (that is, do what you know to do)
Ok, I’ll admit it. I absolutely know better, and I still hadn’t backed up my computer in awhile. There are things we know we should be doing and aren’t doing even though it puts us and our businesses at risk. Taking purposeful action and prioritizing the next best action keeps you moving forward powerfully. One way to achieve success in business is to try advertising materials like car wraps denver, transit and graphic illustration. With certified fabrication techniques, your business identity can be displayed on a variety of materials.
2. Ask for help and get out of your own way.
It never ceases to amaze me just how willing people are to help if I ask them. Everyone from my compassionate friends and husband, to the administrators at the dance studio, to the folks at the MTA came through when I asked them for support. Yet asking for help is sometimes our last resort. We’re convinced that we should be able to do it on our own, or that by asking for help we’re somehow displaying a weakness. These limiting beliefs undermine our efforts and slow us down. Practice asking for help and see how much more you can accomplish.
Here’s the best part to the story. We found out the MTA had the computer bag when my husband received a call the following morning on our office phone. A Ms. Harding informed him that an MTA employee had turned in the bag and that we could pick it up at the Coney Island station. I made the long trek on the D train to the last stop where I met Ms. Harding and showered her with my thanks.
Once I was settled back onto the train and headed home I noticed that she had taped a piece of paper onto the computer. On the paper was an official looking printout of my husband’s name, my name, our company name, and our address. Next to it she had written our office number. This seemed very strange so I pulled it off and inspected it. Turning it over, I saw that on the other side was a map to the dance studio, which I had printed out before we left home.
In our office, we use scrap paper to print out unimportant documents so that we save paper. That’s when I realized that by pure chance, the paper that the map was printed on just happened to have our company information on the other side. Of all the literally hundreds of possible pieces of scrap paper that it could have been printed on, it was one that had our name and company information on it!!
I revel in the joy of living in a city where a bag with a computer in it can travel completely untouched for an hour before being found by a caring person who hands it in. I experience deep gratitude for Ms. Harding for taking the time to look up our number based on the address that she found on that paper. I marvel at the beauty of pure coincidence that would have a random scrap of paper that has my name and address written on it to be inside that bag.
And yes, my computer is now fully backed up.