And some days the bear gets you, as my dad says. Actually his version is a little more colorful, but that’s not where we’re headed, so we’ll run with the hypothetical bear for now. At any rate, in spite of your best efforts, some days are just NOT your day. You are shooting to be strategic, and execute strongly, and lead with conviction, and deliver results, and make a difference. You gather the data, make the best decision based on the information at hand, and then, “BAM!” Here’s a whole new bunch of intel that sinks your battleship, to borrow a board game reference.
And you know what? It happens. Is it frustrating? Yes. Does it upset your applecart? Yep. Can you throw a tantrum? Maybe in private, yes. At least for me, anyway. I’m generally not a big fan of fits in public – especially my own fits, because they’re just not very pretty. It’s not a good look on me, worse than horizontal stripes. Hissy fits aren’t necessarily a good look on anyone, really, but not everybody gets that, do they? We can all think of that certain someone we know who is an expert, in fact. “Oh, sweetie, your crazy is showing a little there… yep, rrrriiiight there… you’ll want to tuck that back in, dear.
Here’s the thing though – usually, the battleship blower-upper isn’t maliciously calling “B4.” It’s more often good intentions gone awry. You know what else? I do it too sometimes. I think I am rocking and rolling, doing the right things, and then someone comes along and says I’ve sunk their battleship. Oops. Totally my bad. I’ll own it and apologize, even if it’s an accidental shelling. I don’t quite know how you spell that blowing up sound, but you know what I’m saying. Just nod like you get it.
The game box for Battleship used to say winning takes a combination of strategy and luck. Yikes. Strategy, I can handle. Think it through, look at your options versus your end goal, plot your course. As one of my sales colleagues says, “Make the plan and work the plan.” And he’s totally right. You break down the end goal and figure out how to succeed at each step, on the game board or in the game of life (yours, not Milton Bradley’s).
It’s the luck part that can derail in a heartbeat. Luck is not a strategy. I’ve heard that luck is where preparation meets opportunity. Sometimes it’s your opportunity, but sometimes you’re depending on someone else’s preparation meeting opportunity. I hope that the ones I’m depending on have made their plans and are working them accordingly. Ehhhhh – not always the case, I know.
If not? Sometimes it’s in my purview to offer advice on righting the ship, if you will. At work, for instance, when I’m working with my team, if I see us veering off course, I can speak up, make sure we’re doing the things we need to be doing to steer back on track. Then there are the other times. The times I find myself in the crossfire with a galvanized garbage can top for a shield, and a colander for a helmet. Those are definitely NOT toy-pedos coming at me. That’s going to leave a mark… on my forehead.
When that happens, I hope I set a good example for getting up to fight the good fight again. I don’t want to be the person wailing, “You sank my battleship!” (In my head I hear a “WAAAAH” behind it. You do too, now, don’t you?)
Instead, I want to be the person who owns the mistake and evaluates, then makes the corrections and goes at it again without giving up. Full steam ahead, determined that tomorrow IS going to be my day. Take that, you hypothetical bear.