I was in Orlando last month for a keynote speaking engagement. My talk was at 8 am at the hotel I was staying at near Disney Springs. My flight back to Milwaukee didn’t leave until mid-afternoon. So after my hour-long talk was finished, I had a few hours to pick up some souvenir Vitamin D before I left for the airport.
Once my talk was over, I giddily made my way to the beautiful palm tree-ringed hotel pool. A hotel pool in Orlando should be a nice quiet place to enjoy some outdoor work in December. And it was. Until it wasn’t.
Shortly after I arrived at the pool, I settled into a chair at a poolside table. I opened my laptop. And immediately an alarm began blaring directly behind me. I owled my neck to see where the obnoxious noise was coming from. I spotted an anxious-looking 40-something couple standing next to the hot tub. They clearly looked panicked by the noise. But they took no action.
I looked at the couple as if to say, WOW, THAT’S A REALLY LOUD ALARM. My all-caps look had no effect. They just stood there and did nothing as the entire pool deck was suddenly bathed in more alarm blare than Florida sunshine. While I had packed my sunscreen, I had forgotten my earplugs. And now deafness felt like more of a threat to my well-being than skin damage.
A little detective work told me that the couple tried to turn on the jets of the hot tub time machine. But not being intimately familiar with all the words in the English language, (the dude’s Speedo exposed their Europeanness) they hit the hot tub emergency shut-off alarm instead.
So I got up from my poolside chair, turned, and marched to the hot tub. Right next to the panicky, but non-acting couple, I spotted the white wooden post that held the timer switch and the emergency shut-off alarm plunger button. I reached down and disengaged the recently plunged alarm switch. The noise immediately stopped. As if someone had mentioned E.F. Hutton.
I turned the dial that activated the hot tub jets. I smiled at Mr. Speedo and his wife and had a brief my-work-here-is-done moment. I returned to my chair, my laptop, and the enjoyable sounds of Florida. I sat and worked by the sunny and quiet pool for the next 2 hours until it was time to Uber to the airport for my flight home to MKE.
When you are experiencing a problem, do something about it. Take action. Make a call. Move something. Ask for help. You have to take charge of the problem, or the problem will not go away. The worst thing you can do is do nothing. Even a wrong move or a seemingly ineffective action is valuable because, through the process of elimination, it gets you closer to an effective solution.
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