Stay CALM and choose!
Updated: Mar 26, 2022
Last week I had a situation at home – a situation most of us dread as much as we might dread going to the dentist! A plumbing emergency!! Getting hold of a plumber at any time is a mission in itself but when you need one in a real emergency, even good ole Tom Cruise might find it 'Mission Impossible'…sorry, I just had to throw in that cheesy pun! 😉
Our kitchen ceiling suddenly sprung a leak…actually more than one leak and, to my absolute horror, I found myself staring at the water dripping down from some patches in the ceiling and light fittings! I felt like it had started raining in my kitchen!
Rewinding to when the problem started to surface, a couple of weeks ago we discovered the vanity in the upstairs bathroom gathering water. Water had collected in the shelves and the floor just under the vanity. We started phoning around for plumbers to have a look at the problem but before we could find one, the problem had graduated to a full-blown emergency. As you can imagine I started panicking, putting buckets under the leaks and the rate at which the buckets were starting to fill up, I knew I’d run out of buckets pretty soon. I was fearing the worst and thinking about all kinds of nasty possibilities.
Then I sat down and thought to myself “What is my go-to method when I’m coaching with a client who is stuck in a bad situation?”. I remembered the CALM method that I have spoken/written about in some of my earlier social media content. Basically, it is a tool for figuring out the options you have in any situation that you might find yourself stuck in. So I quickly went through that process in my head. What are my options in this current situation?
C for “Change the situation” - I could not change the situation in terms of stopping the leaks but maybe…well, I decided to come back to this option after looking at the other options. Much like how I used to operate in exams during my days as a student. I’m sure many of you might have also followed this method as it is widely recommended. If you are not entirely sure of an answer to a question, leave it and move on to the next question and return to the question you skipped after you’ve looked at the rest of the questions.
A for “Accept the situation” – Not possible as I could not afford to just accept the situation. Something needed to be done!
L for “Leave the situation” – No way, as I was in my house and the problem needed fixing…and now!
M for “Make your choice wisely” – Seemed like I really had only one option and that was to somehow change the situation.
Once the option was clear, I started focussing on what I could do to help change the situation and it was clear that I needed the assistance of a plumber to make Mission Impossible possible. The time was 3 pm on a Friday afternoon and that meant I had only a 2-hour window to get a plumber to my house. For those who don’t know, perhaps the only thing the kiwis hate more than losing to the Aussies in sport is working overtime on a Friday evening!
I started calling plumbers who were advertised as “emergency callout”, “24/7 service”, “any time day or night” only to keep getting through to voicemails! At the back of my mind, I had filed away Plan B – if all efforts to find a plumber right away came to nought, I’d turn off the main water supply to our home in the hope that the leaking would at least slow down as there wouldn’t be any more water than what had already gathered in the roof space. But that would mean we’d be without water till we managed to find a plumber the next day which happened to be a Saturday – not a good day to find a tradesman!
With my mind clear about the only option ahead, I was ringing around with a single-minded focus. Just as I felt like I was coming up against a brick wall, I managed to get through to a lady who started telling me “We would love to be able to help you in your emergency but we don’t have any plumber working in your area at present and you know it is nearly the weekend…” when she received a call. She said she’d get back to me after taking the call and I honestly felt “there goes my only chance”. But a couple of minutes later she called back and guess what? The guy who called was one of her company's plumbers giving her an update on his last job for the day. It turned out that he happened to live in my part of town. So she asked him if he could help out in an emergency situation and visit me on his way home, and he agreed! What could I attribute this to – luck, the law of attraction, or coincidence? He turned up as promised, ended up working late (poor chap, bless him!) but managed to stop the leaks!
There’s still quite a bit of work left to be done that involves plumbers, builders, and electricians, but the important learning for me from this whole episode is staying calm in the face of a crisis and the CALM approach of arriving at a solution does work!
As you read this post, if you’re thinking of an unpleasant or difficult situation that you might be stuck in, I just want to say to you – hang in there, have hope, consider your options and start taking action. Who knows, you might just get Universe/Luck/Fate (whatever you might want to call it) on your team to help you find the solution!