Half Empty Or Half Full?

I attended a great conference over the weekend and had some unusual things happen that could have created a “Half Empty” experience, but instead led to amazing experiences.

The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica is right on Ocean Boulevard, and I made sure to reserve an ocean view room. When I checked in, the front desk person was friendly and helpful. After completing the check-in process, he handed me a glass of champagne. Nice start. I ordered room service and enjoyed watching the sun set on the Pacific.

For the next two days, I attended a conference on coaching, and ran into a few people I met several years ago at other conferences – a nice bonus.

Yasmine, our Director of Sales and Emcee for our Interior Design Summits, was also in Santa Monica attending another conference. She organized a last minute dinner with a young woman that wowed me with her accomplishments. You’ll be hearing more about her in the future when she has her new app ready for launch. We laughed and talked for hours — it was like meeting someone I’d known for years.

Then on Monday, I met with Nancy Greystone whom many of you know through our Interior Design Summit. She helped Barbara Barry write Around Beauty – a lovely book that describes Barbara’s design process. We actually met Nancy in January of 2009 through Barbara. After having coffee with Nancy, Yasmine and another person I’d met at an event almost eight years ago enjoyed an amazing lunch at The Ivy which is next door to the Shore Hotel. During our great lunch of lobster ravioli, Yasmine got a call from our Erin who was frantically trying to call me to let me know that my flight was canceled due to an expected blizzard in Denver.

Hmmmm… serendipity yet again… stay in Santa Monica enjoying 70 degree weather on the ocean, or fly back to a blizzard? Which would you choose?

I walked up to the desk at the hotel and asked if I could check back in, and if they had a room with a direct view of the ocean. He said, “Of course Mrs. Doby – we heard about your flight getting canceled. I have one ocean view room on the front of the hotel, and I’ll give it to you for $60 off of the normal rate. Oh, and would you like a glass of champagne?” Smile. “I have a friend with me… may I have a glass for her as well?” Charlie – “Of course… let me get that for you.” So Yasmine, her friend Anne (not a champagne drinker in case you thought I forgot about her) and I spent the afternoon talking by the oceanside pool.

The next day, I left for the airport at 5 am, and went from the outside baggage check-in, to the inside ticket agent to the customer service rep across the gate, and each case, I was told that the plane was full and the upgraded ticket I’d paid for wasn’t available and that the only seat available was a middle one on the 29th row. Sigh.

Then I lined up in Group 4 and waited to board… and within a few minutes, we were told that the flight was delayed and that their best guess was a 10:15 departure (instead of 7 am). I sat down and a few minutes later, a lovely woman sat next to me. We started chatting, and she asked if I’d like to go to the United Club with her. Smile. “Of course! That would be lovely!”

We talked for a few hours and before leaving, I asked at the customer service counter for assistance with my ticket. I received a bump to row 8 on the aisle, and she also called the gate agent to get me on a Priority 1 upgrade due to the previous day’s flight cancellation.

I boarded and started talking with the young man in the window seat. Within five minutes, we were immersed in a great conversation about his speaking career and what he was doing. Check him out at http://brianbanks.org. The flight attendant interrupted our conversation to move me, and our conversation ended, but not before I got his contact information.

After moving, I heard the flight attendant say that the man sitting on the opposite side of the row had a sister that performed on The Voice – Amy Vaschal.  ​I love watching The Voice – it’s so fabulous to see how the contestants grow during their time on the show. Interestingly, Amy made it through to the next round this week.​

We sat on the Tarmac for another two hours, but the flight attendants made sure we had drinks and Direct TV for free​. We got home safely even though our departure was delayed for four hours. Instead of getting upset with the situation, I allowed events to unfold, and the trip turned into a fun adventure filled with interesting people and conversations.

How can you shift your attitude when facing challenges? Look for the opportunity within the challenge, reframe your negative thoughts and you might have an adventure, too!

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Gail Doby

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