Coach Shari: Trust your Gut
I set my car’s GPS and headed downtown for a meeting on Thursday morning. Since my GPS tells me exactly where to turn, my brain was free to think about other things. Now and then, I’d be jolted out of my deep thought by the Woman’s voice, telling me to turn ahead. Before I knew it, my GPS announced that I had arrived at my destination. A few feet ahead, I spied a parking lot on the left side of the road. I turned into a space and proceeded to walk over to the machine to pay.
That’s when I looked around for the first time and realized that I had no idea where I was. I saw a young man getting out of his car so I asked him if he knew where Garfield St. was located. He had no idea and felt bad that he couldn’t help me. I figured the GPS wouldn’t lie, so I began to walk.
Now, I must note at this point that I was wearing my peach sandals that have a high wedge. They’re comfortable if you’re spending the day at your desk or venturing out to go to lunch. They are NOT comfortable if you plan on walking more than 5 minutes. In retrospect, since I now have blisters on my feet, I should have worn a different pair of shoes.
Anyway, I walked to the corner and stopped to get my bearings. I had been told to park on 9th Street and I could see that 9th street was parallel to the one I was on. That excited me enough to keep walking until I saw the full sign that said East 9th street instead of West. That was a problem, but I figured that West couldn’t be that far away. I asked two girls on their lunch break who were eager to help me, but had no idea where I was going.
I kept walking west when I ran into an older man running to a meeting. I asked him where Garfield was and his reply was “Oh, that’s a few blocks up for sure.” I asked him, “Do you truly mean two blocks, or more than two blocks.” He laughed and said, “You have quite a ways to go.” By this time, it didn’t make sense for me to turn around and go back to my car.
As luck would have it, it began to rain. I walked faster and cursed my decision to leave my umbrella in the car. I asked a woman and a man waiting for the bus where Garfield was. Both smiled and pointed in the direction I was walking. It began to rain harder and I began to feel my hair go from straight to wild and large.
Finally, I saw it; I was now on West 9th and was nearing Garfield. I picked up the pace and saw the building where the meeting was being held. I’d never been so happy to get to a destination. As I networked, I stole a glance at my reflection. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have never walked out of the house looking so bad. My hair looked like a before picture for a shampoo ad. I mulled over my appearance for about a minute before I decided that there was nothing I could do to change the situation.
Now, there is a point to sharing this story. Looking back, it’s crazy how completely dependent I was upon my technology. My common sense immediately told me that I was nowhere near the right place and really hadn’t “arrived at my destination.” However, I overruled my instincts and continued to believe that my technology knew better than me. I’ve spent time downtown before and have a basic sense of the layout of the area. It’s almost as if I had completely turned off that part of my brain.
I love my technology, but this experience has reminded me that it can’t replace your own instincts, knowledge and experience. Be sure to trust your gut.