Come this time next week I’ll be in Brazil gearing up for a talk in front of the advertising community.  The purpose of the talk is for me to share what it’s like to be a planner in a new context: Google.  I’m going to talk about what I bring to the role and to the company as a strategic planner; and, alternatively, what Google has given me to make me a better planner.  One of the key skills I’ve acquired is to see every fuck up as an opportunity.   And I try to apply this to every situation.
Case in point? My attempts at beautification this past week.  I had three presentations over the course of 3 days.  Two of them in Silicon Valley and 1 in New York.  The second of the two in Cali was on a big stage, at the CDX Forum to be exact.  Sooooo, I had to get a blow out and a manicure beforehand.  And both had to last the three days and a flight in between.  There was NO way I was going to go on stage half-prepared (both in terms of content and appearance!).  So I set up back to back appointments in Palo Alto — hair first and then nails — to get in gear.
As soon as I arrived in SF, I knew I was screwed.  It was the first rain of the season and traffic was terrible.  Not only did this mean my hair do’ would barely last the night, but I was terribly late to my hair appointment.   Luckily, the blow out bar took me in but I didn’t make the nail appointment.  Ugh, what was I going to do?  I tried calling for availability at nearby salons but I was out of luck.  Also, I had a short window since it was getting late.
But I didn’t give up hope.  I ran to the Sephora around the corner to buy some pins for my hair, and lo and behold, they recently set up a “nail station” so one could try on all the nails products, complete with all the steps  — base coat, spray dryer, polish and top coats.  Of course I took advantage of it all! I smeared some cuticle oil on my dried-out nails, filed them as best I could, and then polished away.  Up close the nails looked a bit sketchy but from afar, they looked pretty darn glossy.  And I saved a bundle not getting a professional manicure!
While this may seem like a minor example of this very important new skill., for me it is a perfect one.  Not only did I lift my spirits by cleaning up my nails, but I felt that much more “polished” (ha ha) for my presentation.  And that’s REALLY important to me.
The moral of story?  Always look for the silver the lining; and embrace the fuck up.  Sometimes what seems like a problem can turn into an opportunity.  We just have to be open to believe, and act on it.

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