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.