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What Faceplanting Showed Me

By January 19, 2023January 23rd, 2023Articles

I’m back at the desk this week and thought I’d share a rather funny story with you to make you laugh this Thursday morning!!

Three days before Christmas I was walking to meet a friend in my local neighbourhood when I stacked it. My sneaker snagged in an uneven bit of footpath and I staggered along for a few steps, windmilling my arms and trying to stay up, then did a massive faceplant.

No, I wasn’t looking at my phone and no, I wasn’t distracted.

My sunglasses smashed and cut into my nose (I was eventually left with two panda black eyes.) There was so much blood. I was in shock, felt embarrassed, had to sit down on the ground while I worked out what to do. Ultimately that was go to the doctor and have my cut face superglued up. The doc also accidentally glued one of my eyes shut so it was a bit of a palaver to get glue off my eyes and most of my eyelashes were pulled out (seriously!).

It meant Christmas social plans had to be cancelled—not enough makeup in the world to make my face friend-ready—but even while my Halloween mask face was healing at home, I tried to work out if there was a message in the faceplant.

Was the universe sending me a sign that I needed to slow down and had planned to do too much? Or was it just an accident and nothing more could be read into it other than bad luck?

I decided to see it as an opportunity. To use my stack as inspiration for a refresher on what leaders should do when they get hit with a curve ball they just didn’t see coming. Because let’s face it (no pun intended) it happens.

Let’s say you were expecting to win a job and it didn’t come off or one of your clients goes belly up.

First up, you need to decide whether to carry on and push through, which may potentially put you and your team under further stress. You’ve just had a big body blow out of the blue. Or you might need to pull back a bit, change course and give yourself the best opportunity to regroup.

That latter can be an option even if you think you have your priorities all under control because that doesn’t mean things are set in stone. When the kapow happens, you have to reprioritise once again. So it’s about understanding what the hell has just happened, who do I need to tell, what plans do I need to change, what resources do I need and who do I need to bring in.

Like I did running to the doctor, slightly freaked out my face might be really damaged, you need to go into damage control. You need to know what decisions to make first, second and third to keep the business viable and humming.

Then you need to ask what the plans are that should be put in place to make sure the business is viable and the team are protected as much as possible. You might need to make decisions around resources or how you can reposition the team. You also need to know the team is wowing customers right now so the leaders can focus on winning more work.

My face now? There’s still a scar between my nose and lip, but the black eyes have faded and the scrapes have healed. Probably won’t be having any photos from Christmas 2022 framed up for the pool room though!