It was about 7:05 AM in the morning on a busy workday and I had to be on the 7:28AM train to be at work in time for a meeting. The plan was for my wife, son, and I to get out the door by 7:10 AM. We would then take the 7 minute drive to the station, I would get off and then take a 3 minute walk to the other platform. The train typically rolled in by 7:22AM and once every one boarded left the platform by 7:28AM.
By the time, we got out the door it was 7:15AM. I was uncharacteristically hassled and totally ignored everyone’s contribution into making 7:15AM happen. As soon as we started the drive, I started complaining about the tardiness, started calculating the time it would take to get to the platform, and I would be on the platform by 7:25AM and the time to dredge through the people on the platform, and get to the door would put me at 7:28AM and I would most certainly miss the train.
The rant continued and I started talking about how if I miss the train, I would most certainly not make the important meeting and that would have consequences and I would have to deal with the fallout. I then followed it up with a Plan B that I could take the car and brave the crazy Chicago traffic and still be within the vicinity of 15 minute delay to this hour long meeting.
After 10 years of marriage and given this was also very uncharacteristic of me, my wife just chose to drive without much of a reaction. However that wasn’t the case with my 7-Year old.
My 7-year old said Daddy! Think about how you can catch this train and don’t think about missing the train, the meeting, and everything after that.
His words hit me like a brick. We reached the station, I picked up the pace of my walking, sprinted a bit, and made the train with 2 minutes to spare. Once I caught up with my breath, I reflected on what just transpired.
A 7-year old unconsciously schooled me in the Power of Positive Thinking. Given everything that was going on with work, life, and situations that lasted a week, I was yielding my strength to the fear of losing. That was my unbecoming.
I quickly moved on to prepare for the meeting and then went through the workday. I came back home apologized for my rather crappy behavior.
In the following few months, the train was the metaphor to reinforce what got me here. It was never about missing the train but about charting uncharted territories.