April this year was one of those mixed blessing months where you get something awesome that comes wrapped as one challenge after another.

It started with a freeze

The month started with the company that hosts my blog making a mess on the back end of my blog. I needed support for one thing and requesting that help led down a rabbit hole.

It was a simple request that got messed up by the first support person. He escalated to the next level where it got even more messed up. 3 higher escalations later…my blog froze and I couldn’t make any changes on the back end.

Luckily, people could still read the existing posts and pages, but I couldn’t update or add anything new.

This happened at the beginning of an intensive promotion for the 12 Weeks to Startup coaching program. My team definitely didn’t need the added stress of a frozen blog! The funnel had to be abandoned because we couldn’t wait for the blog to unfreeze.

Then came this…

A week into the new promo, my business coach came up with an idea for the program I was promoting. In a group coaching session, he challenged us (his clients) to try out this idea over the next 2 weeks.

It was such a brilliant, simple, and no-brainer idea that we all jumped into it!

Implementing the idea wasn’t so tough. But waiting to see if it would work was tough. Plus I only had 2 weeks to make this thing work. So there was no room for error.

Luckily, this idea worked awesomely for all of us and I launched the new version of the program in 2 weeks…with 10 paying clients.

I think for me this little bit of success was a mind-shift because I had to get totally out of my comfort zone and work in the blind.

The program is now running and that brings me to my biggest challenge in April.

It never rains…it pours!

The first session with my new 12 Weeks to Startup group was on Friday last week. That was the toughest day in my business life so far this year because everything that could go wrong that morning went wrong!

I was even tempted to check if there was a Mercury Retrograde because some things just didn’t make sense.

Here’s the cliff notes version of the events on 30th April

Part 1

I logged into Zoom, got kicked out immediately and couldn’t log in for some time. Unfortunately, my assistant didn’t show up that day so I had to run the show alone.

Part 2

Finally made it in…only to find no participants. Not even one! I started sweating. Many SMSs, WhatsApps, and calls later, I shared a new Zoom link and thought everyone was in. Later, I realized that I had forgotten to Approve people’s registration. So they couldn’t get into the call using the initial Zoom link.

Part 3

A few minutes into the session, I started getting messages that participants couldn’t hear me clearly. So I had to log in with 2 devices. By this time I was getting frazzled but the show had to go on! I’ve watched the video, and participants tried to talk to me, but I couldn’t hear them. So it seems as if I was ignoring them!

Part 4

Things smoothed out after a rocky 30 minutes. But now, I only had 1 hour left to regain my authority, teach, and guide people through the week’s lesson. Luckily we were going to work on overcoming fear so all these challenges I was experiencing came in handy as examples.

Part 5

I hopped off the call feeling a bit more in control…only to realize that I forgot to send the new Zoom link to one participant who is not in Kenya. She looked for me on Facebook and even tried to call using Messenger…without success.

Part 6

I hopped into another session where I was to give a talk in a fellow coach’s group. Zoom kicked me out once again but I got back in successfully…only for the intended audience to bounce us. We decided to spend the time catching up and coached each other through our challenges. I provided a lot of comic relief with my morning drama which helped us laugh our problems away.

Part 7

I got off that call to find missed calls from the leader of a meeting I was to attend. For some reason, that meeting didn’t show up on my phone calendar because…(let me leave it there). So I jumped into the call 1 hour late and lurked silently hoping that no one would call me out for being tardy. Luckily no one did (phew!).

Part 8

I finished with the meeting, checked my phone…and discovered that I didn’t send the Zoom link to yet another of my early morning group participants. I typed the link into a message and forgot to click SEND?‍♀️! Wah! Mzee Murphy of Murphy’s Laws please give me a break!!!

Sorry…sorry…sorry again (oh dear!)

I said the words, “I’m sorry” so many times on Friday that if you didn’t know me you’d think my name is Sori (no…that’s not an invitation to give me a nickname. If you do, I’ll send Mzee Murphy your way?).

That was my day from 7:00am till around 1:00pm on that Friday. I took a breather at 1:00pm, shared my morning experience on Facebook, and started planning for a make-up session with the 12 Weeks to Startup group.

But by 2:00pm, I was totally drained. So I took a 2-hour nap, woke up still drained, and went back to bed till dinnertime.

The Lessons

There were so many lessons from this day. I’ll share some here hoping they’ll help you too.

1. Consistency and having a positive reputation helped

All my clients in the group either know me personally or were referred by people who know me. Having built a reputation of quality work, consistency, and extreme timekeeping helped redeem me.

2. Act fast

My priority was to regain the trust of my clients very fast. So I contacted them all individually, apologised once again, and started making plans for the make-up session. We ended up having 2 separate sessions to accommodate the 2 people who didn’t get the new Zoom link.

3. Do your best to ensure this doesn’t happen again at this level

I had already regained my authority with those in the call by how I handled the problem and being vulnerable and admitting the challenges. However, the trust was shaky and the way I handled the make-up calls was going to determine the rest of our program. So I had to do an outstanding job with the extra calls. Luckily, it went very smoothly and everyone is now up to speed.

4. Turn negative experiences into learning & teachable moments

If you’re a leader, coach, trainer, or consultant, such experiences provide real-life examples of leadership in action. If you can swallow your pride and be vulnerable in a positive way, you will be able to teach more by your actions than by words and PowerPoint presentations.

I didn’t delete the original video recording from my group coaching call and it’s really terrible at the beginning! Instead, we’re using it as an example of how bad things can be and for my clients to see how and when I turned things around and regained authority.

We’re also using my day as a learning experience on overcoming fear (our lesson for Week 1). Truly no experience is ever wasted if you can put yourself together, learn from it, and share the lessons with your world.

5. Identify when it’s time to move to the next level

So many of my fears became real in a very short time. I’ve come to realize that having such a day means that I’m totally out of my comfort zone. I had moved to the next level but hadn’t caught up with the shift. So life had to upgrade me, so to speak.

I’ve packaged the day as an example of what happens when you move to the next level because each new level has new devils or some familiar devils that show up in a different way (New Level, New Devils). So there’s a blog post coming up about this phenomenon.

It rained some more…but not as badly

As for Mzee Murphy…I thought I had sent him over to his next victim with love, but he wasn’t done with me yet! That evening, at about 9:00pm, my electricity suddenly went off. I thought it was a regular blackout but then my son noticed that our neighbours had power.

By then I was so tired that I decided to work on the power the next morning and went to bed. I ended up sleeping 9 hours straight, something I haven’t done in a long time. So I was very fresh the next morning for my makeup sessions and fresh enough to deal with electricians!

How you deal with challenges makes the difference

People have been asking me how I managed to get myself together so fast and continue with the classes. In fact, some of the participants in that group informed me that they’d have given up and cancelled the session.

One of the key factors that help me move forward during such situations is my inner talk (self-talk). I don’t allow myself to slide into negativity when challenges come knocking, especially when they come one after another.

I can take time afterwards to crash, but at the moment, I know that it’s up to me to build myself up or beat myself up. It’s a choice, and only one option will work!

Your mindset will make all the difference and self-talk plays a big role in determining your mindset. This is what I taught in Elevate in April when we worked on upgrading our communication skills using Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP).

The lessons are available for members of Elevate Community. You’re welcome to join us, learn, upgrade your communication skills, and also attend the May classes where Sarah Ater will teach the Conflict Mastery Masterclass.

Finally, as the pandemic continues, please know I’m open to a conversation to see how I can help support you and your team during this time depending on my availability.

Over to you…

Do you have a similar experience where everything that could go wrong did? How did you handle it and what were the results?

I’d love to hear from you and also get your feedback about this post in the Comments below.

In the meantime, keep well and stay safe.

(Image Credit: lovethispic.com)

Caroline Gikonyo
Caroline Gikonyo

Caroline Gikonyo is a Life and Business Coach at Biashara 360. She's an avid blogger and also oversees our content creation. This ensures that we give our readers quality and well researched information and tips.

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