I am screaming curse words left and right!!!!! I found myself driving in a long long tunnel with no end in sight. I look back and see my three kids sitting there worried.
Let me take you back to how I got in this situation. Since I rented a car the day before, I decided before I returned it, I would drop my kids off at school and give Kel the morning off. Lord knows she deserves it. If everything goes well it is a 10 minute drive. As we head out in the car, I follow Waze. There are two ways to get there, the streets or the highway. On this day it took me on the highway.
Okay, I see a turn in 500 meters. Great. As I am getting close I see what I think is the turn, but Waze does not show me close to there at all. “Okay, it must be the next one.” Before I know it we are in what feels like a 2 mile tunnel to some other area. That is when the cursing started. I just realized I made a big error as I look to the left side of the road going back to Barcelona and it is bumper to bumper traffic the whole way. We are going to be very late.
Okay, now Waze is saying to make the first right after the tunnel. After we get out there is one road on the right with special signs. Josh screams, “there that is it.” I am doubtful as we were at a toll booth and I think that is there version of EZ pass. But then in my head, I think maybe it is also the exit to get you off the highway. So we take it. Whoops, it is their EZ pass. We are stuck!
A few minutes later an officer comes by and I give my best impression of a lost clueless American. Ok, it was not an impression! I give him a 20 Euro bill, he brings me change and sends us on our way.
Now Waze is saying make the first left and do some sort of U turn up ahead. I see the left and start making the U-turn and there are two signs to Barcelona one road goes left and one goes right. I look to Waze and I learn another new lesson living here. The GPS keeps going in and out and as a result the tracking is not accurate. The map shows me no where near where I am. I choose right.
As soon as I do, I realize it was the wrong way. More cursing as we head up a windy road up the mountain. At this point, I had enough of fighting it. I accepted the situation we were in and started laughing. I apologized to the kids and then used a 3 Step Dale Carnegie technique to reduce worry that I share in chapter 2 of The Fast Forward Mindset.
Step 1) I determined the worse case scenario of this situation is we would be so late for school they would miss school today.
Step 2) I accepted the worse case scenario and in my head they were not going to go to school. That was the key. All the stress disappeared as soon as I did this and I was no longer in a rush. We were actually driving on a beautiful windy road with great views of Barcelona and the ocean in the background. And now in my head we had all the time in the world to enjoy it.
Step 3) Start making steps to improve on the worse case scenario. While GPS was not tracking anything at this point, I knew we had to be heading in the general right direction as their school was sort of at the base of this mountain. I think. I also knew the top of the mountain was the Tibidabo church and I could see it coming up on the right. I think its the top. We were not on the main road to it, but some sort of side road. So I figured I would just keep taking it until eventually we were back in a city area and hopefully GPS would come back and it would show we were close to the school.
After about 15 minutes on the windy road and a much better mood we finally reached back to normal streets. A few minutes later GPS worked again and lone and behold we were less than half a mile from school. We lost GPS again and I stopped looking at it and went with my gut from the last week of taking taxis. We made a right, left, and then a left and 3 blocks ahead we saw it. “There it is your school!!!!” I was screaming with excitement.
I park the car and went to take the kids in about 45 minutes late (so not the full day). As Josh was saying good bye. He looks at me, smiles and says, “At least you will have a good story for your blog post tomorrow,” and he was right. Maybe this story was a little dramatic. But that is how it felt to me at the time. Have you ever had a situation that made you feel like this?
From there I went to drop off the car at the rental place, then walked about a mile to the gym, I did a workout, came home and had lunch.
In chapter 9 of The Fast Forward Mindset, I talk about the importance of Focus to accelerate your personal and company growth. Four years ago we hired Mark Green to help us setup the fundamentals of the book Scaling Up. That includes monthly strategy meetings with Mark and the executive team. Quarterly they are full day meetings, but today it was only a half day. This was my first time joining the meeting from Barcelona.
It of course was a bit tougher. I have joined it from zoom video before, but this time I felt very far away. Seeing them all in the office laughing and having fun, it was the first time I missed NY in a real way. I felt a little left out, but in a good way. I was happy to be here and happy to see the team having fun together there. The meeting was also tougher as it started at 2:30pm for me when everyone was fresh at 8:30am in NY. The mornings are always my best time. But I guess asking them to do a 2:30am meeting so I can do an 8:30am meeting would be pushing it.
It was an important meeting as we have several big initiatives we are working on and it takes a lot of energy to make sure we are clearly aligned, as well as, communicating it properly to the rest of the company and then of course to our customers.
At 6:30pm my non-english speaking landlord came by to fix a few things in the apartment. He is such a nice guy. We used Google Translate in conversation mode which meant we both can talk in our own language and it automatically speaks the translation out. He told me the story that this was his wife’s parents apartment. In fact she grew up here. They have had it for 60 years.
On Sunday night, Kelli and I looked at the schedule for the week and planned all our dinners and nights out with the kids. We realized being in a new country we could not just come home and figure it out as we did back home. So tonight, the plan was to meet them out after my call and grab a local dinner. Kel had taken the kids swimming at our gym so I would have quiet in the apartment for my executive team meeting.
I felt bad because Kelli said they needed to come home. The kids were starving and cranky. The gym was not relaxing for many reasons. And now they just needed to not be an environment where they would not be stuck at a table in a restaurant. I wanted to get out of the apartment, but I totally understood.
I felt we did a good job improvising making food we had in the house. Pasta with vegetables and a burger for Josh. One again, the kids were in bed by 9:30pm, and it would have been perfect if not for Jonah’s freakout. We signed him up for after school activity and he was screaming and crying about it. I so sort of remember that feeling at 5 years old. At least from the stories my mom told me.
The night ended on a high. In addition, to planning our week we wanted to plan our travel for the year. At least sketch it out. So we sat on the terrace, opened a bottle of wine and went through the list. We decided on one new place out of Spain per month. Morocco. Croatia. Portugal. London. Paris. Scotland. Swiss Alps. Israel. Venice….. Not to mention all the places in Spain….
Another full day in Barcelona. I would not have it any other way!