Being an entrepreneur can – at times – be compared to a top athlete. You are always training, going non-stop and even if you are sick or injured, you must perform. This story shows you the grit it takes to be an entrepreneur, as well as maybe shedding light on things you never think about an entrepreneur going through for her clients.
First of all, I want to give you permission to laugh at this story because some people aren’t sure what to do when they hear it. All you can do is laugh – it is that crazy!
I was packing up my family for our annual camping trip that we do with all of my extended family. I had been working on a new contract, which was a big deal. A required meeting with a senior level person in IT was holding up the final sign off, and I’d been trying to schedule this meeting for months. That’s when I got the call that he was available tomorrow (the day we left for our drive up north). I said I was leaving for vacation with my family.
“Was there any way you could meet the following week?” I asked. The answer was NO, they highly recommended that I not miss the invitation tomorrow. I kissed my family and said, “I’ll meet you there.”
I jumped on a plane early in the morning and headed off to my meeting feeling great. When I got to the airport, I popped some pills in my mouth that I had been taking for immunizations for a mission trip to Africa coming up in a few months.
I got my seat upgrade and was settled in first class by the window. I was busy reading my iPad about 30 minutes into the flight when out of nowhere, I just vomited all over. No time to grab the bag out of the seat pocket – it was a disaster. I ran to the restroom and the ordeal continued for 20 minutes. I finally came out and the flight attendants had graciously cleaned everything up and had a big garbage bag waiting for me. Then the third wave hit, so I just stood by the exit with my bag for another 30 minutes.
I was embarrassed and also knew that this was a reaction to the medication that I was on. So I said kind of loudly to the flight attendant – so the rest of the first class could hear and put their minds to rest that I wasn’t contagious – “Don’t worry, I am not sick. This is not contagious.”
The flight attendant grinned at me from ear to ear and then announced to the first class passengers, “Oh, she’s pregnant!” The whole first class said, “Ohhh,” and sympathy beamed from everyone’s eyes. I was too sick to correct her as my head went back into the bag.
When we landed, they sent me off with extra garbage bags. One of my team members picked me up, which I was grateful for since I was in no condition to drive. We were an hour early for our meeting, so I said we had to go somewhere with a bathroom near our meeting place. Starbucks, it was! We sat and talked in the crowded area as I sipped some water to avoid dehydration.
Then the next wave hit.
Trying to save the guests from hearing everything, I thought I could run to the bathroom instead of pulling out a garbage bag. I was wrong. Here I am, in heels and a dress, and I’m so embarrassed that I have now managed to publicly humiliate myself again.
We headed to the meeting as my team member tried to convince to me to reschedule the meeting. I believe his words were, “I have never seen anyone this sick. You have to cancel. You can’t run a meeting.” No, too much was riding on this.
We arrived at headquarters and our host said the managing director was running late – we may have to wait an hour or more. “Are you kidding me?” I thought, as my head spun, thinking I had to hold it together an additional hour.
I requested access to a bathroom, where I was basically stationed for the majority of the hour. My team member was now looking at me saying, “Really? This is crazy!” Which I know, but I am trying to stay in the zone, despite my weak and shaky feeling.
Finally, the director was ready to see us, so I told my team member the plan was to position myself by the door. I had an extra garbage bag in my dress pocket, and if I took off running out of the room, he was to just pick up where I left off and tell them I would be right back. We entered the room and the managing director said, “I really don’t have time to meet with you today, so you have 15 minutes, and then I have to run.”
After my sickness and missing my family trip, I was furious, but I put on my smile and said, “We better jump right in.” I gave a 15-minute presentation and demo, and he said, “That’s perfect, thanks for your time,” and ran out the door.
I took two steps to the door. “Wow, that was a miracle,” my team member said. “That was the best demo I ever saw you give, and you are all better.” I smiled, then grabbed the garbage can and ran around the corner.
I had made it! Now all I had to do was make it to my kids, as I promised, before the end of the night. This began my six-hour journey to meet them at our campsite.
I made it most of the way through my flight to Minneapolis before I needed my emergency bag again. The guy next to me got me a wet washcloth and more garbage bags. It was so kind. When our flight landed, he insisted on escorting me through the airport to find my car because he was worried I would collapse. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
Being in no condition to drive, I changed plans and got a driver to take me to the campsite. I told my driver that if I said, “Pull over!” he had about 30 seconds to make it happen. We started driving out of the city and into the dark country roads when he remarked about how dark it was. Turns out he had never driven in the woods in Minnesota and wasn’t from around here.
“OK,” I said, “this day is now going on 15 hours for me, and I want to make it in one piece to my family, so I’m going to have to teach you how to watch for wild animals. Deer are the most common, running in front of you.”
“Animals?” he asked.
I taught him how to watch for the reflection in the eyes of the animals and to never swerve off for an animal – hitting a tree or another car will kill you. Hitting a deer will only hurt you. Well, God had a sense of humor that night or knew how to get me through the next three hours of my journey. We saw 60 deer! Yes 60….
I have never in my life seen so many deer in one night, let alone one month. My driver became an expert in spotting deer, and the adrenaline was running in my veins hot and heavy as we both remained on deer watching duty. We had a couple close calls where the deer jumped in front of us at the last second. He was amazed and said he would have to bring his kids to the woods; he had no idea it was like a zoo with animals everywhere. I laughed and said this wasn’t normal.
I called my husband along the ride and told him I could not camp tonight; I needed a bathroom. He left the kids with my family and drove to the nearest town and got a hotel room. When I finally arrived at 1 a.m., he had to carry me out of the car. I was so weak, but that was just another day as an entrepreneur!