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What I learnt from my unexpected Adventures in France: A Day of Delays, Disappointments, and Delightful Turns

The Weekly Debrief:

Grab a coffee – this is a story and a half!


Abbey of Saint Etienne , Caen

Last Monday was a very strange day. Hubby and I had a whole plan to return from France via all the historical war areas of Caen and Ouistream. I’d never been and was both excited and nervous at the prospect. I understand visiting the war graves, monuments and beaches is very moving. 


We’d planned to end the day with a romantic stay on a sailing boat at the port in readiness for our very early ferry the next morning.  Falling asleep Sunday evening I could not have prepared myself for the next day we eventually had. It started off with a delay of nearly 4hrs. We were due to have an ‘Orange’ Technician connect our house to the internet. They said it was going to be a 30mins job. This in fact turn into a 3 hour job with a trip in the middle to the orange shop to buy/pick up a cable they had forgot to put into the box. Eventually ready to leave, setting off 4 hours later than planned pushed back our lunch plans. Missing our reservation at our favourite restaurant we found something closer…the food was disgusting. In fact, I just pushed it around my plate. It was so bad I left most of what was served. 


Feeling deflated we carried on up the road with a plan to get to the Caen area around 2:30pm/3pm. The traffic had other ideas with our normally 3 hour journey taking nearly 6hours. (Let me tell you – it’s the first time I’ve ever seen traffic like that on the French roads)


So now with dusk approaching rapidly we decided to go straight to the sailboat. It was lovely. We got unpacked and opened a bottle of fizz to watch the sun go down over the water. Relaxing we started laughing at what a day it had been. Nothing had gone to plan. I remember saying the fateful words “what else could this day have given us?” I should not have opened my mouth. Just as we start on our second glass, the phone went with a ping of notification. The Ferry company had cancelled our ferry Tuesday morning due to strike action. Even worse saying they weren’t sure when they could get us home to the UK!!!!! Cue frantic search on the internet for other ferries and ways to get home. As we were already on the port I said “Let’s go down to the office” (a five min drive from the sailboat). We locked up the sailboat and put the keys back. The Staff at the port were so helpful and got us on the ferry later that night. 


Reflecting on that day, it turned out to be nothing like what we had planned. Nothing went according to the schedule, but somehow it all worked out for the best. 

We managed to get the internet connected.

We managed to have a glass of fizz on the sailboat. With the added benefit that we’d found another lovely place to stay to make our journeys back and forth to France easier. 

And finally because we were already in the port we managed to get home, without any hassle. (We would have never made it to the port in time if we’d got the ferry strike notification whilst still at home.)


You’ve all had them…the days that don’t turn out the way you planned. The days when things go wrong more than right. 

Let’s remember it’s our reactions that make the difference, as to how negatively affected we are. May be we all need to ‘Roll with the punches’ as they say. 


As you can imagine I was quite pleased when the rest of the week was less eventful!


The Week Ahead Blueprint:

The next couple of weeks are full strategic planning days. It’s the end of the quarter (for some the end of the business year) and as such is a great time for my clients to evaluate and reflect on the previous period then set their goals for the coming quarter. During these sessions I take clients through a set agenda;

  1. A review of achievements, people, finances, scorecard matrix, issues and challenges. (What)

  2. A reminder back to the vision, mission, values and longer-term goals (Why)

  3. Establish the current position towards the goals. (Where)

  4. Set the next milestones or as they say in Gino Wickman’s book Traction Set the Rocks. (How to be successful.)


When was the last time you reviewed your progress or set additional and more focused 90day goals to move you forward long term. Don’t just sleepwalk through the days, business as usual can sometime make use very busy but does it move us forward giving our organisation momentum? As they say you need to spend some time working on your business not just being in your business. 

If you want to understand more on how to do this give me a shout.


Fuel for Thought:

“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves…Everything can be taken from a human but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Viktor Fankl, Man’s Search for Meaning. 



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