No roses, not this weekend—I didn’t need any stinkin’ roses—I needed comfort food and family. A dozen fresh cut “Golden Celebration” roses couldn’t lure me away from the smell of roasting Hatch Green Chile outside a Whole Foods in Albuquerque. I stood mesmerized as the tumbler full of bright green peppers danced their way to perfection. It was the ideal smell to transport me to another place and time—the entire purpose of this impromptu trip.
I’m 30 days out from my very first fair as the director of marketing. My days have crept up from 8 to 10 to 12 hours already just getting prepared for the 10-day event. By the time the fair is in full swing, I’m sure they will be 16 to 18 hours long. I’m getting ready. I’m preparing ME for the crazy ride.
My days are full of decisions, deadlines, brainstorming, problems, and negotiations; if it were world peace you might be in trouble! It’s just the Tennessee State Fair, however to me, it IS my world…and peace is what I believe I’m creating. Peace between the neighborhoods and the fairgoers, peace between the staff and the commitments, and peace between what used to be and a vision of what it can be. So for today, peace begins with me! Kermit the Frog always said that being green wasn’t easy, and since we’ve gone “green” this year, I understand poor Kermie’s plight. But let me tell ya, peace don’t come easy, either.
I believe in the “flight attendant philosophy,” put your mask on first, and then attend to those around you. Take care of yourself first! Self-serving or smart? Both, but I figure if I’m in a good frame of mind, it’s probably good on the people around me. If I can “breathe,” chances are they can, too! It’s a give-and-take kinda pay-it-forward way to survive. It’s how I roll. That’s why I took a long weekend to escape to some of the comforts of what I know: New Mexico, family, green chile, clean air, and a weekend class of meditation. What an invaluable gift I gave myself; and one I can give to the people I will interact with over the next 30 days. As much as I hate the cliché, it’s a win-win!
The deadlines will still be there when my plane lands at noon. The stress regarding what’s yet to be done is still overwhelming. The problems and personalities won’t have changed by the time I locate my car in short-term parking. The task of finalizing the advertising campaign has not lessened in the 3 days away from home…BUT, the five foot one and three-quarter tall woman who has assumed the role feels ten feet tall and bullet proof today! I am ready to assume responsibility for what lies ahead: the good, the bad and the ugly. There WILL be ugly. I’m still ready. I am at peace with what I’ve created and how it’s developing. I am at the point of surrender and smile. I was not in this place a week ago.
In the midst of the everyday hustle and bustle, it’s important to stop and smell whatever it is that you need to smell. For me, it was chile, but unless you really are in charge of the planet’s war and peace efforts, you might want to consider taking a break. I don’t feel overwhelmed tonight, I feel equipped. I don’t feel burdened by the responsibility, I feel empowered. I don’t feel panicked to get home, I feel clear-headed. Take that break you’ve been putting off. Stop to put your oxygen mask on. Take a deep breath and give yourself a chance to recover…you can’t afford not to.