5). Thai..ke Thyme: Keeping the Carrot in mind!

From my earlier blogs you will know that tuk-tuks and I were not necessarily on the same page, book or even library! I wasn’t certain that we would get to the airport as we needed to, but as per Anton’s diagram – the right sized taxi arrived at the right time and we headed off to the airport for our flight out to Phukett.

We were discussing our exploits in Bangkok and having a good ole laugh about some of the expeditions we had been on. We then discussed this blog, how I had decided to use these experiences and what I may write when I got back to the “real world”. We laughed about some of our moments and how we had so often overlooked cultural differences when we had made assumptions. We agreed this was often the case with work, overlooking the differences between people, their outlooks and backgrounds (amongst others).

The Thai’s innate / inbuilt work ethic was one of sacrifice to some degree, instilled from birth. The mantra of “you gonna just work real hard giving your best at all times!” We often felt we had been clear about our needs, but the meaning or rather our eengrish to eengrish got scrambled in the translation for our Thai hosts. They understood something quite different.

We moved onto discussion what we would be doing once we landed at Phukett and how we would handle what was going to be another taxi negotiation (our hotel was approximately 50 minutes away from the airport, groan~).  I still had an allergy to taxi’s, although this drive to the airport was very pleasant and had run precisely to plan.

My mom was fiddling with her digital camera and turned to us saying “smile” then proceeded to take a picture of us – or something in our vague vicinity judging from the angle she was pointing her camera.

I looked at her and realized she was aiming out the window and asked casually if she was sure that we were both in the picture, she confirmed we were (I doubted it~).

Lauren and I looked at each other, shook our heads.  We are both keen photographers and realized the trajectory of the camera lens and where we were sitting were not on a par. We started to have a chat about what we believed was a declining eyesight syndrome with my mom. More than once we had observed her swinging that camera about, taking a snap of who knew what! When we had confirmed with her what she was intending to take the picture of (we were certain that it would be something short of a miracle if she got the shot), we took a picture with our own cameras for just in case.

We continued to have a discussion about her possible declining eyesight and agreed we clearly needed to get her a more stable digital with a bigger LCD screen – possibly a hybrid where the lens was not interchangeable but it was easier to hold, handle, shoot and verify the shot afterward.

Then Lauren casually said “let’s get her that for her birthday!”

Holy Canoli… We both stared at each other. We have always been able to have conversations across a crowded room with just a look. We stared at each other in shock and horror realizing that the day before, the dreadful tuk-tuk wet day – that had been my mother’s birthday!

We turned around and did what any good ‘n guilty party does, immediately blaming my mom for not reminding us!!!! We asked her in rather an incriminating tone … “mom did you remember yesterday was your birthday”?

She said yes of course she had, but it had never seemed to be the right moment to remind us; during breakfast we were focused on what we wanted to see, then getting the negotiation sorted, then the entire fuss we had during our loopy drive.

We were shattered – our special goal had been to spoil our mom who we saw so seldom. To make her feel loved and precious and fabulous the entire holiday – but especially celebrate her birthday! We had so much else on our minds that we had totally forgotten her birthday entirely, disgraceful.

I wish that this wasn’t the truth – but that was exactly what happened, we didn’t have enough words to say sorry.

How often do we set down a bunch of goals and objectives we have every intention of doing or achieving, but we allow ourselves to be distracted.  In the final analysis we find that we have done a whole horde of other stuff totally missing our “big” goal.

How do we prevent this from happening?  Scorecards.  For us this could have looked like regular / daily stock takes of what we had done and being pleased about our accomplishment, the sights that we had seen! Instead we were absorbed about what we had not yet seen and focused attention ot doing those.  Great in project mode, but our holiday thoughts were to relax have fun.

We would have been better served to have reminded ourselves each day of our small and big goals, especially our mom’s birthday and keep to that plan. In our frantic need and scramble to do it “all”, we had lumped many things together and “recalculated, recalculated” loosing the plot by not keeping focus on our big carrot to ensure we achieved that.

From that sobering moment onward, we determined that the rest of the holiday would unfold without the desperate frenzy of doing it all or at once.  That we would hold close to our hearts and keep in focus that each day was a precious day for us to be together, connect, relax and LAUGH!  That is precisely what we did, goal accomplished.

(funny thing, once we became less earnest about doing it all but focusing on our goals, we managed to see and do more than we had expected)!  Planning the next holiday now.

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1 thought on “5). Thai..ke Thyme: Keeping the Carrot in mind!”

  1. Ah, now that really bites! But I hope it’s some consolation that losing site of the goal is among the most common causes of failure to achieve goals in both personal and professional realms. Even though I travel the world harping on this topic, I, too, occasionally fall into this trap. It takes discipline to awaken each day and set a clear intention for the day that’s aligned with long-term and short-term goals. It’s far easier to just let the day unfold willy-nilly. And most professionals check email first thing in the morning, certainly no way for a great leader to begin the day.

    Thanks for reminding us that even the most gifted and experienced project leaders among us (which I know you to be) can fall into this all too familiar trap. And . . . HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!

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