This weekend I was traveling to a competition in Sparta, Illinois. After about two hours of driving in unfamiliar territory I found myself stopped by a police barricade due to a flooded roadway. There was a police officer tasked with the job of stopping every car and explaining the situation. When my turn came I asked him if he could suggest an alternate route to Sparta. He just smiled and said “I guess that’s the big question isn’t it?”. He didn’t have anything other than that to offer. Lacking any other obvious solution I just called the auto club – Triple A.
No, I didn’t call the guys you’d call for a flat tire or a dead battery. Triple A in this case stands for Accept, Adapt and Act.
First, I had to Accept that I couldn’t control that the road was closed. I certainly couldn’t control the onslaught of heavy rains that were continuing to fall or that the police officer couldn’t provide me with any other options. Was I upset? Maybe a little. Was I worried about what to do next? Yeah, maybe a little. I learned a long time ago that the best way to combat worry was to ask myself “What’s the worst that can happen?” , and then I figure out what I’d do if that happened. Once I have a solution I tend to worry a little less.
I knew I had to Adapt to my situation. In this case I really only had two options. I could either turn around and go back home or find another path. I chose to try and find another path. Once that decision was made all that was required of me was to Act.
I turned around and drove back to the previous town. It was about a ten mile trip through the flat farmlands of western Illinois. That gave me plenty of time to formulate a plan. I decided to find the closest gas station and pull over to spend a few minutes with MapQuest to see if I could find another route. If I had trouble with that I’d just ask a local for help.
After a forty-five minute detour I was checking in at the hotel desk in Sparta. Was the trip more stressful than I had planned? I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it was at least a little bit. Everything worked out fine though and it was nice to be able to call the auto club when things didn’t go as planned.
Have you ever known someone that everything always seems to work out for? Maybe they’re just really good at Accepting the things they can’t change, Adapting to their situation and then not being afraid to take Action.