Yes, you read correctly. We had a snow day in Savannah recently. It was unexpected, and for us, ironic. You see we traveled to the mountains over Christmas holiday break. We were up there for three days. Every weatherman and forecast hinted at the possibility of true snowfall. It was going to be a Snowy mountain Christmas experience. Our small kids were excited because they had yet to experience this frozen, flaky “snow.” Yet, the entire three days we were there, it did not snow.
So the kids were a bit disappointed on the return trip, but it was Christmas, so all moods were set to “festive” for travel. Then mom checked the forecast. Things turned on a dime. She let everyone know we would see snow at our house in Savannah, Georgia. Snow in Savannah? What? That’s crazy!
Well it happened and it was magical. The kids made snowballs and built a snowman (check him out, he’s pretty spry). They ran around like loons trying to catch snow on their tongue. They also yelled every sentence for some strange reason. Cade would say, “Hey did you see that big snowflake?” only it sounded like “HEY, DID YOU SEE THAT BIG SNOWFLAKE??!?” He was in rare form.
After a four day melt, we bid it farewell for another 30 years or so. The last time it snowed like this in Savannah was the late 1980s. The whole experience got me thinking. There are a few things you can learn from the unexpected. Here are three snow day lessons I learned.
Unexpected Moments Bring Opportunity.
Once the snow started, a magical thing happened. People were out walking in the middle of the street. Neighbors we had never seen were playing like giddy kids. There was a true sense of community delivered courtesy of the unexpected. The same is true for business. Unexpected moments can deliver. What does that mean exactly? Network. If you have a good relationship with a client, take a moment to “play in the snow” with them.
Ask for a referral, or even better, stroll down memory lane together. Ask if they know of any other businesses that could benefit from what you do. Ask about past places of employment and whether or no they think you might be able to help them. You will be surprised to learn how many potential clients have been living in your neighborhood of influence unbeknownst to you. Networking draws out the potential. Play in the snow with your client and grow your business.
The Unexpected is Loud.
Remember this the next time you land an unexpected dream project. Your life is going to be loud for a while. Every email, project message and phone call is going to carry volume. My son yelled every sentence for at least four hours during our snow day. Your big fish project will do the same. It can be easy to get lost or feel overwhelmed. You might start to think you never want to do this again.
Take a moment and pause. Look at the non-noisy things in your life. Remember the noise is temporary. After two sets of soaking socks and a pair of wet mittens, my son and his volume went inside. We could hear the snow hiss as it fell through the trees in our neighborhood. It was beautiful. The unexpected can be loud, but it is temporary.
The Unexpected Skews Normal.
It was odd to see everything covered in white. EVERYTHING. It was even more spectacular downtown. All of the squares looked like a set design ripped straight off a White Christmas sound stage. You could almost hear Bing singing if you listened close enough. Three days later things were different. Roof lines and grass were visible. Things were almost back to normal. Remember, unexpected opportunities and events skew normal. A big project may cause a temporary life upset, but it is temporary. A new opportunity will do the same. Things will settle down eventually. Yet, rather than stay stressed out the entire time, enjoy it. One day you might look back and see this unexpected event was the very thing you needed to pivot your career toward success.
Snow days bring perspective to the south. We certainly enjoyed ours, even though it was brief. There are memories our children will have for a lifetime and a few hidden business lessons for me upon reflection. I hope you enjoyed them. Now go do something epic today. May 2018 be the year of unexpected opportunity and potential for you, and may you always play in the snow.