20 May Murphy’s Law friggin screwed with me today. And this is what I learned.
The moment I woke up this morning, I knew today was going to be memorable. A milestone day. A turning point in my business, if you will.
And it was memorable. Just not for the reasons I had imagined in my romantic, annoyingly ‘half glass full’ mind.
You see, I was all set to present my business writing course to a group of staff at a local council. But that’s nothing out of the ordinary. It was the fact that it was the first time I would be delivering it as a webinar.
After running face-to-face workshops for 12 years, this was a big deal for me. (Nothing like a pandemic to force us into things we’ve been ‘meaning’ to do for over a decade, right?)
And let me tell you, this webinar was a long and painful eight weeks in the making. Which looked something like this:
- FIVE weeks researching online training platforms before choosing one that ticked all the boxes on my wishlist
- TWO weeks procrastinating, feeling overwhelmed and wondering how the hell I was going to do this
- ONE week finally getting my arse into gear and repurposing my course content into something that was ready for the online world to see
Then last week, I ran a pilot session to build my confidence with the platform and test the adapted course in front of a real live, online audience.
And it was a hit. Constructive feedback and rave reviews all round – with special commendations for my training technology of choice:
‘I love the platform, Vikki!’
‘It’s so much better than Zoom, Vikki!’
‘So simple and easy to use, Vikki!’
So I assured my council client that I was ready and raring to go for our session on 20 May.
After overcoming the nerves and uncertainty leading up to the pilot, I was quietly confident and excited about this one.
But as we all know, when it comes to technology, complacency is a dangerous thing.
That’s why I tested the platform with my team last night. And again this morning, 20 minutes before the start time.
No problemo. It was all working. Beautifully.
But then, Murphy’s Law decided to rear its butt-ugly head. And five minutes before kick-off, this unwelcome law of nature screwed with my computer. Literally.
That’s right. The world’s best training platform was suddenly playing up.
I’ll spare you the gory details of the following half-hour. But let’s just say it wasn’t my finest moment. (Note to self: learn how to panic with a tad more grace.)
And even after trying every troubleshooting trick in the book, Murphy’s Law was being stubborn and indignant (uncannily like my 16-year old daughter, but that’s a story for another day).
Eventually, I knew we had no choice. I had to pull the plug and reschedule the session.
(Murphy? If you’re reading this – I hate you!)
Now, several hours (plus two Nurofen, two chocolate brownies and a fair few tears) later, I’m doing what we writers often do: writing my woes away.
And that means I have come to the point in this post where I reflect on what lessons I’ve learned from this memorable day. Here goes:
Don’t EVER login to a website you’ve never logged into before (just to kill time) 10 minutes before you’re about to host a webinar. It could mess with your cookies and hold your webcam hostage. Even if you log out of said perilous site, it can continue to ruin your life in the ‘background’.
Find staff who know how to stay calm in a crisis. Okay, I admit, this is not an easy one to test until it really matters. But now I know for sure that if I were to ever find myself shipwrecked on a desert island, I can only hope it’s with Tori and Sarah. (Not sure if the feeling is mutual though!)
Most people in the world are patient and understanding. And they’re certainly not as harsh on us as we are on ourselves. All eight participants (including my key stakeholder) were kind and compassionate – despite the inconvenience to their days.
When shit happens, try to see the funny side as soon as you’re able to. Just after my ‘non-webinar’ ended, Tori and I laughed all the way to the coffee shop and back. The irony of the situation was suddenly hilarious to us (it was all working perfectly, except for the very moment I actually needed it to). If you ask me, this event deserves its very own line in Alanis Morrissette’s infamous song. I can see the lyrics now…
We’re all stronger and more resilient than we think. And there’s no better reminder of this than when the very thing we dread most becomes our reality.
See? Here I am. Still writing. Still working. Still earning. Professional me has just survived her supposed ‘worst-case-scenario’.
And I suspect it won’t harm my business long term. Not one little bit.