Everyone always asks what it’s like working in television. “You have the coolest job!” I hear frequently…and for the most part it is pretty fun. Working in sports is thrilling, and challenging, and every night the ending changes. You never know what’s going to happen, and it’s an adrenaline rush being live with no script. It’s also incredibly stressful and requires laser like focus, and no matter what or how much you prepare…things always change.
One of the most popular mantras in the TV biz is ‘hurry up and wait’. You race to be on time to the player interview, and practice inevitably goes over. I once waited on Shaquille O’Neal for three hours, for a ten minute interview before he had to catch a flight. (Oh the glamour…)
But one of the things I learned early on in my career as a producer has been a lesson I use almost every day, especially now that I’m a parent. Back in 2005 I was on a shoot for the Miami Marlins and had a script prepared. I had requested certain players from the Media Relations staff, and written specific questions to the history of those athletes. (This was before I owned a smart phone, and couldn’t google new information on site.) I had only been producing long form content (a 30-minute show) for a couple of months and was thrown when they brought out different players.
What was I going to do? I couldn’t follow my script and I already had the piece edited in my head of what I needed from the players! The show aired the next day and I had to fill a four minute hole in the show. I looked at my veteran photographer with my eyes wide with terror and he said, “No one at home knows what you planned. Change the segment, improvise. You just have to just roll with it.”
I exhaled, and nodded, and did just that. I’ve never forgotten that day or the conversation Mike (my photog) and I had afterwards in the edit suite.
You have to change your expectations and work with it…period. This is especially holds true with kids.
How many times have you packed the diaper bag and walked to the front door when BAM – poop explosion, you have to change the baby and your clothes. Then when you go leave again she spits up in your hair…going to be late for that doctor’s appointment!
Or have you ever planned an outdoor PTO event for you child’s school and it rained? You have to move everything inside and you think, “Oh no it’s ruined!”
And of course there’s the epic 5th birthday party with the Frozen balloons you had to search on Ebay for weeks to find, and then your husband accidentally let’s them fly into the atmosphere when he gets home from getting them inflated. (True story!)
No one knows what you had planned…unless you tell them. And the hardest thing for most people is to manage their own expectations. We all have them. We all want to lose the baby weight five minutes after giving birth. We all want the six figure income while working at home and being close to our kids. We all want the beautiful birthday parties with the Pinterest perfect decorations and favors. But here’s the deal, life happens while we are busy planning it. And if we don’t evolve and allow it, we get stuck.
I’ve learned this the hard way, and sometimes still react with frustration. No one likes their plans to get derailed. But whenever things don’t go my way, or there’s a roadblock, I always think of that hot day at the ballpark. I remember him looking at me with conviction and confidence, and that helps me to remember to believe in myself. Because if I don’t, who will?
What a great lesson! It’s easy to forget it in the heat of the moment, but that’s exactly when we need it. The next time my plans aren’t going the way I want them to, I’ll try to remember your wise words, especially the fact that I’m the only one who knows what I want it to be like, and I’m the only one who will notice if it doesn’t go that way.
Janine Huldie says
Yes, yes, yes! I have so been there maybe not with the Frozen balloons even though my girls are indeed obsessed, but trust me I have been there more often then not daily and have learned like you said just to roll with the punches at this point.
We all do – and it’s so hard for this perfectionist mama!
This is a great read and so true! Thank You!
Herchel Scruggs says
So true! I am amazed at how you think on your feet even though you are a planner. Parenting teaches a lot of us how to become more flexible. My super scheduled sister gets so frustrated when things don’t go as planned so I tease her mercilessly about how I can’t wait until she has kids.
This is an awesome lesson and it definitely applies to all levels of life.
Oh no!! The story about the balloons! MY heart broke, haha! Poor kid…I agree, going with the flow is so important in parenting. What a great way to learn the lesson.
Very true! Fake it til you make it is one of my mantras!
I almost ended the post with “fake it til’ you make it!” So funny!
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
Such a beautiful post and a wonderful lesson.
My nodding head in agreement moment was:
“the hardest thing for most people is to manage their own expectations”.
I have very high expectations of myself and when things don’t go the way I planned, I get overwhelmed there’s an OCD part of me that says “I planned to take a shower this morning… but the kids woke up early… now what am I going to do?” This fine example is from this morning. Fortunately my husband hadn’t left for work yet but I initially thought I was going to lose it because another day without a shower was not on my agenda.
I’ve been working on this but it takes a lot of effort… my plans and expectations are what keep me focused but I need to roll with it because sometimes those plans are not what I should be doing. I may for instance may have a higher purpose in that moment/on that day.
Thanks so much for sharing.
I am the exact same way Jennifer! It is so hard too, when you have a story planned, or a Disney trip packed, and then someone gets sick. We have to evolve!
Aubrey @ 53weeks says
Right on! That is SO my problem, I do my best to research plan, evaluate situations from all angles, but inevitably things can always change at the last minute and then you have to improvise! Going with the flow is hard…but you’re right..it’s often necessary!
I have SUCH a hard time with this…going with the flow does not come naturally, but I need to keep working on it!
The Imp says
Yep. Funny, I did a post about rolling…well, paddling…through changes too, lol!
I tried to comment on yours twice but it got stuck 🙁 I loved your post today, I tweeted it!
This is a great lesson for anyone, Kristen, thanks for sharing!
Katy Blevins says
Fantastic words of wisdom. I certainly feel like the last year has been one lesson of this after another. Thankfully, I’m starting to see that the flexibility to evolve really is the keystone to moving forward, and I’m honestly thankful for the challenges of the past year!
Love this! It is important to be able to change your expectations. Being flexible is a must when you have kids.
Oh the dreaded changing of expectations and plans. It’s a tough one for perfectionist me, but 4 kids and life in general has helped knock a little of that out of me. I am always harsher on myself than anyone and seriously that just needs to stop!
Pinning, posting, sharing!
Tricia the Good Mama says
What a wonderful lesson! I loved this post. I was a teacher, and we had a similar mantra. We always made plans, but it’s important to be flexible and go with the flow. The children certainly weren’t aware of my exact lesson plans, just like your TV audience (although it’s a lot easier to make something up in front of a bunch of kids as opposed to TV haha!).
I think this is such a good philosophy to have throughout your entire life. I always like to say, “we’ll figure it out” because, no matter what life throws at us, we usually do. Sharing.
Yes I can imagine with kids things change all the time – and sometimes I think teaching is a harder job quite honestly!
i could NOT stand waiting at a crime scene until a SGT would talk… i am such a planner (still am. i liked to get a lot done in a short amount of time (still do). but, i always rolled with the punches on a story – because it’s the story… and they’re our kids!
Tara Newman says
Such a great post friend! I get asked that question a lot “how do you deal with life happening?” You roll with it. But, I would have had the meltdown of the century over the balloon thing.
I was seething – for sure! But I just went back and bought white and blue balloons. No one knew that they had disappeared…except me. Thankfully my daughter never saw them!!
Susanne/The Dusty Parachute says
What a great story. I wonder if you ever met my brother, Mike Lewis. He was a sports writer for the Salt Lake City tribune for years and covered the Jazz for a season and has done all of their Olympic coverage for ages. He ‘retired’ last year to become a stay at home dad to two little cutie pies.
Lucky him! I probably have met him along the way, I used to travel to Utah every year!
I feel like this piece should be my mantra. I’m a planner, a trouble shooter and a multi-tasker, so I always try and get ahead of the game. This piece is a brilliant reminder that part of the game of life is actually following where it takes you. Thanks.
I am too Caryn, but I’ve had to adapt my game plan along the way….
I keep giggling because my dad was sent to tie balloons to the mailbox last year for the kids’ big party, and they blew away instantly! We were all like, “Do you not know how to tie them to a mailbox?”
Anyway, that was a sidebar.
Very smart! I like to think of you on the job keeping your cool and going with the flow.
Ha! Guess it runs in the male species! And it’s funny, I can keep my cool at the job…it’s the kiddos that make me lose it!
This is the hardest lesson for me personally. I have such a hard time staying flexible and rollin with the punches. If that was my interview, I woulda crumbled. I have so much respect for your ability to go out there and do your thing on que! I tend to say the wrong things, do the wrong things, act the wrong way. I’ll still try…don’t get me wrong….but as a perfectionist I always look back and shake my head thinking “DANG! That coulda been so much better!”
What a wonderful lesson! I love making plans, but at the end of the day, it’s important to just go with it and not fight it when things change 🙂
I’ve gotten better at letting my husband know what I want rather than expecting him to read my mind. The same is true for relationships at work. If they don’t know my deadline it is easy for them to push my project off for something they feel is more important. Also, they leave without regard for my goals forcing me to hire replacements and perform their work in the interim. That is life.
That’s a good plan with the hubs, and a whole other post huh?!
Yes, Yes, Yes…… In my old job every day was different… I could try and plan and then life happened. This was the best thing to happen to me in helping me become a mum. I couldn’t plan any more, I had to roll with it.
Now that mine are older we plan, and we roll. It works for me and the family. This summer we took a monster road trip from Illinois to California and then all the way North and then East again, we planned and we rolled. That rolling nearly caused us to be on the news for getting lost in NO WHERE LAND IN NEVADA, but hey here to tell the tale…. 🙂
I love that you roll too, and have confidence that your rolling will be AWESOME!!!!
Danyelle Musselman says
Your words are so true! I’ve had to roll with the punches throughout my own tv career, then being mom, and now with my husband’s career as a coach. It’s nonstop and always changing, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
It really is hard – and things are always changing aren’t they? You know it more than anyone for sure!